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Blues Legends: T-Bone Walker

T-Bone Walker’s parents were both musicians. His father taught him how to play guitar, ukulele, banjo, violin, mandolin, and piano as a young boy in East Texas. Blind Lemon Jefferson was a family friend and came to visit the family for dinner, the 10-year boy who would become T-Bone played some Blues guitar for him, and Blind Lemon took him with him on the road. He began playing on the circuit at 15.

 

In 1929 he released his first record, "Wichita Falls Blues," and later at 25 was working the Clubs on Central Avenue, L.A. Many consider him the real father of Electric Guitar Blues and in 1947 he released his biggest hit record, "Stormy Monday Blues," a song that B.B. King said inspired him to pick up an electric guitar, and of course ("Stormy Monday, But Tuesday's just as bad") became a signature hit for Mr. King, a record I had the privilege of working back in the day.

 

As his career wore down in the 1960s, T-Bone was invited to play at the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 with the pianist Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon to great acclaim, but even with that exposure his record sales slowed down as there were a lot of new faces and styles on the scene. Yet he continued to record from 1968 until his death in 1975 at 64 of pneumonia attributed to two strokes.

 

T-Bone Walker, the young prodigy from the East Texas Piney Woods was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

 

Fun Fact: Chuck Berry said T-Bone was one of his main influences and Jimi Hendrix gave Walker credit for his trick of playing guitar with his teeth. Here is T-Bone Walker at the American Blues Festival in a beautifully restored B/W clip with HQ Sound playing and singing his song, DON'T THROW YOUR LOVE ON ME SO STRONG. This is greatness and more of the roots of Rock and Roll. @therealdonrocks

 

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