Dayton, Ohio has always been historically defined by the fields of astronautical and aeronautical engineering and an expansive healthcare system that represents a substantial part of the city’s economy. But musically, Dayton is characterized by a long and rich tradition of delivering R&B, Soul, and especially Funk music to its proud citizenry. Zapp, Lakeside, Heatwave, Slave, and various other bands have delivered classic hits that eventually ruled the dancefloor nationwide.
Walter “Junie” Morrison is an unsung Funk music legend whose career spanned over five decades. A gifted multi-instrumentalist, the dude was Prince before Prince. He played a pivotal role in the early albums of the Ohio Players when the band was signed to Westbound Records in Detroit. After releasing three solo albums for that label (which featured Junie doing all of the instruments on two of those albums), he joined Parliament-Funkadelic in 1977.
Upon leaving P-Funk after the band’s 1981 release, The Electric Spanking Of War Babies, he released 4 more solo albums that continued to feature Junie as the “One Man Band.” One of those albums, Evacuate Your Seats from 1984, will finally be released on CD in March 2023 after almost 40 years. To celebrate the album’s reissue, we’re going to take a comfortable dive into the golden moments of Junie’s amazing and influential career.
“Funky Worm” The Ohio Players (1973)
The first bona fide hit for the Ohio Players saw Junie emerge as the primary songwriter and arranger of the track. Its prominent use of the ARP synthesizer would prove influential through the sound of 1990s West coast Rap. The track would go on to become the Players’ first number-one R&B hit.
“Granny’s Funky Rolls Royce” Junie (1975)
Feeding off of the success of “Funky Worm,” the first single from Junie’s second album Freeze utilizes the sped-up Granny voice ( a gimmick that would reemerge on a number of tracks featured on his first three solo albums).
“Let’s Play House” Parliament (1980)
One of the stand-out tracks from the last Parliament album recorded for Casablanca, Trombipulation, was later reconfigured into a massive hit for the Oakland, California-based rappers Digital Underground called “The Humpty Dance,” released as a single in late 1989.
“Grooveallegiance” Funkadelic (1978)
Junie’s first official appearance on a P-Funk project was a grand delight from the start. He earned writer’s credits on five tracks on the One Nation Under A Groove album. “Groovallegiance” features Junie describing with quiet-toned righteousness, the terms of being a member of the Nation.
“The Electric Spanking of War Babies” Funkadelic (1981)
Junie handles the bass, guitar, drums, and keyboards for the title track of the last album that Funkadelic would record for Warner Bros. Records. Vietnam, LSD, and the moon landing are all covered over a “Clue Wave”-inspired groove.
“Rappin’ About Rappin’ (Uh-Uh-Uh)” Junie (1981)
Junie embraces the ever-emerging Rap music movement with a hard-hitting dance floor scorcher where once again, he handles all of the instrumentation and arrangements.
“Techno Freqs” Junie (1984)
Junie’s last corporate label release addresses the topic of computers and their gradual, global takeover. All subsequent releases by Junie would appear on his own Askashic label and other independent outlets.
In May of 1997, Junie Morrison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame along with 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. Backstage at the event, he lamented P-Funk’s “mastery of forbearance.” It has indeed taken many years for innovative and eccentric artists like Mr. Morrison to receive his roses. Thankfully, and before passing in 2017, he received most of those roses while still on this Earth.
Photo: Fair Use image of Junie Morrison
Junie Junie Junie there was no one better and nobody really knows who he was from Dayton Ohio Crown point he was a genius and yes he was Prince before Prince. But I think he was so eccentric that he never took time to just make a hit on every recording.
Yeah I Found Out About Walter “Junie” Morrison Listening To A Program On A Collage Radio Station In Chicago. Another Genius Like Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, Prince. Groove allegiance. When I first heard that I wasn’t Familiar with Junie Morrison. But once I heard of him and realized who he was. I knew that that song have been created by him created by him. The only thing I have to say about George Clinton is. He did surround himself with great and outstanding musicians.. that’s it.( being nice.) See the Documentary type movie tell the roof off the real story of parliament funkadelic.