Johnny Walker--Big Moose, Busy Head, Moose John, J. W. Walker--by whatever name he was called him, he was Chicago’s irrepressible wild man of blues piano. He wore a splendid smile and long, wavy hair; in his briefcase he carried a gorilla mask and a “Big Moose” jersey. Just as musicians and audiences enjoyed Moose’s antics, they also admired the exuberant, two-fisted blues he played. He’s worked alongside the best in the business and rambled from coast to coast.
John Mayon Walker’s story was colorful from the start. He was born June 27, 1927, in Stoneville, Mississippi, but the way Moose told it, “I was really born in a graveyard, playing with the tombstones.” Indian blood and long flowing hair ran in the family. He picked up the nickname Moose as a youngster hanging around the pool hall in Greenville, Mississippi. “I wore my hair so long maybe I looked like a moose, I don’t know. I asked the guys, ‘Why you call me Moose?’ They said, ‘Well, that’s the only thing that fit for you.’”