Angus Walker

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Angus Walker in 2015 Angus Walker 2015.jpg
Angus Walker in 2015

Angus Reynolds Walker (born August 27, 1939) is a Canadian bluegrass and country musician from Port Hastings, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He has been called "Canada's Prime Minister of Country Music" and "The Cape Breton Rebel".


Walker has appeared as a vocalist, upright bass and rhythm guitar player with various groups and artists. He has been featured on several albums and singles for various labels including Boot and Rodeo Records in addition to making numerous radio and television appearances such as CBC's Countrytime. [1] He has worked with Fred McKenna, Vic Mullen, Don Messer, Mac Wiseman, Charley Bailey, Doc Williams, and Ben Kerr, Marg Osborne and Brent Williams, among others.

Music career

Walker's music career began at the age of 12, performing at local venues until 1953, when he began to appear with Ron Spencer, Cris Chisholm and Earl Chisholm as part of the Radio Rangers on CJFX Radio. [2] After 1956, he appeared as part of the West Virginia Jamboree Show with Charley Bailey and later toured with future Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame alumni Fred McKenna [3] and George Beck as a member of Beck's "Maritime Playboys". [4] Walker also participated and won the "CBC Talent Caravan", which was held at Saint Francis Xavier University and adjudicated by Glenn Sarty. [2] Around the same time, Walker played the upright bass, rhythm guitar and sang in various roles with The Birch Mountain Boys [4] who consisted of Vic Mullen usually playing banjo, Brent Williams playing fiddle and providing vocals, guitar and harmony and Harry Cromwell on mandolin, lead guitar [5] and singing harmony. [6] Eventually, he became a full fledged member of the group. [4] Walker and the group became one of the earliest performers of Canadian Bluegrass music in the early 1960s. [7] The group performed at small venues in places such as Ingonish, Neil's Harbour, Baddeck, Waycobah, Port Hawkesbury, Goldboro, and Cheticamp, among others.

The CJCH Countrymen The CJCH Countrymen promotional image.png
The CJCH Countrymen

After The Birch Mountain Boys disbanded in 1961, [8] [4] Walker became part of The CJCH Countrymen. The group was assembled via audition by CJCH for their program which was "...the first cross-country television show of country music ever to originate in Halifax" [2] titled "The CJCH Countrymen Jamboree". [9] The CJCH Countrymen consisted of Walker (lead vocal and rhythm guitar), Beck (bass), Mullen (fiddle and banjo), Chuck Lohnes (steel guitar) and Ross Broughm (lead guitar). During this time, The Countrymen were the house band for the aforementioned TV show while also performing on the road with notable performers such as Mac Wiseman, Doc Williams [10] and The Border Riders, Marg Osborne and Tommy Common. Later, Beck then Walker reunited with Williams and Cromwell, who had already relocated to the Gaspe area [4] as part of Beck's latest iteration of "The Maritime Playboys" who performed on weekly TV show for CHAU in Carleton, Quebec. [4] In 1963, Walker transitioned to Montreal where he eventually joined Dougal Trineer's band "The Hackamores" mostly appearing as a rhythm guitarist and harmony singer, along with Paul Menard on fiddle, June Davey supplying bass and vocals and Trineer as lead guitarist and singer. The group backed "...many of the country records out of Montreal" at the time, [11] in addition to playing at several venues in the Montreal and Toronto areas such as the Blue Angel, The Wagon Wheel and The Monteray Club where The Hackamores were considered the main attraction for a time. [4]

Four of Walker's singles charted above the top 50 in RPM Magazine's weekly ranking of Country music songs between 1965 and 1971. Cadillacin' Around, written by Will Odo and recorded with The Hackamores, plateaued at #2 [12] and gained him "national popularity" [13] before winning the RPM Gold Leaf Award (later known as the Juno Awards) for "Most Promising Male Country Singer" [14] [15] in 1965. Due to these successes, by 1966 he was receiving "much recognition as an up and coming country singer". [11] Peaking at #35 in 1970 was Crazy Tricks [16] , written by Merv Smith and produced by Dick Damron and recorded in Edmonton. During this time in Alberta, Walker continued to have popularity in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. [17] In 1971, two of Walker's recordings reached the top 50 starting with the self-penned Canadian Country Music Man which featured Marie Babin (vocals) and "first call" [18] studio lead guitarist Mickey McGivern, reaching as high as #22. [19] Later that year, Parliament Hill, written by Ben Kerr and produced by Trineer, peaked at #18 on RPM Weekly's Country song listing. [20]

