Born: August 3, 1915 | Died: December, 1962 Primary Instrument: Piano
Mercy Dee Walton was a Texas bluesman, who had played barrelhouse piano around Waco from the age of 13 before hitting the West Coast in 1938. He debuted on record in 1949 with “Lonesome Cabin Blues” for the tiny Spire logo, which became a national R&B hit, when picked up by Specialty. Those sides were cut in Fresno, but Los Angeles hosted some of the pianist’s best sessions for Imperial in 1950 and Specialty in 1952-53.
Riding on the success of “Lonesome Cabin Blues,” Mercy Dee went on tours across the country playing auditoriums and dancehalls. On the west coast he toured a lot with the band of Big Jay McNeely, and was on the same bill as T- Bone Walker, another Texan who made it big out on the coast.
After a lengthy layoff, Walton returned to the studio in a big way in 1961, recording prolifically for Chris Strachwitz’s Arhoolie label. These were superb sessions and showcase the pianist in great form.
Mercy Dee, one of the great Texas blues and barrelhouse piano players, died in December of 1962, not living long enough to enjoy the Blues Revival of the decade.
Source: James Nadal