pioneers of the exhilarating new form of blues that, during the 1930s and 1940s, became
the precursor to rhythm & blues, included Louisiana’s Saunders King and Aaron T- Bone Walker
from Texas. By the early 1940s, both were working out of California.
King, back then, was billed as the King of the Blues Guitar, long before his
illustrious namesakes, Albert, B.B. and Freddie put in a claim. Saunders King’s
famous, ‘Saunders Blues’, a laid back tune recorded in San Francisco in 1942,
when King was 33, was a nationwide U.S. race hit years ahead of its time.
former blues shouter Big Joe Turner (he of rock & roll release #2 in 1938,
see BluesMuse 12) had a massive hit with Saunders King’s song in 1945, calling it, ‘S.K.
Blues’. Jimmy Witherspoon, too, covered the tune as S.K. Blues.
King’s daughter, Deborah, as a matter of musical trivia, went on to marry the
Mexican guitar great, Carlos Santana, in 1973. Santana has since said his
father-in-law inspired his own idol, B. B. King, the current King of the Blues
Guitar. B.B. King backs that up saying, “Saunders King was one of the greatest,
ever”. At the age of 70, Saunders King played guitar on Santana’s 1979 album,
Walker’s 1942 contribution will follow soon in BluesMuse 16.