Wallace Johnson

Wallace Johnson was born in Napoleonville, Louisiana on October 8, 1937. Raised on the Martin Plantation, Wallace's first musical love was gospel. At age 13, he experienced a life-changing event - he got to witness a Roy Brown performance. This was a harbinger of things to come. 

Joining the army in 1954, he started a doo-wop group at Fort Lewis. Transferred to Alaska in 1956, he joined a gospel group.

Following his discharge in 1957, he moved with his wife and family to New Orleans. Wanting to pursue a career in music, he enrolled at the Houston School of Music. He then set about trying to record a record. First, he tried Dave Bartholomew of Imperial Records and was turned down. Then he went over to Harold Battiste of Specialty Records. Specialty was closing its New Orleans branch. However Harold wanted to record Wallace for the new label he was launching with some other musicians, AFO (All For One) records. He signed with AFO and released the record "Clap Your Hands " backed with "Peace of Mind." The record was cut with the session men who were owners of AFO at Ric Studios. AFO lost their national distributor Sue Records so the record was only released locally. Wallace also cut "Private Eye," which wasn't released until years later on the CD 'Gumbo Stew.' 

Wallace then moved back to Napoleonville and started playing in clubs in the area. He would open for Ike and Tina turner and Bobby Blue Bland at the Sugar Bowl in Thibodaux. 

He then hooked up with Allen Toussaint, who he met at the AFO session at the Ric record studio, to record for Allen and Marshall's Sansu label. He recorded his vocals over prerecorded backing tracks on "Something to Remember You By" and "I'm Grown;" neither record charted. His last single with Allen, "I Miss You Girl" was cut in Atlanta on the same session Aaron Neville cut " Hercules." Issued on RCA, the record did nothing. 

Leaving music, Wallace supported his family by driving a truck and working in a lumber yard. After his wife died and his children grew up, Wallace returned to New Orleans. He talked to bassist Alonzo Johnson and drummer Wilbert" Junkyard Dog" Arnold about backing him on a demo. The release of the 'Gumbo Stew' CD with his old songs further stoked his desire to cut a record. 

Wallace would frequently go over to his friend Allen Toussaint's house to shoot pool. One day he asked Allen for his opinion on Wallace cutting a demo. Allen gave him studio time at The Sea Saint, Allen and Marshall's studio, as well as a new song. Wallace got his musicians together and cut the demo. Allen was impressed enough to cut a record of Wallace backed by Lil Buck Sinegal and Alonzo Johnson on his NYNO label. The record led Wallace to start performing live again including his first ever performances in New Orleans. Wallace eventually moved to Atlanta but continues to sing the occasional gig.

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