so what is this site all about?..again
Well, as a friend of mine told me, after we spoke following the site closure...'Welcome to the World Wide Web, my friend'. That was three weeks ago. Today is the 3rd Of April 2003 and I really haven't had much time to think about things. I am looking at a folder with 524 e-mails (replied to each and every one by the way), all of which have been so supportive. Thank you for that. You are great people. By the way, who says that there is no market for our genre?
At the time the plug was pulled, there had been over 162,000 site visitors who had taken a 'soulwalk' around the place. The site was averaging around 2,000 people per week visiting. I figured at the outset that I would be doing well if around a couple of hundred had taken a peek!
The whole thing is very confusing. Problem with the Internet is if you raise your head above the parapet, you run the risk of becoming a target. Once someone accuses you of something, todays society takes that information as gospel and you become what you are accused of, innocent or guilty. My guilt was I named, added links and credited sources. There are other issues that have cast some light on the subject. I can't speak of these matters and, to be honest, I don't really want to. People have their jobs to do and I certainly don't want, what happened to me, happening to anyone else.
The link from the main page will update you as to where the site is headed. Still non profitmaking and promoting.
Since the early days of the site, I have been in touch with some fabulous artists, who have sent me their product and have been really magnificent. One other thing that has become apparent is that they are in the same boat that we are as purchasers. They want to sell their records, we want to buy them. It is the middle man who makes life very difficult, which is a shame. Many of the soul fans who have been in touch have gone out and bought the albums that have made it to these review pages. Profit for the industry. I believe there is an unfair musical work ethic that urges the public to place looks over quality and profit above everything.
Some of the 'New R & B' girl bands are made to look like mannequins. The singers stage has become a catwalk. Hum me one of their tunes? This is my point in a nutshell. There are no more 'Say A Little Prayers' or 'Woman To Woman's' on the mass pop market. These 'oldies' may be sampled, however, new similar product generated lies mainly ignored. 'Misty Blue' was a big hit for Dorothy Moore in the Seventies. Would it make todays charts? I don't believe so. Thesedays you have to look below stairs for the real deal and, believe me, it is still there. Many of the e-mails that came in over the past two and a half years have been largely in agreement with that point of view.
I believe that we should not be too retrospectively inclined. I take the point that some of todays soul tracks are a 'pastiche' of what has gone before. I sound a little like the man who when asked what type of painting he likes, he replied 'I don't know much about art, but I know what I like'! There is something about this music that hits you when you least expect it. J-Lo makes some nice little pop records, and may be very pleasing to the eye, but she ain't no Aretha. Nuff said.
Toby Walker 2003
After all that, well the place went through several changes. Tashan came over to visit and recorded a couple of great tunes, whilst he was here. Took him on the London Eye. Then some German promoters got in touch. Great guys. I began helping them with contacts regarding Soul Singers who have been in touch. That bought Lyn Collins and Gwen McCrae over here. Leroy Hutson and New Birth coming soon, hopefully. Really decent guy called Pari and his Soul Power team getting things happening. Then the web space providers I were currently using told me that the site was 'dubious', so the audio had to go. I changed to a new set of people who are easy going, have allowed me 8 times more space for the same outlay, so I am going to fill the site with tons more information. I met Lamont Dozier last year (Soul hero) and finally I seem to be working more with folks in the media, which is cool. August 2005 and the place is still here. So many great people out there. Some very humble folks. Whoever has been in touch, well, thank you. I do reply to all of the e-mail, even the negative. Hard keeping the place going sometimes, but well worth it in the long run. The place is now averaging 3,500 visitors each week. Thank you.
Toby Walker 2005
toby and grace walker 1999 / toby 1984 (only decent photo of me!! LOL Thanks Julie. Love you.)
To this day, I have never been photogenic (in fact I hate photo's of myself), but as a response to requests from a couple of site visitors, wanting to put a face to a name, here are photo's of my daughter and myself taken in 1999 (left). One of me before I filled out a little from '84!! (right) LOL Us girls, eh! LOL. You men just don't understand cellulite!! LOL. I have been married to Julie for 11 years (been together since 1982) and was born on the 13th October 1956. Julie is the only person who can take decent photo's with my camera!! LOL. Hope that fills the gaps. I am now off to commit suicide!!. Please feel free to cut and paste these images for your dartboard!
message from grace