Funk legend and member of Ohio Players dies

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

Dayton is considered the Land of Funk. Here is why. Video by Amelia Robinson

A legendary member of the Ohio Players has died, according to news reports and a post on his official Facebook page from his daughter.

Walter “Junie” Morrison, a noted producer, keyboardist and singer, is credited with writing The Ohio Players major hits “Pain,” “Pleasure”, “Ecstasy” and “Funky Worm.”

Morrison, a Dayton native, was 62. 

Photos of Walter "Junie" Morrison from the Dayton Daily News archive at Wright State University.

>>MORE: Funk Music Hall of Fame opening in downtown Dayton after long battle

>>MORE: 8 Dayton acts you should give a funk about

“Dear friends and colleagues, we lost another great one. I’m sure you can agree that Junie will be greatly missed. I wasn’t around my father much, but somehow I am like him in so many ways. In that regard, thank you for your support and respect of our privacy during this time,” Akasha Morrison wrote.

Morrison was a 1997 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and was also co-creator, writer and producer of “One Nation (Under A Groove)” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Parliament Funkadelic, according to juniemorrison.com.

In the 1970s and 1980s, southwestern Ohio — particularly Dayton’s west side — was known for its stable of funk bands whose influence can be heard in hip-hop, house and other musical forms popular today.

Morrison inspired singer Solange’s recent song “Junie” on her 2016 “A Seat at the Table” album.

Gregory Webster, the original leader of the Ohio Players, said Morrison, who was hired into The Ohio Players shortly after he graduated from Roosevelt High School.

“He was really friendly,” Webster said of Morrison. “He was young, but we got him together.”  

Longtime WDAO radio show host John “Turk” Logan said “Pain” — a song Morrison wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on — was the first “funky” song from a Dayton group that he played.

Logan managed Morrison for a short time after he left the Ohio Players.

Photos of Walter "Junie" Morrison from the Dayton Daily News archive at Wright State University.

“Junie was an extraordinary talent. The guy had a sixth sense about the music business,” said Logan, a 1968 Roosevelt graduate. “Junie was a handful because he was a genius.”

>> MORE: Ohio Players frontman Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner dies

>> MORE: Ohio Players' bassist Marshall "Rock" Jones dies

Dayton musician Ronald Frost of the band The Deele said Morrison was a critical member of The Ohio Players.

“When Junie came, that’s when they became extra funky,” Frost said. 

Frost’s father Ronald “Nooky” Nooks played with The Ohio Players sometimes after Morrison left the band in 1974 for a solo career.

He released three solo albums on Westbound Records.

Frost was a big fan of Morrison’s work. 

“Junie was just a different kind of musician. He was totally incredible,” Frost said. 

Morrison was induced into the Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center based in downtown Dayton last year. 

Hall of Fame president David Webb said Morrison was a great musician who supported preserving funk’s heritage. 

“We are praying for his family,” Webb said.

Response on Facebook to word of the funk legend’s passing was swift. 

“Junie Morrison WAS funk to me and many others,” one comment read.

Trending - Most Read Stories

One man in jail after alleged domestic violence stabbing

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 9:21 PM

Stabbing reported in Dayton

A man was charged with felonious assault and domestic violence Sunday against Harry McBride, 27, according to a Dayton Police report.

Emanuel Porter, also 27, was arrested and booked into Montgomery County Jail.

Initial reports say there was a possible stabbing at 1906 Elsmere Avenue.

When crews arrived, neighbors were being combative and told them it wasn’t anything serious.

Porters next court date is set for Monday at 1:45 p.m. 

Trending - Most Read Stories

Local police and fire departments escort fallen Firefighter/EMT

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 9:56 PM
Updated: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 11:14 PM

Firefighter's body escorted to morgue

Local Dayton police and fire departments helped escort a fallen firefighter/EMT from Kettering Medical Center to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Sunday night.

The firefighter died early Sunday, Dayton Police Sgt. Anderson confirmed.

He was a firefighter/EMT with the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District and lost his life after an accident at the district’s station near Rainsboro, according to a local news journal.

Firefighter escorted to morgue after accident

The firefighter was working with compressed air cylinders when he was critically injured by one of the cylinders. He was then air lifted by a MedFlight helicopter to Kettering Medical Center, where he later died.

The name of the firefighter will be released once his family has been notified. 

Trending - Most Read Stories

Darke Co. Humane Society first felony animal cruelty conviction

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 7:22 PM

Man sentenced in animal cruelty felony case

The Darke County Humane Society (DCHS) has received their first felony Animal Cruelty Conviction, according to a release.

Robert Frazier of Ansonia, who was facing felony charges after a dog was found frozen to death behind a home in December 2017, plead guilty last Thursday in Darke County Court on a fifth degree felony charge of animal cruelty. 

Agent Wills of the Darke County Humane Society located the dog behind Frazier’s residence that was starved and frozen to death. Wills removed the dog and had it examined by a veterinarian to confirm his findings. 

RELATED: Darke Co. man charged after dog found frozen to death behind home

This is the first felony conviction the DCHS has been able to prosecute under the new Ohio Animal Cruelty Laws. 

Frazier was sentenced to 30 days in jail, and 16 days were credited for time served already. He reported to the Darke County Jail on Friday, June 22 at 9:00 a.m. to serve the remaining 14 days. He was also ordered to pay restitution, a Veterinarian Bill, and court costs/fines.

“It’s sad we need laws in place to make people treat animals in a decent way. I’m glad the new laws give us more power when we charge offenders. Hopefully this will show the people that we are not playing around. We will not tolerate this behavior in our county,” said Agent Wills.

For more information, visit www.DarkeCountyHumaneSociety.org.

Trending - Most Read Stories

New Carlisle Purple Heart City celebration

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:47 PM

Purple hear t event

A celebration took place earlier today at the New Carlisle Fire Station to celebrate the city being designated a Purple Heart City. The city will post signs at the entrances to the city designating that it’s a Purple Heart City.

The city of New Carlisle was named a Purple Heart City by the Military Order of the Purple Heart in 2014, according to Mayor Ethan Reynolds. The honor means the city has many veterans who served in the armed forces.

REALTED: Bellbrook designated a Purple Heart City

“Our city is very close to the base and many young men and women go in and serve the military,” said Reynolds. “Unfortunately, some have been wounded and this is a way for us to honor them and show them respect.” 

The idea for the event came after a citizen, David Bauer--a Vietnam veteran and a Purple Heart recipient--came to him and asked about why the city didn’t celebrate being named a Purple Heart City when it happened.

RELATED: Middletown designated a Purple Heart City

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the Armed Forces wounded in combat with an enemy force, or posthumously to the next of kin of members of the Armed Forces killed in combat. 

Making sure people know that New Carlisle is a Purple Heart City should be a priority, said Bauer. “This is for our veterans.”

Trending - Most Read Stories