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T-Bone Walker (born 28th May)

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 10:34 am
by Chris P
T-Bone Walker w/ Jazz At The Philharmonic - Live in UK 1966

Re: T-Bone Walker (born 28th May)

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 12:22 pm
by NormanD
Blimey. No messing around here. What a great guitar intro - and what a great lineup behind him.

Re: T-Bone Walker (born 28th May)

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 1:40 pm
by Alan Balfour
This has prompted me to unearth an ancient review of a T-Bone booklet from December 1985. This was two years before the publication of the Helen Oakley Dance biography - see at foot of review.

T-BONE WALKER Low Down Blues Original Black & White Recordings
Charly CD7

1. BW411/4374 DON'T LEAVE ME BABY (Les Baxter-T-Bone Walker) Copyright Control
2. BW413/4372 I'M GONNA FIND MY BABY (John L. Crainer - T-Bone Walker) Copyright Control
3. BW505/4376 IT'S A LOW DOWN DIRTY DEAL (John L Crainer - T-Bone Walker) Copyright Control
4. BW635/43781 KNOW YOUR WIG HAS GONE (WalkerGeorge) T-Bone Walker Music
5. BW636/4383 T-BONE JUMPS AGAIN (Reed) Paul Reiner MUSIC
6. BW637/4379 CALL IT STORMY MONDAY (Walker) Gregmark MUSIC
7. BW643/4397 SHE'S MY OLD TIME USED TO BE (Payton)
8. BW645/4387 MIDNIGHT BLUES (unknown) Copyright Control
9. BW648/4380 LONG SKIRT BABY BLUES (Unknown) Copyright Control
10. BW650/4401 TOO MUCH TROUBLE BLUES (Unknown) Copyright Control
11. BW652/4402 HYPIN' WOMEN BLUES (Unknown) Copyright Control
12. BW655/4402 THE NATURAL BLUES (Paul Reiner) Copyright Control
13. BW656/4385 THAT'S BETTER FOR ME (Paul Reiner) Copyright Control
14. BW658/4389 LONESOME WOMAN BLUES (Paul Re(ner) Copyright Control
15. BW660/4391 INSPIRATION BLUES (Paul Reiner) Copyright Control
16. BW662/4395 T-BONE SHUFFLE (Walker) Carlin Music Corp
17. BW675/4393 THAT OLD FEELING IS GONE (Harold F. Oxley) Copyright Control
18. BW681/4412 I WISH YOU WERE MINE (Williams) Paul Reiner Music
19. BW683/4414 SHE'S THE NO SLEEPIN'EST WOMAN (Paul Reiner) Copyright Control
20. BW684/4386 PLAIN OLD DOWNHOME BLUES (Unknown) Copyright Control
21- BW686/4416 GO BACK TO THE ONE YOU LOVE (Booker
22. BW697/4417 YOU'RE MY BEST POKER HAND (BurghardtJnr.) Paul Reiner Music

"I can still hear T-Bone in my mind today, from that first record I heard, Stormy Monday. He was the first electric guitar player I heard on record . . . He made me so that I knew I just had to go out and get an electric guitar."

Thus spoke B.B. King of the influence of T-Bone Walker. In fact talk to any postwar blues guitarist especially those from the west coast, and you will hear much the same story. A whole generation of aspiring blues artists from Texas, California, Oklahoma and even as far afield as Memphis and Chicago took up electric guitar after listening to T-Bone Walker records. Through their recordings, Walker's innovative style of playing still lives in the blues of today.

Of Cherokee Indian descent, Aaron Thibeaux Walker was a second generation bluesman who was born in Linden, Cass County, Texas on May 28th 1910. Until his death in 1975 he was one of the few bluesmen whose life had truly spanned the recorded and documented history of the blues.

"When I was a kid growing up in Dallas I met the great Blind Lemon Jefferson", Walker reminisced of his childhood. "He played the guitar while my uncle he played the mandolin and my father played the bass. A sort of big family band, you know." From such beginnings the young 'T-Bou' (Thibeaux phonetically) began the rounds of the travelling medicine and minstrel shows, black corking his face to sing vaudeville songs like Coming Round The Mountain or to tell jokes, all as a prelude to selling the medicine which would earn him $15 a week. A photograph taken in 1925 shows a fifteen year old T-Bone Walker outside a medicine show tent on whose canvas the name 'Breeden Medicine Show' is clearly discernible and it was apparently one of T-Bone's tasks to sell the improbably named elixir' Dr Breeden's Big B Medicine'. By the mid twenties he was playing the banjo in Ma Rainey's carnival shows and singer Ida Cox remembers T-Bone as a 'teener' joining her travelling troupe as a banjo player some time in the late twenties.

