Big Walter Price

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b. 2 August 1917, Gonzales, Texas, USA. Like many other aspects of society today, the blues features personalities famous for being famous. Big Walter Price is one. Raised from the age of three by his…
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b. 2 August 1917, Gonzales, Texas, USA. Like many other aspects of society today, the blues features personalities famous for being famous. Big Walter Price is one. Raised from the age of three by his uncle, C.W. Hull, and aunt, he moved with them to San Antonio in 1928. Throughout his schooling, he also worked in cotton fields, sold newspapers, shined shoes and washed dishes. Taking an interest in music, he played with the Northern Wonders gospel group. After school, he worked on the railroad until, in 1955, he made three records for TNT Records, the first, ‘Calling Margie’, achieving local success. Thereafter, he recorded ‘Shirley Jean’, on which his reputation rests, and four other singles for Peacock in Houston, several of them with Little Richard’s old band, the Upsetters, masquerading as the Thunderbirds. In the next 10 years, he recorded for Goldband, Myrl, Jet Stream and Teardrop, while other tracks recorded for Roy Ames and featuring Albert Collins on guitar were issued later on Flyright and P.Vine. In July 1971, also for Ames, he recorded an album eventually issued in England 17 years later. His ebullient personality tended to minimize the effect of his rather wayward timing; although described as an exponent of classic Texas piano blues, the influence is more geographical than musical.