The Metro St. Louis Live Music
RIP Fuzzy Walker /Guitar, Vocals
Ryan Aurand /Bass
Sonny Wakeford /Drums
Eddie Everett /Keys
I have received a couple of heartfelt emails about Fuzzy Walker and wanted to share them:
From Jim Duey:
I played with Fuzzy in a
several bands around 2000. Fuzzy and I were both 'hired guns', although I was
not and never will be on his level. To paraphrase Boxing Champ Larry Holmes,
I'm not worthy of carrying his guitar strap. Fuzzy was a few years older than
me and had some health problems. He was diabetic and narcoleptic. He wasn't
driving at the time, so the band leader usually had to get him and take him
home. This is probably the only reason I got to play with him. If he'd been
able to travel and was interested in doing it, he would have been a first call
player for any number of show bands and on a much higher music circuit. He had
a great sense of humor although he was usually pretty quiet.
In my 40 years of bar banding, I've never worked with such a complete guitar player. He had about 1,000 songs ready to go on any particular night; original key, correct progression and chord structure...not just faking it. He use to bring a midi for his Strat and get a organ sound and you'd swear there was a B3 in the room. And he could play a lot of different styles, Country, Rock, Jazz, Oldies. Never saw him stumped too many times. Sometimes they'd call out a song that I wasn't familiar with. When I'd ask Fuzzy for the progression, he'd have to think about it for a minute. He could play it instantly, but translating that to a chord structure took a few seconds. He operated on a different level than most of the weekend warriors I've worked with over the years.
Fuzzy passed on several years ago, and I went to his visitation. I believe it was from diabetic complications. My only regret is that I never got to see him surrounded by musicians who were at his level. That would have been a great band!
...and this one from Larry Weaver:
I found your site while once searching for music names from the last century. I thought at the time you were doing a terrific job. What a huge task! Well, I thought I should wait a while and check back periodically. Your site has grown quickly. Dude, you are no flash in the pan! You are like Archivist In Chief! My hat is off to you - Thanks for going way beyond obsessive and into the professional. How you dug out some of those facts and artifacts I'll never know! Very cool.
I enjoyed getting stumped by 'who are these guys'. But I couldn't help, there. What prompted me to write was reading that Fuzzy Walker had left the planet. Apparently he was still a gentle and talented soul thirty-something years after I first met him. I don't have a picture of him, but by telling an old tale, maybe that will help somebody lead you to one.
I went with a fellow keyboard player, John Vinyard, my very good friend, to see his lounge band in 1968. I had played lounges in north St. Louis when I was 14, but I had never been on the south side, because my friends who could drive never went there. It was different! John Vinyard and Fuzzy Walker and Ron Mabry and one other were the house band at the Southwinds Lounge, on the SW corner of Kingshighway and Chippewa. That gig must have lasted a couple of years. I have tried and tried to remember their band name. Sorry! Need to look in the Southtown newspaper section for a 1968 advert, I guess. I would know it if I read it. I think. Depending on budget, the Southwinds may even have put a promo pic in the newspaper.
Everything Jim D wrote was true about Fuzzy back then, too. You never were sure if he was going to hit his cues or pull off a solo, but he was like a tightrope walker that - gasp! - slips off the wire, and acrobatically bounces back to a standing position. Then you realize it was a stunt. Fuzzy played a lot like that. He could very suddenly play solo, absolutely furiously, about anything, as if he had just re-awakened in time. Picture what a Carlos Fogarty Zappa would play like in a small club. I had never seen that sort of surprise performance. And he could play chords onstage in his sleep.
I am certain that was due to narcolepsy, but it was part of his playing style, and brother, it worked. I don't think he ever drove. I later had the honor of playing onstage with Fuzzy and John, one time, after their gig ended. That was the only union job I ever played as a bass player, Peppermint Lounge, Seventh and Pine, ?1969. Obviously that was a contract emergency! But it turned out fun after I got through ok by watching Fuzzy. Then gave him a ride home to his place in Granite City.
John later went to Nashville, then academia. Not sure about Ron... law enforcement? I always wondered what became of Fuzzy. I am happy to hear that he continued playing music, because so few actually did. And I am sad to read he's not with us anymore. That doesn't change the memory, though.
Damn! What was the name of their house band at the Southwinds in '68-'69? That's where you will find Fuzzy's picture.
Ok, gotta run, best wishes and good luck on your excavations and documentations! Thanks for that!
If you have any info about, or photos or recordings of this band, PLEASE email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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