Mercy Dee Walton

Mercy Dee Walton
Mercy Dee 1953

Mercy Dee Walton (August 3, 1915 – December 2, 1962)[1] was an American jump blues pianist, singer and songwriter,[2] whose compositions ran the gamut from lowdown blues to jumping R&B numbers.[3] According to journalist Tony Russell in his book The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, "Walton created a series of memorable blues about the unattractiveness of rural life, sardonically aimed at the black migrant workers in southern California who constituted his typical audience".[4]



Born in Waco, Texas, United States,[1] he moved to California just before World War II.[4] He started playing piano at age 13 and learned his style from many of the ten-cent party house pianists that played out in the country on weekends, but had to earn his living in the fields chopping cotton, picking grapes or cutting spinach to make ends meet. During this time, the man who impressed him the most with his playing was Delois Maxey, who never had an opportunity to record. In 1949, Walton made his first record for the small record label, Spire Records in Fresno.[4] The track was "Lonesome Cabin Blues". Shortly after that, he had a national hit on Specialty Records with "One Room Country Shack", now considered a blues standard.[4] After that success, he was able to start working as a musician full time, and he toured with the jump blues band of Big Jay McNeely.[4]

A half dozen tracks recorded for the Flair Records label in 1955, included "Come Back Maybellene," a rocking sequel to Chuck Berry's then-current hit, "Maybellene".[3]

In 1961, after a lengthy layoff, Arhoolie Records released an album recorded in Stockton, California entitled Mercy Dee.[4] Featured with him was Sidney Maiden on harmonica, K. C. Douglas on electric guitar and Otis Cherry playing the drums.[3][5]

Walton died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Murphy, California the following year.[1]

Single discography

  • "One Room Country Shack" (Specialty) 1953
  • "Rent Man Blues / Fall Guy (Specialty) 1953
  • "Dark Muddy Bottom" (Specialty) 1954


  1. ^ a b c - accessed May 2009
  2. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 
  3. ^ a b c "Biography by Bill Dahl". Retrieved May 21, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 180. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  5. ^ Chris A. Strachwitz, producer, Arhoolie Records

External links

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