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Album Review

This is the third volume in Classic Records' attempt to chronologically present the complete recorded works of Texas guitarist T-Bone Walker, this time concentrating on Walker's 1947 recordings for the Black & White and Comet labels, with his early 1950 work for Imperial Records tacked on at the end. The high level of creativity in play here isn't obvious on a cursory listen, since a lot of the tracks favor the same sort of mid-tempo blues shuffle, but a closer listen reveals a stunning guitarist who plays the blues with a jazzman's soul, and while Walker isn't a flashy singer, he gets the job done with enough conviction that you can feel the country dust settling in behind his urbane delivery. Check out the guitar and sax interplay on "The Time Seems So Long," or the big band boogie swing of "Strollin' With Bones" to catch a glimpse of the subtle range of this guitar player, who used the blues as a base, but refused to let it restrict him. Walker even strays into pop territory here, singing "I Want a Little Girl" with the assured ease of a crooner, only it still comes out all blue, and wonderfully so. Another highlight on this solid collection is "Plain Old Down Home Blues," which features odd percussion behind an inspired and interesting arrangement. This isn't an ideal introduction to Walker (mostly because his signature tunes, "Stormy Monday" and "Mean Old World," aren't here) but it makes a fine second purchase, and is a must for Walker fans and electric guitarists everywhere.


Born: 28 May 1910 in Linden, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Modern electric blues guitar can be traced directly back to this Texas-born pioneer, who began amplifying his sumptuous lead lines for public consumption circa 1940 and thus initiated a revolution so total that its tremors are still being felt today. Few major postwar blues guitarists come to mind that don't owe T-Bone Walker an unpayable debt of gratitude. B.B. King has long cited him as a primary influence, marveling at Walker's penchant for holding the body of his guitar outward while he played...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by T-Bone Walker