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
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.
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
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.