Billy Walker was born in Ralls, Texas in Crosby County on January
14, 1929 and attended High School in Whiteface in Cochran County. Walker is best known for his 1962 hit, "(I'd Like
to Be In) Charlie's Shoes".
Walker was born in Ralls, Texas on January 14, 1929 and was the
youngest of three children. His mother died when he was only six
years old, and Billy's father was unable to care for him and his two
older brothers. Some of the children were placed in a Methodist
orphanage in Waco, Texas. Billy attended High School in Whiteface,
Texas where he won a talent contest which entitled him to appear on
radio in Clovis, NM. Billy was inspired by the music of Gene Autry
as a teenager, he began his professional music career in 1947 when
he was 18. After his debut on Clovis radio he joined the Big D
Jamboree in Dallas in 1949. The same year, Hank Thompson helped him
sign with Capitol Records. His manager at the time had him wear a
Lone Ranger-style black mask and billed him as The Traveling Texan,
the Masked Singer of Country Songs.
In 1951, Walker signed with Columbia Records and the following year
joined the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he and
Slim Whitman were responsible in part for Elvis Presley's first
appearance on the radio program. In 1954, Walker scored his first
hit with "Thank You for Calling". His early Columbia recordings were
at a Dallas studio owned by producer Jim Beck, responsible for hits
by Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell and others. In 1955, Walker, Presley
and Tillman Franks teamed up for a tour of West Texas. Walker soon
became a cast member of ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee in Springfield,
Missouri, where he began a long friendship with host Red Foley.
In the late 1960s, he hosted a syndicated television show, "Billy
Walker’s Country Carnival", and appeared on other country music TV
programs. Walker performed around the world, and several times
during the 1980s sang at the International Festival of Country Music
at Wembley Arena in London. In April 2006, Walker recorded the duet
"All I Ever Need Is You" with Danish singer Susanne Lana for
Hillside House Records. The recording, at Signal Path Studio in
Nashville, Tennessee, was produced by Charlie McCoy.
Walker continued to tour and remained a mainstay on the Grand Ole
Opry. On May 21, 2006, Walker died in a car accident when the van he
was driving back veered off Interstate 65 in Fort Deposit Alabama
and overturned. He was scheduled to perform with Terri Clark, Porter
Wagoner and others two days after his death. His wife Bettie;
bassist Charles Lilly Jr., son of Everett Lilly of The Lilly
Brothers; and guitarist Daniel Patton were also killed He was
scheduled to perform with Terri Clark, Porter Wagoner and others two
days after his death.
These Deceased Residents of Crosby County Left a total $5,078 in
Unclaimed Money for their heirs. Please share this with your family
and friends from Ralls, Crosbyton and Lorenzo Texas to let them know
how to claim their inheritance from the Texas Comptroller's Office .
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