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UPDATED: October 5, 2021.
|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.