Jerry Jeff Walker | Srivideo
Biography | Posted: Sunday, 25th October
Jerry Jeff Walker
Birth name: Ronald Clyde Crosby
Also known as: Gypsy Songman
Born/Date of Birth: March 16, 1942
Place of Birth: Oneonta, New York, United States
Died: October 23, 2020 (aged 78), Austin, Texas, United States
Spouse: Susan Streit (m. 1974)
Genres: Country, outlaw country
Occupation(s): Country music artist
Instruments: Electric guitar, Acoustic guitar, Harmonica
Years active: 1967–2018
Labels: Tried & True Music
Associated acts: Lost Gonzo Band
Brooks & Dunn
Lost Sea Dreamers
Jerry Jeff Walker (born Ronald Clyde Crosby; March 16, 1942 – October 23, 2020) was an American country music singer and songwriter. He is best known for writing the 1968 song "Mr. Bojangles".
Walker was born in Oneonta, New York. His maternal grandparents played for square dances in the Oneonta area, with his grandmother, Jessie Conroe, playing piano, and grandfather playing fiddle. During the late 1950s, Crosby was a member of a local Oneonta teen band called The Tones.
The band traveled to Philadelphia to audition for Dick Clark's American Bandstand, but were turned down. Members of the band found Dick Clark's house and were able to get a recommendation to audition at New York City's Baton Records through the company's lead producer Sol Rabinowitz. The band was given a recording contract, but the studio wanted a quintet backed by studio musicians, which left Crosby and another member (Gerald T. Russell) out of their recordings.
After high school, Crosby joined the National Guard, but his thirst for adventure led him to go AWOL and roam the country busking for a living in New Orleans and throughout Texas, Florida, and New York, often accompanied by H.R. Stoneback (a friendship referenced in 1970's "Stoney"). He played mostly ukulele until Harriet Ottenheimer, one of the founders of The Quorum, got him settled on a guitar in 1963. He adopted his stage name "Jerry Jeff Walker" in 1966.
He spent his early folk music days in Greenwich Village in the mid-1960s. Walker was mentioned by name in the lyrics of Jennings and Nelson's 1977 hit song "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)".
A string of records for MCA and Elektra followed Jerry Jeff's move to Austin, Texas,
Walker married Susan Streit in 1974 in Travis County, Texas. Walker also made a guest appearance on Ramblin' Jack Elliott's 1998 album of duets Friends of Mine, singing "He Was a Friend of Mine" and Woody Guthrie's "Hard Travelin.'"
Walker recorded songs written by others such as "LA Freeway" (Guy Clark), "Up Against the Wall Red Neck Mother" (Ray Wylie Hubbard), "(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night" (Tom Waits) and "London Homesick Blues" (Gary P. Nunn).
Walker had an annual birthday celebration in Austin at the Paramount Theatre and at Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Jerry Jeff Walker among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.
Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017 and died on October 23, 2020 in Austin, Texas, from throat cancer-related complications.
Walker's "Mr. Bojangles" (1968) is perhaps his best-known and most-often covered song. It is about an obscure alcoholic but talented tap-dancing drifter who, when arrested and jailed in New Orleans, insisted on being identified only as Bojangles (the nickname of famed dancer Bill Robinson).
In his autobiography, Gypsy Songman, Walker made it clear the man he met was white. Further, in an interview with BBC Radio 4 in August 2008, he pointed out that at the time the jail cells in New Orleans were segregated along color lines, so his influence could not have been black. Bojangles is thought to have been a folk character who entertained informally in the South and California, with authentic reports of his existing from the 1920s through to about 1965.