Sammy Walker’s “Catcher in the Rye”: An Unofficial Slideshow

This was a byproduct of my Phil Ochs’ play project.  Sammy Walker is a Georgia born folksinger who knew Phil during his last year or so in New York. Phil helped the young singer with contacts, and produced his first album, Songs for Patty, singing background vocals on a couple of the tracks. With a voice poised somewhere between Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, Sammy probably suffered from sounding a bit too much like these near mythic figures. He is also an excellent songwriter in his own right, recording several albums in the late 1970s and 1980s, as well as one in 2008.  While it has a number of excellent songs,  his first album includes this standout track, which is I think vaguely based on Salinger’s book. I have to admit my own memories of A Catcher in the Rye are pretty sketchy; it was one of those youth classics that I didn’t get around to reading until I was really too old to appreciate it (as I remember, I found Holden a bit pretentious and annoying).  This slideshow makes a major motif out of the sea, although I frankly don’t remember that in the book at all, and I think I probably make a bit too much out of the reference to the shoreline in the song’s chorus.  That’s Sammy and Phil in the picture above, circa 1975. His music is worth checking out, by the way, if you’re interested in folk music with an occasionally topical edge.

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