Gutbucket saxophone maestro Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr., known professionally as Junior Walker, brought his self-contained band the All Stars to Harvey Fuqua’s Tri-Phi label in the early Sixties, and the group came to Motown (along with the Spinners and when Fuqua’s empire was bought out.
Perenially out of step with the activities of their younger labelmates – Junior Walker was in his mid-thirties when he arrived at Motown, but the marketing guys shaved off a decade to present him as a youthful new star – the All Stars became an integral plank of the new Soul Records roster, vital in helping Motown reconnect with its roots in black radio and make up ground lost to the likes of Stax and Atlantic; the group were also surprisingly commercially successful on the pop charts, racking up hits throughout the Sixties, especially after Junior began singing lead on the formerly all-instrumental All Stars’ cuts, revealing an unexpectedly flexible and versatile singing voice which made him an electric frontman.
The group went through numerous line-up changes and eventually broke apart for good in the late Seventies; after an up and down solo and session career, Junior passed away in 1995.
Review Archive: Junior WALKER and the ALL-STARS (8 items)
- Satan’s Blues
- Monkey Jump
- Hot Cha
- Do The Boomerang
- Tune Up
- Shake And Fingerpop
- Cleo’s Back
- Cleo’s Mood
- Baby You Know You Ain’t Right