Johnny “Big Moose” Walker - North America
Few blues musicians have lived a more colorful life then Johnny “Big Moose” Walker. A Mississippi-born pianist whose driving style supported legends like Ike Turner, Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson and others; the front men got the limelight while Walker worked his magic largely in the background for most of his career. He wasn’t a wallflower, though, as he carried a gorilla mask in his briefcase and his long wavy hair and energetic two-fisted style got him plenty of attention. He once jumped off the third floor building after a drunken bet with Ike Turner…the $50 he won was just enough to cover the hospital bill.
A Korean War veteran, Walker went wherever music took him, from the stages of New Orleans and New York to gigs playing bump and grind music at Chicago strip clubs. In the early 1980s, Walker traveled to New Zealand where he was adopted by a local Maori tribe as one of their own. He passed away in 1999, leaving a huge hole in the Chicago blues scene.
“Would You, Baby” was recorded for Alligator Records’ Living Chicago Blues session in the late 1970s. Originally a backing musician for the sessions, Alligator president Bruce Iglauer was so impressed with Walker’s playing he invited him to record four tracks on his own.