Big Walker was born Derrick Roy Michael Walker in Lawton Oklahoma, December 3rd 1953. He grew up in an artistic family; his mother Jean Serman and aunt Evelyn Wooden were both working in the theater. His aunt was a musical songstress, and his mother an actress. Derrick learned to play harmonica when he was seven with his uncle John Wooden, who owned a small blues club in Cleveland Ohio.|
In 1962 Derrick moved to San Francisco with his mother, who worked in a Community Theater, where Big also acted in several children's productions. In San Francisco during this time the new music of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane etc, influenced him and his music. He was also a big fan of Clover who had great influence on Derrick's decision to become a musician.
In 1969 Derrick began to take saxophone lessons from Noel Jukes, who played saxophone with Jimmy Witherspoon and many others and by 1973 Derrick began to play saxophone and harmonica in The Luther Tucker Band. He played with them for 10 years. The same year he began to attend the College of Marin, majoring in Music and Martial arts (Judo and Karate) . He was also touring with both, Albert Collins and the Luther Tucker Band. They recorded a film at the North Dakota Club in Oakland.
Derrick began playing with a band called the Soul Rebels for one year (1977), who were working for Bill Graham as a warm up band in Bill's nightclubs. They fronted acts such as the Dead Kennedy's, The Ramones, Greg Kihn, The Beat and many others. The bandleader was Dean Devnear, bass and drums were manned by the Stench Brothers. The Soul Rebels were considered San Francisco's most popular band at the time. He took harmonica lessons from Paul Butterfield, who taught Derrick to sound like him self and play melodies," not just licks". Bobby Forte - Villa Nova Dupré who played with BB King during the 60s and 70s gave him saxophone lessons.
Between 1978 and 1980 Derrick began playing with The Eddie Ray Rhythm And Blues Band, backing artists such as Lowell Fulson, Percy Mayfield, Big Mama Thornton, Sonny Roads, Jimmy McCracklin and Sugar Pie DeSanto. Derrick played with Michael Bloomfield and was his roommate for two years; He played on his album "Cruising for a Bruising" (1981) which has been re-released on CD as "Gospel Truth".|
Derrick left the Bay Area in 1983 and went to Europe playing in Holland, Belgium and France for three years. In Holland he met a friend from the Bay Area, i.e. Red Archibald whom Derrick knew since 1976 when Elvin Bishop introduced him to Red. Red, who passed away December 25, 2006, stayed in Europe for almost a decade.
In 1988 Derrick began to teach Harmonica at the Swedish State Community College, Studiefrämjändet. He also toured with the Grinders featuring Professor Washboard in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Germany. In 1993 he composed the song "Stars in the Sky" and performed two songs in the international film "Freud Leaves Home".
Red Archibald and the Internationals (Amsterdam 1984)
Marc d'Aboville, Derrick Walker, Red, Frank Fischer
Big Walker with Eric Bibb/Brian Kramer and Band Cambridge Folk Festival 1999
|Between 1995 and 2002 Derrick has undertaken several tours of Norway and Denmark, and regular club appearances in Sweden, with his Black and White Blues Band. He has also toured with Folk blues artist Eric Bibb and played on six of Eric's CDs (see below), and recorded gospel with Cyndee Peters on "Songs From The Heart". He played harmonica and acted in the Broadway musical Big River. He appeared with Blues legend Jimmy Dawkins and singer Zora Young at The Great British R'n'B Festival in Colne as well as at festivals in Denmark and Sweden.|
Eric Bibb, Jimmy Dawkins and Zora Young also appear as guest artists on Big Walker's CD "Still Dream Walking" as does another friend, i.e. Ben "King" Perkoff with whom Derrick has been playing in the Bay Area - see also Dan Hayes Blues Band (Church Recordings).
|So what is Big Walker doing these days? Derrick plays and sings in the Sofia choir Stockholm and teaches at the Stockholm music Conservatory (rytmus) and Kulturama High school for Music and Dramatic arts. As a matter of fact Big Walker has been teaching classes in blues rock and country harmonica for over fourteen years now.|
He is also touring with his band Blue Souls - Jair-Rohm Parker Wells on bass, James Bradley Jr. on drums and Olle Boson on guitar - to promote his current CD "Still Dream Walking" which contains lyrics that are thoughtful and show concerns not usually associated with blues singers (Juke Blues #42). In addition the album is fun to listen to as the players know how to create the mood and feel of real Chicago Blues, especially Big Walker's harmonica playing is a real treat. Check out Big Walker's websites and don't forget to order his CD which is highly recommended!
Big Walker and Blue Souls (Wirströms Pub 2005)
Jair-Rhom Parker Wells, Olle Boson, Big Walker, James Bradley Jr.
Big Walker And Blue Souls
(Sensless Walker Records 1998)
|If I Had One Wish -- I'm Going To Write A Letter -- Dream Walking -- Don't Mind Getting Old -- Boogie Woogie Nighthawk -- One Man's Meat -- Where Shall I Be -- Blues In The North Land -- Dream Walking Part 2|
Musicians: Derrick Walker (harmonica/vocals), John Åslund (bass), Marc Gransten (bass),Fredrick Dallöf (drums), Calle Drugge (percussion)
Recorded and mixed at Studiefrämjändet, Stockholm.
Out of print.
|Still Dream Walking|
(Big Walker Productions 2002)
|Dream Walking -- If I Had One Wish -- Open Book -- I New The First Time You -- I Need My Prescription -- Stars In The Sky -- I Don't Want To See -- Drive By Blues -- My Favorite Tree -- I'm Gonna Write A Letter -- Little Elijah Jane -- Boogie Woogie Nighthawk -- Black Ice -- Dream Walking Part II -- Where Shall I Be|
Musicians: Derrick Walker (harmonica/saxophone/vocals), King Perkoff (saxophone), Zora Young (vocals), Jimmy Dawkins (guitar), Eric Bibb (guitar), John Åslund (bass), Marc Gransten (bass),Fredrick Dallöf (drums), Calle Drugge (percussion), Brian Kramer (dobro), Dr. Brandemark (guitar), F. Rönningen (piano), Henrik Jansson (guitar), Stefan Sundlöf (drums), Jair-Rohm Wells (bass), Stefan Klasson (guitar), Slim Nortini (piano), Keith Done (vocals), Richard Nilsson (piano), Master Henry Gibson (percussion), Marc Gransten (bass), Ole Boson (guitar)
CD includes music video "Drive By Blues".
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