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T-Bone Walker
Birth name Aaron Thibeaux Walker
Born May 28, 1910(1910-05-28)
Linden, Texas, United States
Died March 16, 1975 (aged 64)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Blues, Texas blues, Jump blues
Occupations Singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist
Instruments Guitar, piano
Years active 1929 - 1975
Labels Columbia, Capitol, Black & White, Imperial, Atlantic, Polydor, Duke

T-Bone Walker (May 28, 1910 — March 16, 1975[1]) was an American blues guitarist, singer, pianist and songwriter who was one of the most important pioneers of the electric guitar. His electric guitar solos were among the first heard on modern blues recordings. He was ranked #47 in Rolling Stone magazine's Sept. 2003 list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Contents

Biography

Aaron Thibeaux Walker[2] was born in Linden, Texas[2] of African American and Cherokee descent. His parents, Rance Walker and Movelia Jimerson were both musicians.

In the early 1920s, the teenage Walker learned his craft amongst the street-strolling stringbands of Dallas.[3] His mother and stepfather both played, and family friend Blind Lemon Jefferson sometimes joined the family for dinner.[3] Walker was Jefferson's protégé and would guide him around town for his gigs.[2] In 1929, Walker made his recording debut with a single for Columbia, "Wichita Falls Blues"/"Trinity River Blues," billed as Oak Cliff T-Bone.[1] Pianist Douglas Fernell was his musical partner for the disc.[1] Walker married Vida Lee in 1935 and had three children with her. By the age of 26 he was working the clubs in Los Angeles' Central Avenue; sometimes as the featured singer and guitarist with Les Hite's orchestra.[3]

His distinctive sound developed in 1942 when Walker recorded "Mean Old World" for Capitol Records. Much of his output was recorded from 1946–1948 on Black & White Records, including 1947's "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)",[1] with its opening lyric, "They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad". He followed up with his "T-Bone Shuffle" and "Let Your Hair Down, Baby, Let's Have a Natural Ball".

Throughout his career Walker worked with the 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 hyped appearance at the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 with Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon, among others.[1] A few critically acclaimed albums followed, such as I Want a Little Girl. Walker recorded in his last years, 1968 - 1975, for Robin Hemingway's Jitney Jane Songs music publishing company, and he won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Good Feelin' (Polydor), produced by Hemingway.[2] Fly Walker Airlines (Polydor) also produced by Hemingway, was released in 1973.[4]

Persistent stomach woes and a 1974 stroke slowed Walker's career down to a crawl.[1] He died of bronchial pneumonia following another stroke in March 1975, at the age of 64.[1][5] Walker was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

Walker was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.[5]

Legacy

Chuck Berry named Walker and Louis Jordan as his main influences.[6] Walker was also the childhood hero of Jimi Hendrix, and Hendrix imitated some of Walker's ways throughout his life. Years before Hendrix, Walker was playing guitar with his teeth or in strange positions.[3] "Stormy Monday" was a favorite live number for The Allman Brothers Band.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography by Bill Dahl". Allmusic.com. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:apfwxqy5ldfe~T1. Retrieved June 4, 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c d Allaboutjazz.com - accessed June 2009
  3. ^ a b c d Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 58–59. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.  
  4. ^ Allmusic.com discography
  5. ^ a b Blues.about.com - accessed June 2009
  6. ^ There1.com - accessed June 2009

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