As tenor saxophone player and co-lead vocalist of swamp pop band, Cookie And The Cupcakes, Shelton Dunaway played an essential role in the early development of Louisiana-style Rhythm and Blues. Dunaway's vocals helped to lift the band's single, "Mathilda", to the Billboard top fifty in 1959. He continued to be featured on such regional hits as "Belinda", "Betty And Dupree" and "Got You On My Mind" in the 1960s.
A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Dunaway first played with future members of Cookie And The Cupcakes as the house band at the Moulin Rouge Club in Lake Charles. He made his recording debut, with the band billed as Shelton Dunaway and His Boogie Ramblers in 1955.
The success of "Mathilda" came as a major surprise. Originally recorded in Houston, the song was re-recorded in the studios of a Lake Charles radio station. Although they recorded the song for Eddie Shuler's Goldband label, Schuler failed to sign the band to a recording contract. By the time that he realized his error, the tune was being played on radio stations throughout the United States.
Dunaway made his final visit to the recording studio in 1985, when he collaborated on an album with Little Alfred, a vocalist who had sung with the Cupcakes since the 1960s and briefly led a reorganized version of the group, known as Little Alfred And The Cupcakes.
Although the group disbanded in the early-1970s, Dunaway has continued to perform during reunion concerts with the Cupcakes. He was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in January 1995.