The wartime electric blues of T-Bone Walker

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John García (@JohnGarciiia. July 2, 2013.

 BluesMuse 16.
A young T-Bone, in his prime
Just to show that Chicago wasn’t the only place people were
producing breakthrough electric blues in the early 1940s, in Los Angeles, in 1942, 32-year-old T-Bone Walker was doing his stuff. Yet another bluesman
of Cherokee-Indian and African-American descent, Aaron Thibeaux ‘T-Bone’
Walker, according to many sources, was one of the most influential pioneers of
jump and electric blues there has ever been. Born in 1910 in Linden, Texas, where
ragtime piano icon Scott Joplin also came into this world, T-Bone’s parents were both
musicians and the young T-Bone grew up with family-friends like Blind Lemon
Jefferson dropping in for a meal.
   The author, Johnny Harper, claims T-Bone
Walker’s 1942 LA sessions are the most important blues recordings ever made on
the electric guitar. While a subjective and debatable point, Walker’s
recordings are nevertheless classic examples of wartime electric blues in its
purest modern form. T-Bone Walker classics such as, ‘Bobby Sox Blues’, in 1946
practically created an electric blues template that many British blues
bands would follow some 20 years later. In 1947, Walker enjoyed probably his
most famous hit, ‘Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad’); and
through the 1940s and into the 1950s continued to release innovative electric
blues records. 
Regarding my first rock & roll releases compilation, T-Bone (his nickname came from the mispronunciation of his middle name, Thibeaux) played his innovative blues too hardcore to be classified as rock & roll, which unfortunately means I can’t put it on my earliest releases list.


  1. Most blues fans are familiar with Muddy Waters and the second Chicago blues movement of the 1950s. I wanted to know about the blues that happened before then and how blues actually evolved. My book, How Blues Evolved, an illustrated history, will be out soon.

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