In November and December 1929 Columbia talent scouts were in Dallas with a field recording unit seeking out new blues singers for their 1400 race series. On December 5th 1929 the unit recorded Whistlin' Alex Moore, Coley Jones, The Dallas String Band and Texas Bill Day as well as two titles by a very mature sounding nineteen year old called Oak CliffT-Bone. The nom-de-disque was derived from the Negro ghetto quarter of Dallas which was called Oak Cliff and which Blind Lemon Jefferson immortalised in his Booger Rooger Blues of 1926. In the best Blind Lemon tradition Oak Cliff T-Bone hollered his way through Trinity River Blues and Wichita Falls Blues, the final line of which, in hindsight, had a certain note of irony given that it was to be almost another ten years before he was to record again: "If anybody should happen to ask you baby, who composed this song, tell 'em sweet papa T-Bone, he been here and gone".

During the following decade he gradually moved in the direction of sophistication and big band jazz rather than building a career as an earthy, rural bluesman. It is interesting to speculate what degree of success, or otherwise, T-Bone would have had if he had chosen to follow in the footsteps of his great contemporaries and remained a rural race artist. However, he didn't, and in the thirties he began working dance dates throughout Texas with the bands of Count Biloski and Milt Larkins. In 1934 he moved to the west coast teaming up with the orchestra of saxophonist Les Hite with whom he played all the big venues in New York, like the Apollo Theatre and the Golden Gate Ballroom, there developing his now famous stage techniques of duck walking, playing the guitar behind his head while doing the splits (no easy accomplishment) and even on occasion picking the guitar strings with his teeth. Showmanship that thirty or more years later was to be adopted by Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrlx.

It was with Hite's Orchestra that he next recorded in 1940 for the Varsity label as their featured guitarist as well as vocalising on his own T-Bone Blues, the arrangement of which has since been pinpointed by commentators as the first steps to the future sound of black, post-war rhythm and blues.

In 1942 Walker became associated with the white pianist Freddie Slack who, at the time, had in his fifteen piece band the former King Oliver clarinettist Leon "Barney" Bigard. Together with vocalists Ella Mae Morse and Johnny Mercer, on 20th July that year they went into the studios of Capitol Records and recorded six numbers. For two of those the horn section stepped down and with just the rhythm section for accompaniment, T-Bone cut what was to be his first big success, I Got A Break Baby c/w Mean Old World. Two years later he was back in the Capitol studio with the Slack Orchestra but his one vocal offering of the session, Sit and Sip, failed to be chosen for release. His association with Slack had led to a residency in a black, southside Chicago night club called 'Rumboogie' a booking which lasted, on and off, until the club's closure in 1945. The club's owner, Charlie Glenn diverted his energies into an enterprise called Rumboogie Records and its first releases were by, not unnaturally, T-Bone Walker backed by the Marl Young Orchestra. In an advertisement in the trade paper Billboard on November 10th 1945 Glenn proudly boasted that Walker's first release for him had "already sold 50,000 copies". Later that year, again with the Young band, he recorded once more for Rumboogie but the four songs were not issued on 78 until following the demise of Rumboogie, they were acquired by Mercury, who in turn leased the sides to another Chicago based label, Old Swingmaster.

In October 1946 T-Bone Walker left the Windy City and returned to the west coat. The twenty-two tracks presented here were recorded in Los Angeles for Paul and Lillian Reiner's Black & White Records in the period between late 1946 and early 1948. These sides are very much the logical extension to his work with the Hite Orchestra and are arguably the best and most influential recordings of his entire career.

The secret of his success with Black & White probably lay in the pedigree and supreme artistry of the jazz musicians chosen to accompany him, and their ability to play in a blues setting. Artists such as tenor player Jack McVea, or one-time Basie trumpeter Al Killian (who was murdered by his psychopathic landlord in 1947) and Jimmy Lunceford's ex-tenor man, Hubert 'Bumps' Myers, all complement Walker's smooth yet insistent vocals and technically superb, if on occasion flamboyant guitar phrases. These recordings are easy listening of the best sort, running the whole gamut of popular black sounds of the forties - blues (Call It Stormy Monday), shuffles (T-Bone Shuffle), jumps (T-Bone Jumps Again), jives (Hypin' Woman), even Latin American (Plain Old Down Home Blues) - all delivered with stylish aplomb and musical brilliance.

The music of T-Bone Walker is, like that of his great contemporary Louis Jordan, timeless, because its appeal is universal whether the listener's taste in music be jazz big-band, blues, rhythm and blues or ballad. What makes the music on this CD transcend the time barrier so perfectly? Perhaps it is because the music is borne of experience and feeling or more simply in the words of the man himself, "The songs have stories behind them and the stories are of some person or somebody who have lived that life of it." Who are we to argue with that? Alan Balfour/CD booklet December 1985

PS Recommended: The T-Bone Walker Story by Helen Oakley Dance
Louisiana State UP 1987. Also include 20 page TBW discography.

Re: T-Bone Walker (born 28th May)

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 2:05 pm
by Adam Blake
NormanD wrote:Blimey. No messing around here. What a great guitar intro

The word "guv'ner" springs to mind.