Jerry Jeff Walker, the singer-songwriter recognized for penning the hit “Mr. Bojangles” and as a pillar of Texas’ nation music scene, has died, in accordance with revealed studies. He was 78.
Walker’s demise was reported early Saturday by ABC affiliate KTRK-TV Houston, amongst different retailers. Walker died Oct. 23, in accordance with Pitchfork.
Walker is greatest generally known as the tunesmith behind “Mr. Bojangles,” which was successful for Nitty Gritty Grime Band in 1970 and for Sammy Davis Jr. in 1972 and has been lined by numerous performers. Walker first recorded the track in 1968 for his album of the identical title.
Born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, N.Y. in 1942, Walker started taking part in music as a teen and shortly drifted into the thriving early ’60s folks music scene in New York Metropolis. He traveled across the nation for a time earlier than settling in Austin, Texas in 1971. He arrived simply as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and different artists had been rising as hitmakers within the “Outlaw” model that was rougher and rawer than the polish on many nation data popping out of Nashville on the time.
He launched albums on main labels MCA and Elektra however went impartial within the mid’Nineteen Eighties, forming his personal label, Tried & True Music. His albums over the previous 30 years had been launched via a 123 of labels, together with Common and Rykodisc.
Walker, a broadly admired determine within the nation music neighborhood, had a sturdy fame for aiding different musicians, notably by masking their songs early of their careers. He was a key determine within the early profession of Jimmy Buffett. The songwriter of “Margaritaville” credited Walker with serving to him to determine himself in Key West, Fla.
“Jerry Jeff was form sufficient to take me in and let me keep and stay with him for some time,” Buffett mentioned, in accordance with KTRK. “I labored part-time in an auto restore storage, engaged on his automobile after which, when the automobile acquired fastened, we drove to Key West.”
Walker additionally gave songwriter Man Clark a giant profession enhance with Walker’s profitable recording of Clark’s ballad “L.A. Freeway” on the 1972 album “Jerry Jeff Walker.”
For years, Walker fronted the Misplaced Gonzo Band. He was identified with throat most cancers in 2017. His most up-to-date album, “It’s About Time,” was launched in 2018.
Nation singer-songwriter Jason Isbell recalled performing in Austin with Todd Snider after they had been joined onstage by Walker for “Mr. Bojangles.” Walker “kicked off his sneakers,” just like the character within the track, and danced.
Walker’s survivors embody his spouse, Susan, a son, Django, and a daughter, Jessie Jane.
Me and @amandashires had been backing up @ToddSnider one night time in Austin and Jerry Jeff jumped up and did Mr Bojangles with us, and he took his sneakers off when acquired onstage so he might dance. #RIPJerryJeff
— Jason IsBOO (@JasonIsbell) October 24, 2020