moved with his family to Oak Ridge 14 years later. He eventually vacated the state in
1950 to join his mother and stepfather in Cleveland, Ohio. Here he found
employment in a bakery and stayed there until his retirement 35 years later.
early musical influences in Tennessee were entirely Country and Western and
Gospel from local radio stations. In his teens he happened upon Radio W.L.A.C. on
the dial out of Memphis which had a DJ spinning Muddy, Wolf, B.B. and Little
Walter. He was hooked!
In Cleveland he had the chance to see his idols in person as Reed, Rogers, Big Walter
and Muddy passed through. He also met Sonny Boy Williamson II who was living
not far from his step-father’s house, but it was Little Walters style which captivated
his imagination and obsessed him for the rest of his life. Wallace bought himself
a harmonica sometime in the 50’s playing for years solely for his own amusement
and that of family and friends. Eventually he was persuaded to join
Cleveland Guitar Slim’s Band in the early 80’s for their Saturday night gigs around
One evening Robert Lockwood Jnr. came into a club where Slim’s Band was playing
and at the end of the night invited Wallace to join his band when he retired from his
In November 1987 he left the bakery, phoned Robert and stayed in with him for the
next twelve years. During this time he travelled extensively playing and recording
with Lockwood Jnr. throughout the States, Europe and Japan.
When Wallace decided to step out into the limelight in 1999 he recorded a bombshell
of a CD for Fishhead Records. The record had a sound to die for – pure Memphis/
Chicago down home circa 1950. Amongst the blues mafia the news was out -
‘someone had stepped into Little Walter’s shoes’. A couple of years later ‘Stretch
my Money’ was released on his own Pinto Blue label and a third ‘Live at Joe’s’
quickly followed. Here was a man in a hurry.
Work in clubs and festivals worldwide began to roll in including the prestigious
Lucerne Festival in Switzerland where Blues and Rhythm’s Mike Stephenson was
knocked out by Wallace’s playing. An interview by Mike appeared in the August
In 2005 superb ‘Bad Weather Blues’ was released and we decided that it was
about that time that Wallace joined the growing band of artists making the pilgrimage
to play a Shakedown concert. For this UK debut the band
consisted of Jeremy Watson, acoustic and electric rhythm guitar; Rex Gates, bass; and
Rick Hudson, drums.