Promotional image George Beck Jamboree Promotional Image.png
Promotional image
Boot Records promotional image of Walker Canada's Prime Minister of Country Music.png
Boot Records promotional image of Walker

In the fall and winter of 1970 and 1971, now known as Canada's Prime Minister of Country Music, Walker made appearances on CBC's Countrytime [21] and on May 12, 1971, Walker joined folk performer and television personality Don Messer on a tour across Canada. [22] [23] Additionally, Walker performed Parliament Hill on an episode of The Don Messer Show that aired on January 29, 1972 on CJAY-TV. [24] Walker also spent time playing at The Dunes nightclub in Hawaii, starting in 1972 [25] along with Bobby Munro on piano and Doug Lewis on bass. Upon returning to Canada, Walker assembled his own exclusive band known as "The Cabinet" featuring lead guitarist Steve Lau whom he had met during his time in Hawaii and brothers, Larry and Henry Brennan, on drums and bass, respectively. In 1975, Walker received "heavy east coast airplay for his Diesel Drivin' Man single", [26] recorded with The Cabinet [27] and also made an appearance on The Ian Tyson Show backing Jim and Don Haggart. [2] Walker began an indefinite hiatus from his music career due to medical issues in 1977 [26] although he did occasionally record songs and perform [28] after 1989 as "The Cape Breton Rebel".



1961Angus Walker and The Birch Mountain BoysBlue Grass SongsLead vocals and rhythm guitarBanff
1963Angus Walker and The Birch Mountain BoysBluegrass SpecialLead vocals and rhythm guitarBanff
1963Brent & HarryCountry SpecialBassBanff
1965Allan TrineerAllan Trineer-10 Jim Reeves Golden HitsVocals and rhythm guitarDisques Major
1965Bob KingA King in the CountryBassBanff
1966Angus Walker and The Birch Mountain BoysLet's Sing Bluegrass Songs (re-issue of "Blue Grass Songs")Lead vocals and rhythm guitarRodeo
1966June Davey with The HackamoresPatsy Cline and Kitty WellsGuitar and bassPoint
1967Dougie Trineer and The HackamoresStraight From the HeartGuitar and harmonyPoint
1967The HackamoresThe HackamoresRhythm Guitar and vocalsHarmony
1975Angus Walker and The CabinetIntroducing Angus Walker: Canada's Prime Minister of Country MusicLead vocals and rhythm guitarCynda
2016Angus Walker and The Birch Mountain BoysBlue Grass Songs (re-issue with bonus tracks)Lead vocals and rhythm guitarRosedale
2017Angus Walker and The Birch Mountain BoysBluegrass Special (re-issue with bonus tracks)Lead vocals and rhythm guitarRosedale


YearSingle (A side/ B side) CAN


1960Some Must Fail/I'm the One that Broke her HeartRodeo International
1964Eatin' Outta Your Hand/Hit Parade of LoveRodeo International
1965Cadillacin' Around/Roses and Rings#2 (A side) [12] Citadel
1969Crazy Tricks/Movin' Man#35 (A side) [16] Big Chief
1970My Wife's Liberation Front/Canadian Country Music Man#22 (B side) [19] Rodeo International
1971Don't Wake the Sleeping Lion/ Parliament Hill#18 (B side) [20] Rodeo International
1971Ode to a Country Singer/Four Strong WindsCannon
1975Diesel Drivin' Man/ Parliament HillBoot Records Limited
1975Heavy Country Music/I'm a BelieverCynda Records

Compilation albums

YearAlbum NameLabel
1962George Beck Picks: The Top Country & Western HitsBanff/Rodeo Records
196316 Great Country Songs by 16 Great Canadian Country ArtistsBanff Records
1963Angus Walker Picks: 16 Western and Country HitsRodeo International
196316 Great Songs of PraiseRodeo International
196416 Great Country Songs by 16 Great Canadian Country ArtistsBanff
196516 Great Canadian Country ArtistsRodeo International
196616 Bluegrass FavoritesRodeo International
1966Vic Mullen presents Countrytime JamboreeRodeo International
196716 Country Hits-Various ArtistsRodeo International
198550 Bluegrass Favorites Vol. 1 & 2Holborne Distributing
1993Nova Scotia CountryRMS Recordings/Atlantica Music
2015Bluegrass Sing, Sing, SingRosedale

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