December 7

Story of “Dumas Walker” by Kentucky Headhunters

“Dumas Walker” is a song by The Kentucky Headhunters. Recorded by the band, it was released in January 1990. Being the second single from their 1989 album Pickin’ on Nashville, it reached the number 25th spot on Country charts. At that time, the five Southern country rock band members penned its lyrics.

At the beginning of the song, it commands for the narrator’s followers to “all go down to Dumas Walker” to purchase “slaw burger, fries and a bottle of Ski”. Next, to that, the items will be brought to his “baby” and himself. Following it, he narrates that they were on the way to the “drive-in on a Saturday night with a six pack of Lite”. He explains that he would continue to Dumas Walker’s “after the show”. Here, Dumas and the others would be shooting marbles behind the store. The call, “let’s all go, down to Dumas Walker” then keeps on as the chorus is sung. Next, the singer describes Dumas Walker as closely sticking on to the law. They referred to him as the “marble king”. After this, the chorus is sung for the final time. Finally, the song ends.

Who is “Dumas Walker”?

As band member Doug Phelps explains, the song tells about a retailer and world-class marbles champion “Dumas” from Moss, Tennessee. In that town, he owned a “package” shop near the Kentucky-Tennessee state line, close to Annie Hanrahan’s place. The shop sold “beer, snacks, and fireworks” and was “part of the Kentucky boys’ lives growing up”. The part where they want to purchase a “slaw burger, fries, and a bottle of Ski” is totally not linked to the real-life “Dumas Walker”. They were referring to a restaurant in Greensburg, Kentucky called Adolphus Ennis. This is where the band would go subsequent to a show.

At first, believing it was too regional the record label did not want to include the song on their Pickin’ on Nashville album. However, the Headhunters insisted that the song be on the album their audience’s reaction is overwhelming.

Here is a positive review from Cash Box magazine: “’Dumas Walker’, produced and arranged by the Heads themselves, opens our ears to electrifying country nestled in sweet southern comfort. This explosion of a tune, delivered with an almost daring harmony, should also find sweet comfort at the top of the chart”.

 


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