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T-Bone Walker Biography

Aaron Thibeaux Walker or T-Bone Walker or Oak Cliff T-Bone (May 28, 1910 – March 16, 1975) was an American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter, who is believed to have been the first bluesman to use an amplified acoustic guitar.

The Beginning

Walker was born in Linden, Texas of African American and Cherokee descent. When he was a young man his family moved to a region of south Dallas known as Oak Cliff where he met and learned from Blind Lemon Jefferson, another blues musician. Walker's recording debut was "Wichita Falls Blues"/"Trinity River Blues", recorded for Columbia Records in 1929 under the name Oak Cliff T-Bone.

The Career

His distinctive sound didn't develop until 1942, when Walker recorded "Mean Old World" for Capitol Records. His electric guitar solos were among the first heard on modern blues recordings and set a standard that is still followed.
Much of Walker's output was recorded from 1946–48 on Black & White Records, including 1947's "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)", with its famous opening line, "They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad". He followed up with his "T-Bone Shuffle": "Let your hair down, baby, let's have a natural ball". Both are considered blues classics. B. B. King says "Stormy Monday" first inspired him to take up the guitar. The song is also a favorite live number for The Allman Brothers Band.

Throughout his career he worked with top quality musicians, including Teddy Buckner (trumpet), Lloyd Glenn (piano), Billy Hadnott (bass), and Jack McVea (tenor sax).

Following his work with Black & White, he recorded from 1950–54 for Imperial Records (backed by Dave Bartholomew). Walker's only record in the next five years was T-Bone Blues, recorded over three widely separated sessions in 1955, 1956, and 1959, and finally released by Atlantic Records in 1960.

From the 60's to his death

By the early 1960s, Walker's career had slowed down, in spite of a much-hyped appearance at the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 with Memphis Slim, among others. A few critically acclaimed albums followed, such as I Want a Little Girl, and he won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Good Feelin' (Polydor).

T-Bone Walker died of stroke in 1975 at the age of 64. He is interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.

Walker's influence extended beyond his music. Chuck Berry called Walker and Louis Jordan his main influences. T-Bone Walker was the childhood hero of Jimi Hendrix, and Hendrix imitated some of Walker's ways throughout his life.




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