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Soul Masters: Shotgun

Junior Walker & The All Stars

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Album Review

Released to ride "Shotgun"'s back Soul Session is uncut, polyunsaturated Junior Walker & the All-Stars waxed prior to Motown on Harvey Fuqua's Harvey label. The original line up consisted of Jr. Walker, Willie Woods (bass), Vic Thomas (organ), and Billy Nix (drums). Motown session players' don't play behind Jr. on these tracks like they do on his Motown recordings.

Motown rarely used the All-Stars in the studio. And no vocals. Sorry! Junior didn't display his vocal prowess until "Shotgun."

"Brainwasher" the groups' second Harvey single is an upbeat groove driven by Walker's tenor and Thomas' impressive organ, Junior excitedly shouts "wind it up" near the end. Jock's flipped it, however, for the seductive "Cleo's Mood." "Good Rockin'" their third and final Harvey single is aggressive, roadhouse R&B. Motown omitted their Harvey debut "Twist Lackawanna" but stuck it on another album. Soul Session's loaded with tight grooves composed mostly by Walker, with some collaboration with Willie Woods. Vic Thomas contributed "Hewbie Steps Out" and Fuqua provides "Three Four Three," and "Decidedly."

Biography

Born: 14 June 1931 in Blytheville, AR

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Motown's skilled but mostly anonymous instrumentalists very rarely stepped out on their own. The lone exception to the rule was tenor saxman Junior Walker, whose rough-and-ready, old-school R&B was a marked contrast with the label's typically smooth, polished product. Walker's squealing gutbucket style was inspired by jump blues and early R&B, particularly players like Louis Jordan, Earl Bostic, and Illinois Jacquet. Possessed of a raspy, untrained voice, Walker's singing nonetheless...
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