Austin progressive-country legend Jerry Jeff Walker is recovering from throat cancer, according to a report attributed to “Jerry Jeff’s camp” in a post Friday on Facebook by the Lost Gonzo Band, his former backing band.
The full text, taken from an email newsletter that went out to fans on Thursday, reads as follows:
“Jerry Jeff was diagnosed this summer with throat cancer. The prognosis was good (as good as it can be considering….isolated and treatable). It was his wish to get through the treatment before sharing the news. The good news is that the treatment is now over. The bad news is that in the middle of his 6th week of the 7 week treatment, he developed not only pneumonia but a blood infection as well. It is an understatement to call this a set-back, but he has fought it off and now is well into recovery. Because of this he will now be in rehab for a few weeks to get his strength back. His voice is strong and he is issuing orders to us all, so we know the Scamp is back!!
There will have to be shows in November either cancelled or re-scheduled. We are sorry for this, but just know that he will be back sharing his stories with you all in the future!!
Thanks for understanding his wish to get through this without too much attention. I know many of you have dealt with similar issues either yourself or with loved ones. It is tough, but does hone ones perspective on what is important.”
Walker, a native of upstate New York, wrote the late-1960s classic “Mr. Bojangles,” which was subsequently recorded by dozens of artists including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Sammy Davis Jr., John Denver, Neil Diamond and Nina Simone. He moved to Austin in the early 1970s and was instrumental in launching the city’s renowned progressive country scene, amid the ascendance of Willie Nelson and the heyday of Armadillo World Headquarters.
Earlier this month, the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University in San Marcos announced that Walker is donating his archive to the university’s Texas Music Collection. The materials will include master tapes, photographs, handwritten lyrics and other items.