I’m very upset. I think this is actually the first time I encounter this phenomenon. One of my all-time favorite CDs “T-Bone Walker: The Talkin’ Guitar” is not playing anymore. There is absolutely no visible sign of damage, the disc looks as good as new. Granted it has been in my possession for over 20 years. But I take good care of my stuff and it was protected by the cover an when not in use, carefully put away sitting on the shelf. Anyway, I just re-ordered it – it’s a no brainer, because it’s in my opinion the best T-Bone Walker compilation out there.
What I like about T-Bone Walkers guitar playing is the playfulness and how he effortlessly combines traditional blues patterns with a jazzy big-band sound. I am not a blues historian, just a simple fan. But for those of you who are not familiar with T-Bone Walker’s work, here is a quick synopsis outlining the highlights of his career as an exceptional guitarist and singer – please note, the following language is taken from the liner notes that come with the CD:
1910: The son of musicians, Aaron Thiebeaux Walker was born in Linden, Texas on May 28 and is soon shown to play the banjo.
1920: He works as a lead boy for Blind Lemon Jefferson along Central Avenue in Dallas and at the same time learn how to play the guitar which helps him to join Dr. Bleeding’s Medicine Show (1924) called “Big B. Tonic”. He makes his first professional appearance in Albany, Texas in Ida Cox’s backing group. On returning to Dallas, he is given a job with Lawson Brook’s band.
1929: He makes his first recording with Columbia Records and the following year, after winning first prize in the “Cab Calloway Amateur Show” in Dallas, he gets a in his band for a while.
1935: T-Bone settles in California, takes up the electric guitar and joins Les Hite’s band for about three years touring the Mid-West, New York and Chicago.
1940: He leaves Hite’s band and sets up his own band which he soon ends up performing everywhere, although special mention should go to the concerts he gives at the “Little Harlem Club” in Los Angeles and the “Rhumboogie” in Chicago.
1946/54: This is the most creative period which, as well as his great successes at the “Apollo Theatre” in Harlem (1948) and the “Rhythm & Blues Jubilee” in Los Angeles (1954) also sees the publication of some marvelous recordings like “Hypin’ Woman Blues”, “Lonesome Woman Blues”, “Vacation Blues”, “The Hustle”, “Glamour Girl”, “Strollin’ With Bones”, “Blue Mood”, “Travellin’ Blues”, “Say Pretty Baby” and “Call It Stormy Monday”.
1955: The outbreak of a stomach ulcer causes him to break up the band and interrupt his career, but not before making some interesting recordings in Chicago with Junior Wells.
1956/1960: After starting up his career again (only on a recording level to begin with) towards the end of the fifties, he even gets as far as Europe with the “American Folk Blues Festival” in 1962.
1963/1972: He continues his busy concert schedule until he’s forced to take a break after his appearance at the Montreux Festival 1972 due to problems with his lungs. He then reforms his own band and carries on touring the northern states, reaching as far as Canada.
1975: He dies of pneumonia in Los Angeles on March 16. T-Bone Walker is undoubtedly on of the fathers of modern blues, not only due to the fact that he introduced the electric guitar, but above all due to his guitar style which combines instrumental virtuosity with the lyricism which characterized his works, in other words a wonderful blending of the roots of Blind Lemon Jefferson and the band sound of the war period.
Here is the packed track-list of “T-Bone Walker: The Talkin’ Guitar”:
1. Bobby Sox Blues
2. Call It Stormy Monday
3. Lonesome Women Blues
4. Too Much Trouble Blues
5. Hypin’ Women Blues
6. Vacation Blues
7. So Blue Blues
8. Strollin’ With Bones
9. You Don’t Love Me
10. Travelin’ Blues
11. Evil Hearted Woman
12. Glamour Girl
13. The Hustle
14. Alimony Blues
15. Say! Pretty Baby
16. I’m About To Lose My Mind
17. Cold Cold Feeling
18. Blues Is A Woman
19. I Got The Blues
20. Blue Mood
21. Railroad Station Blues
22. Play On Little Girl
23. T-Bone Blues Special
24. Two Bones And A Pick
25. Mean Old World
As I mentioned earlier, the aptly named “T-Bone Walker; Talkin’ Guitar” CD is a must have in my opinion. Over 70 minutes of excellent blues guitar with a lot of swing feel and in depth lyrics, I mean seriously, what else do you need? You can conveniently purchase this CD via the GuitarIngenuity Guitar-Shop.