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Charles “Wigg” Walker Soul Brunch
Charles Walker is one of the few remaining original soul singers from back in the day when old school R&B/soul was brand new on the music scene. There has recently been a resurgence of this style of music, and it is finding a younger audience while rekindling memories for the old school crowd. Wigg is still delivering this style of music at a very high level, and his experience and maturity in the field of soul music gives him a perspective that is unmatched.
Charles Walker was born in Nashville, Tennessee on July 12, 1940. Charles or “Wigg,” as he is known by his friends (his mother nicknamed him when he was born with a full head of hair), began singing at an early age in church and school. He cut his first record in 1959 for Ted Jarrett’s legendary Champion label. One cut, “Slave To Love,” was credited to Charles Walker and the Daffodils. In fact, there was no such group as the Daffodils. The backup singers on the record were label mates the Kinglets and Larry Birdsong.
In 1960, Charles moved to New York City where studios and nightclub work were plentiful. 1962 found Charles recording with Chess Records out of Chicago, and soon he signed on as lead singer with the J.C. Davis Band. This band began touring the country opening for the greats of the era including James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, Little Willie John, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke. The J.C. Davis Band recorded some real barnstormers for Chess like “Sweet Sweet Love” and “The Chicken Scratch.” In 1964, Charles formed his own group, Little Charles and the Sidewinders. They became one of the most in demand soul bands in New York City’s nightclub scene, performing at the Apollo Theater, Small’s Paradise and venturing out to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. They subsequently recorded for Chess and Decca labels. The Sidewinders stayed together through the 60’s, and in 1969 Charles cut some sides for Botanic Records. The Sidewinders reformed in 1973 and worked as a show band in hotels, nightclubs, and casinos without the benefit of a recording contract. In 1979, Charles signed on with Motown as a staff writer.
All Ages / Free