Who is Dumas Walker?

Twenty-eight years ago, in 1990, the Kentucky Headhunters released “Dumas Walker” as a follow-up to their successful “Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine.”  With the music video being aired on CMT, music fans wanted to know more about the man, myth, and legend of Dumas Walker.  What many do not realize, there are two references for Dumas Walker with a story of their own.
Well let’s all go, down to Dumas Walker
Let’s all go, down to Dumas Walker
We’ll get a slaw burger, fries and a bottle of Ski
Bring it on out to my baby and me
Dumas Walker shooting marbles outside the roadside tavern he operated in Moss, Tenneessee.  Photo by Byron Crawford.

The man, Dumas Walker, was 74 years old when he was asked to be a part of the music video.  He originally owned Walker’s Package Store on TN 51, just south of the Kentucky/Tennessee State Line in the town of Moss, Tennessee.  Dumas Walker, along with Welby Lee of Tompkinsville, were world champion marble players.  Dumas was well known in those parts for his marble playing and you can see him in the video playing marbles on a pool table.  Sadly, on his way to a marble game in Bowling Green, he broke his arm in a car wreck.  The injury forced to be unable to shoot marbles afterwards.  Walker passed away on April 22, 1991 in Nashville, Tennessee.  He is buried in the Macedonia Cemetery in Moss, Tennessee.

In 1991, the famed general store went on the auction block.  Ironically, the person that purchased the store was not allowed to call it Dumas Walker’s because his widow, Hazel Walker, wasn’t selling the name.

Dumas Walker shooting marbles on the floor.

The other “Dumas Walker” is a restaurant in Greensburg, Kentucky.  It was originally called the Adolphus Ennis Lunchroom.  The locals would call it “The Greasy Spoon.”  Thanks to the song, many folks call it Dumas Walker’s as it was where the Kentucky Headhunters would get a slaw burger, fries, and a bottle of Ski.

These days, there is a sign out front on top of the entrance that says:

KY Headhunters
Original Slawburger
Fry & Bottle of Ski
Grammy Winning Dumas Walker Slaw Burger
Greensburg, Kentucky’s Dumas Walker Restaurant – photo by Jessica Bray

The song, “Dumas Walker,” was originally recorded as a demo in Acuff-Rose’’s Hickory Records Studio.  Later on, the band would borrow $4,500 to record an album, “Pickin’ On Nashville,” and included the now famous song.  “Dumas Walker” peaked at number 15 on the Billboard County Music Singles Charts and was on the chart for 26 weeks.  The band won a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Best New Vocal Group award from the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and Album of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year awards from the Country Music Association (CMA).

For those that wonder, Ski is a citrus tasting non-alcoholic drink that is sweeter than Mt. Dew.  It is very popular throughout southern Kentucky.  You can pick up a bottle (these days plastic) at any gas station throughout the Cumberland Parkway.  Some places like Kroger also carry the drink.  

These days, the Kentucky Headhunters are still out picking and singing out on the road with quite a few tour dates.  They recently released a new album, “On Safari.”  Be sure to check them out over at www.kentuckyheadhunters.net.

Jessica Blankenship

Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians.  Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County's Ten Under 40 Award Recipients.  In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky.  She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more.  Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.

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16 Responses

  1. Gail says:

    I bought property that is old walker property and the 115 yr old house below my home is the Dumes Walker home.

    • Eloise says:

      Did you buy the old Walker home place? The one on Highway 52? Or his and Hazel ‘s home?

    • Denise Bell says:

      If the property is in Celina, I spent my summers in that house and traipsing’ around the hills on grannies farm. “Accidentally” falling in the creek, picking blackberries and plums, and looking for Indian arrow heads is how we passed the time.

  2. jAY D LANKFORD says:

    Love the article! I REMEMBER WHEN THEY HAD SKI IN OKLAHOMA! I ALSO REMEMBER A SODA POP CALLED “POMMAC” ANYONE ELSE REMEMBER THAT?

    • Daniel Irvine says:

      I do!..Pommac was sold here in eastern Ky. Its still made in Sweden. I actually ordered a few bottles and had them shipped here just to have another taste of my youth. I wish they would sell it in Amaerica again. I loved it..

  3. Ed Rounsaville says:

    As a Yankee transplant (NJ), a few years ago, I have been introduced to “Dumas Walker” by the song our barbershop chorus is singing for our Spring Show in Bowling Green . Thanks to this article for bringing me up to speed. The Caveman Chorus

  4. D. John says:

    Yes here in Corbin, Ky. I used to buy this at lunch when I was in the 4th grade,, loved it…POMMAC, I never heard anyone else ever mention this drink

  5. David DeSpain says:

    I enjoyed your article.
    Former Co-owner of Greensburg Bottling and bottlers/distributors of Ski.

  6. KRISTINE HAWKINS says:

    I want the recipe for slaw burgers. Please, anyone. Is that what the ranch house sold also?

  7. Whizzorwill says:

    At least he passed on before losing all his marbles.

  8. Kristy says:

    This is a great article; thank you for posting it. I have always loved this song but really never knew the true story behind it. Now I have something to quiz my family on lol

  9. Carl Denzler says:

    SKI was originally created in Breese, IL. This small town is about 30 or so minutes away from my hometown of Centralia, IL. I love it that a soda that was born in Southern Illinois is mentioned in a country song!

  10. David says:

    I was raised on the farm that Richard and Freddy’s family owned. Tenant farmers. The black gentleman’s name I believe was Jakie

  11. Thanks for talking about the article! We really appreciate it.

  1. March 15, 2018

    […] the Macedonia Cemetery in Moss, Tennessee. Get the COMPLETE story and Pics of Dumas Walker here HERE! var disqus_shortname = 'wcvqhd3'; var disqus_developer = 1; (function() { var dsq […]

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