Mel Walker

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Melvin Lightsey (c. 1929 – possibly April 23, 1964), known professionally as Mel Walker, was an American R&B singer best known for his recordings in the early 1950s as lead male singer with the Johnny Otis Orchestra.[1]

He grew up in Los Angeles and attended Jefferson High School with Floyd Dixon. In 1949 he was discovered by Johnny Otis and joined his band, singing with Otis until around 1953. On many recordings he featured in duets with Little Esther (Phillips), and also recorded with The Robins. Walker was credited as lead singer on many of Otis' earliest and biggest R&B hits, including "Mistrustin' Blues" and "Cupid Boogie", both of which reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1950, and "Rockin' Blues", an R&B #2 hit in 1951. He also recorded Floyd Dixon's song "Call Operator 210", a #4 R&B chart hit in 1952.

Walker was jailed on narcotics charges in the early 1950s and was reported to have died young.[2] He may be the Melvin Lightsey whose body was found in an alley in Los Angeles on April 23, 1964, after an apparent drug overdose.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Charlie Gillett. "The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll". Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ Jim O' Neal, Amy Van Singel. "The Voices of the Blues: Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine". Google.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Death In Alley Believed From Narcotics Use" (PDF). California Eagle. April 30, 1964. Retrieved March 25, 2015.