T-bone walker

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T-Bone Walker, 1972

T-Bone Walker , actually Aaron Thibeaux Walker (born May 28, 1910 in Linden , Texas , † March 16, 1975 in Los Angeles , California ), was an American blues guitarist , singer and songwriter - He is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of the 20th century Century and pioneer of the electric guitar and Chicago blues . He had African American and Cherokee ancestry.


Walker grew up in Dallas , where he learned to play the banjo , fiddle and guitar as a child . Based on his middle name Thibeaux, he soon received the nickname "T-Bone". In Dallas he met the blind guitarist Blind Lemon Jefferson , with whom he walked the streets of Dallas as a kind of guide for the blind and collected the money at his performances. Influenced by him, Walker performed as a blues singer and dancer himself at the age of 15 and learned at an early age to fascinate the audience with spectacular live performances (such as playing the banjo while jumping and dancing). In 1929, Walker recorded his first record, Wichita Falls Blues / Trinity River Blues ( Columbia Records ), but not under his own name, but as "Oak Cliff T-bone". He played in the mid-1930s territory band of Chester Boone and met in Oklahoma City on Charlie Christian .

Walker came to Los Angeles in 1936 , where he began his California career as a dancer. In 1939 he was hired as a singer by Les Hite for the band "Les Hite Cotton Club Orchestra". From then on he concentrated more and more on the guitar. So he used them more and more often for his singing until he was finally more in demand as a guitarist than as a singer. He impressed with his seemingly artistic stage interludes, where he played the guitar on his knees and behind his back.

In 1942, Walker had meanwhile moved to Chicago because of better earning opportunities, he recorded his first solo records with the newly founded Capitol label. He released I Got a Break Baby / Mean Old World , transferring popular music and blues to his now electrically amplified jazz guitar, thus triggering a revolution in the blues game .

T-Bone Walker - Call it Stormy Monday

T-Bone Walker's production Call it Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad) for the Black & White label (# 122), which was made in Los Angeles on September 13, 1947 with producer Ralph Bass , is legendary . Aaron "T-Bone" Walker (vocals / guitar), John "Teddy" Buckner (trumpet), Bumps Myers (tenor saxophone), Lloyd Glenn (piano), Arthur Edwards (bass) and Oscar Lee Bradley (drums) took part in the recording. With. The title reached fifth place on the R&B charts and is considered not only one of the most influential songs in music history, but also the history of the guitar. Other classics followed, such as the T-Bone Shuffle .

Despite his success, Walker could not reach the teenage audience at that time, unlike Chuck Berry or Fats Domino, for example . He played mostly in nightclubs until he collapsed from stomach problems in 1955 and had to undergo an operation.

In the 1960s, Walker became internationally known when he was hired in 1962 for the American Folk Blues Festivals organized by Horst Lippmann in Europe and performed with Memphis Slim , among others ; however, his health was holding him back.

Musicians such as Teddy Buckner ( trumpet ), Lloyd Glenn ( piano ), Billy Hadnott ( bass ) and Jack McVea ( saxophone ) have accompanied him in his career .

In 1971 Walker received a Grammy for the record Good Feelin ' ( Polygram Records 1969). He played with Big Mama Thornton at the American Folk Blues Festival in 1972 . These concerts should be the last appearance of the two in Europe. In 1973 Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller produced a late homage to the great blues singer and guitarist Walker ("very rare", 2 LPs, Reprise Records) with him and musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie , Gerry Mulligan , Herbie Mann and David "Fathhead" Newman . It was there that T-Bone Walker also shared that his mother was a Cherokee and how he got his nickname.


T-Bone Walker died of a stroke in 1975. He was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood near Los Angeles. In 1980 he was inducted posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame .

Later guitarists, including Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix , took over descending ninth chord lines and other parts of his spectacular performances from Walker. Playing in artistic postures (on the knees, instrument behind the head, etc.) is attributed to Walker's influence.

The Rolling Stone posthumously listed Walker 67th of the 100 best guitarists of all time . In a list from 2003 he was ranked 47th.

Discography (selection)

  • 1953 Classics in Jazz
  • 1959 Sings the Blues
  • 1959 T-Bone Blues (Atlantic / WEA)
  • 1960 Singing the Blues (Imperial)
  • 1961 I Get So Weary (Vivid Sound)
  • 1963 Great Blues Vocals and Guitar (Capitol Records)
  • 1967 Stormy Monday Blues (Wet Soul)
  • 1967 The Legendary T-Bone Walker (Brunswick)
  • 1968 Blue Rocks (Charly Records)
  • 1968 I Want a Little Girl (Delmark)
  • 1968 Stormy Monday Blues (Stateside Distribution)
  • 1968 The Truth (Brunswick)
  • 1969 Bosses of the Blues, Vol. 1 (T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, RCA)
  • 1969 Feelin 'the Blues (Black & Blue)
  • 1969 Funky Town (BGO)
  • 1969 Good Feelin ' (Polygram)
  • 1970 Everyday I Have the Blues (Blues Time)
  • 1973 Dirty Mistreater (MCA Records)
  • 1973 Fly Walker Airlines (Polydor)
  • 1973 Well-Done (Collectables Records)
  • 1974 Very Rare (Wounded Bird)
  • 1975 Original 1945-50 Performances (EMI Music Distribution)
  • 1981 Jumps Again (Charly)
  • 1983 Natural Blues (Charly)
  • 1986 Low Down Blues (Charly)
  • 1990 Complete Recordings of T-Bone Walker 1940-1954 (Mosaic)
  • 1990 Hustle Is On Blue (Label)
  • 1991 Complete 1950-1954 Recording (Definitive)
  • 1991 Complete Imperial Recordings: 1950-1954 (Blue Moon)
  • 1995 Inventor of the Electric Guitar Blues (Blues Boy)
  • 1995 Cold Cold Feeling (CEMA Special Markets)
  • 1995 Complete Capitol / Black & White Recordings (EMI Music Distribution)
  • 1996 Blues Collective (Laserlight)
  • 1998 T-Bone Shuffle (Wesgram)
  • 1999 I Get So Weary (Vivid Sound)
  • 2003 Back on the Scene: Texas, 1966 (Castle / Sanctuary)
  • 2005 The Original Source (Proper Records)
  • 2006 Complete Imperial Recordings (Capitol)
  • 2008 40 Prime Cuts (Proper Sales & Dist.)
  • 2008 Trailblazing The Blues (Blues Boulevard)
  • 2009 Midnight Blues (Charly)


Web links


  • Stormy Monday: The T-Bone Walker Story , Helen Oakley Dance, Louisiana State UP 1987 (English)

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Guitarplayer.com: T-Bone Walker August 1995 .
  2. ^ Hannes Fricke: Myth guitar: history, interpreters, great hours. Reclam, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 978-3-15-020279-1 , p. 37.
  3. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 18, 2015, accessed August 8, 2017 .
  4. 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time - David Fricke's Picks. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 8, 2017 .