James David Walker, 13 August 1921, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. A former professional boxer, McCracklin began his singing career in 1945 when he recorded some demos with J. D. Nicholson on piano. Four years later he formed his own band, the Blues Blasters, in San Francisco and recorded for Modern Records. These recordings from 1948-1950 are magnificent slices of pure R&B, and to this day remain woefully neglected. The recordings feature some wonderfully distorted guitar playing from Bob Kelton. Almost a decade passed before McCracklin secured minor fame for his single The Walk. This gritty slice of R&B crossed over into the pop charts via Dick Clarks American Bandstand show where it was favoured by the resident dancers. In the wake of this success, McCracklin continued to enjoy intermittent chart success. Just Got To Know (1961) and Think (1965) reached the US R&B Top 10, but later blues/soul-styled releases fared less well and confined this underrated performers appeal to a more specialist audience.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.