Bonnie Petrie

Legendary Houston Blues Singer “Big” Walter Price Dies

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Cicely C. Mitchell

“Big” Walter Price, a blues and folk singer, with ties to Houston and its music scene, has died. Believed to be the last blues singer from the storied and historical Peacock music Label, “Big” Walter, was also known as the “Thunderbird” was 97.

Known for his “barrelhouse” style of piano, and he was described by the late blues guitar great Jerry Lightfoot as “a national treasure from the state of Texas.”

His best-known song is “Pack Fair and Square,” is described by many as “robust” and “poignant”.

Price was born in Aug. 2, 1914, in Gonzales, just east of San Antonio. His childhood consisted of picking cotton and a strict upbringing from an aunt.

Later in his life, Price was encouraged by a co-worker to sing, while working for the railroad in Fort Worth.

With limited financial gain, Price was an artist, who was on several music labels. He made his first recording, a song called “Calling Margie,” in 1955; he reportedly did earn him any money from the recording.

Price, who is being remembered for signature style and vocal delivery was once quoted as saying: “I don’t want to be rich.I want to go to heaven when I die. You understand where I’m coming from, man? I just want to make a decent living, have a decent family and treat people like they ought to be treated, and make sure that they get the same decent life that I would like to live for myself. That’s the bottom line.”

Price’s funeral will be held Saturday at Life Changes Church, 10630 Homestead. There will be a viewing at 9 a.m. with the funeral at 11 a.m.

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