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T-Bone Walker

From Academic Kids

Aaron Thibeaux Walker or T-Bone Walker (May 28, 1910March 16, 1975) was an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the most influential musicians of the early 20th century. He was born in Linden, Texas of African American and Cherokee descent.

As a young man, Walker met and learned from Blind Lemon Jefferson, another legendary blues musician. Walker's recording debut was "Wichita Falls Blues"/"Trinity River Blues", recorded for Columbia Records in 1929. His distinctive sound didn't develop until 1942, when Walker recorded "Mean Old World" for Capitol Records. His electric guitar solos were among the first heard on modern blues recordings and set a standard that is still followed.

Much of Walker's output was recorded from 1946–48 on Black & White Records, including 1947's "Stormy Monday Blues", with its famous opening line, "They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad". He followed up with his "T-Bone Shuffle": "Let your hair down baby, let's have a natural ball". Both are considered blues classics. B. B. King says "Stormy Monday" first inspired him to take up the guitar.

Throughout his career he worked with top quality musicians, including Teddy Buckner (trumpet), Lloyd Glenn (piano), Billy Hadnott (bass), and Jack McVea (tenor sax).

Following his work with Black & White, he recorded from 1950–54 for Imperial Records (backed by Dave Bartholomew). Walker's only record in the next five years was T-Bone Blues, recorded over three widely separated sessions in 1955, 1956, and 1959, and finally released by Atlantic Records in 1960.

By the early 1960s, Walker's career had slowed down, in spite of a much-hyped appearance at the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 with Memphis Slim, among others. A few critically acclaimed albums followed, such as I Want a Little Girl, and he won a Grammy in 1970 for Good Feelin' (Polydor).

T-Bone Walker died in 1975 at the age of 64. He was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

Discography

  • The Complete Imperial Recordings 1950-1954, Imperial/EMI, 1991, CDP-7-96737-2
  • T-Bone Blues, Atlantic, 1960, 8020de:T-Bone Walker
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