Richard 'Hock' Walsh, Blues Musician

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Richard "Hock" Walsh

By Mark ’Bird’ Stafford

Richard "Hock" Walsh... a road story.

Hock Walsh and I formed a duo format, with the intent on hiring a third player - either guitar, piano, or guesting with whomever we could line up dates. We had a lot of fun, and I felt so lucky to become his friend and most of all - to listen to him sing, cause he was one of the greatest singers I have ever witnessed. We had some serious laughing fits, you know the ones that wind you up so much that you’re out of control. I remember having to pull over on the side of the road to finish the story.Sometimes It took a little while to calm down.

Out of town dates were common, as Hock had a lot of contacts outside Toronto - a bi-product of being in the Downchild Blues Band and on the road for many years. We had many discussions about driving habits, as I tend to drive a little over the speed limit, but lets say I’m a little conservative. My friends even call me "Grandpa" some times. Hock on the other hand, was "pedal to the metal". It made me a touch nervous as we often travelled home after the gig. He felt that being home in your own bed after a long journey was better than waking up in the hotel room in another city, and having to make the trip in the morning. Besides, why should Holiday Inn cut into our hard earned dough?

Anyway, Hock had his favorite deli's and food stops that were often a little off the beaten track. We always had snacks for the drive home. Me being the kid, I would sometimes make a little bed in the back of the van, (never can sleep sitting up). Try to catch a little "kip". But every time Hock reached for another bite of a sandwich, the van seemed swerve a little from left to right. At 140 km's per hour, it shook you a wee bit! So needless to say, I would bolt upright in the back of the van. ’Never did catch up much on my sleep. Ahh...the road.

Check out Hock Walsh’s biography

About Mark Bird Stafford
Mark is an active participant in the Toronto Blues Society's "Blues In The Schools" program and finds time to immerse himself in the International Milk Festival's musical events. A tireless performer, chances are good you'll catch him sitting in with a variety of better bands or featured acts wherever he and his harp may travel. Visit Mark's Website

Read more Blues Heroes Stories
from the bookTouched By the Blues

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