The History of the Albums - n° 125
Even if it's not in my opinion in the top 10 of the best bluesman in history in terms of "content", T-Bone Walker is probably one of the most influential singer/guitarist of all time. Not only is he one of the first to incorporate the electric guitar, which will give the Electric Blues style and obviously many other things, knowing that today I would say that 70% of the music includes it, he is also one of the first artists to develop the Jump Blues style. Jump Blues is a very dynamic Blues style, which also draws some bases from boogie-woogie and swing, which will become the ancestor of R&B from the 40's then Rock n Roll in the 50's. We might as well tell you, directly or indirectly, the huge influence he could have had, like a true pioneer. For example, he influenced the whole blues scene, like Muddy Waters, B.B. King or even later other legends like Jimmy Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Not only is he recognized as one of the best guitarist, but he is also a very good songwriter who offers us many Blues standards like Call It Stromy Monday.
Born in Texas in 1910, T-Bone Walker grew up in music since her parents were musicians. As a child, he learned to play all kinds of string instruments. By the age of 15, he had already dropped out of school and launched his career by performing. At the age of 19, he recorded his first 10" Wichita Falls Blues / Trinity River Blues at Columbia. However, he had to wait 11 years to see another recording, preferring and more importantly much more commercially advantageous to perform in clubs or bars, which he did throughout the 30s. During the 30's, he starts playing with the orchestra of Les Hite, with whom he will go to record and release in 1940 T-Bone Blues / It Must Have Been A Dream, a cult song, now considered as standards, showing already the advance and the style of playing he had. It was in fact the 40's that would be the most important, because although he would still continue to perform in clubs, he would mostly record most of his best songs during this decade, notably Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad) in 1947 and he even managed to get a few songs on the Billboard at the very end of the 40's.
Afterwards it will be a bit quieter for T-Bone Walker. Moreover there are many Bluesman who starts to emerge like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed then B.B King making him some shadows. However at the dawn of the Blues Revival, in the second part of the 50s, Atlantic Records offers him a contract, which was in fact an excellent idea, cleverly preparing the return of the Blues on the commercial level. By the way, when analyzing T-Bone's discography, T-Bone Blues is the only album that will be released by Atlantic, showing the only goal that the label had set itself, that is to say, to take advantage of the Blues Revival to sell. It doesn't matter after all, for us it's only happiness. T-Bone Blues is actually a compilation of recordings made between 1955 and 1957, most of which are songs and old hits re-recorded for the occasion, as well as some new and last singles released during the Atlantic period. Clearly, on T-Bone Blues you have almost everything you need to remember about T-Bone Walker. The re-recordings give the advantage that it sounds less better and the whole is in tune with the "new stuff" which gives the sound coherence of the production. Moreover the latest "novelties" are excellent enough to cope with cult songs and bring a more modern touch. Honestly it's great, already the vocals, the writing and the guitar playing are unheard of, T-Bones Walker is backed up by an orchestra that adds the perfect finishing touches, especially the brass and piano. Finally, T-Bone Blues is a truly revitalizing jump blues album, which exudes an overflowing energy that never gets exhausted as you listen to it, on the contrary, it just keeps getting more intense.
If you want to know more about the Blues Revival here is a list of albums I have reviewed:
> 1956 : B.B. King - Singin' The Blues
> 1959 : Jimmy Reed – I'm Jimmy Reed
> 1959 : Howlin' Wolf - Moanin' in the Moonlight
> 1959 : John Lee Hooker – I'm John Lee Hooker
> 1959 : Sonny Boy Williamson II - Down and Out Blues