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Published on Jul 20, 2008
„Mean Old World" (A. Walker)
Recorded: Hollywood, July 20, 1942 T-Bone Walker (vcl) (g) Frediie Slack (p), Jud De Naut (b), Dave Coleman (d)
Walker was born on May 26, 1910 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 did not 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. [Some music historians cite Ernest Tubb's 1940 honky tonk classic, "Walking the Floor over You" as the first "hit" recording to feature and highlight a solo by a standard electric guitar--though earlier hits featured electric lap steel guitars. The blues master Lonnie Johnson had also recorded at least once on electric guitar, but his innovation was neither much noted nor influential.]
Much of Walker's output was recorded from 1946--1948 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" and "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 was also a favorite live number for The Allman Brothers Band.
Throughout his career Walker worked with the 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.
By the early 1960s, Walker's career had slowed down, in spite of a hyped appearance at the American Folk Blues Festival in 1962 with Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon, among others. A few critically acclaimed albums followed, such as „I Want a Little Girl". Walker recorded in his last years, 1968 - 1975, for Robin Hemingway's Jitney Jane Songs music publishing company, and he won a Grammy Award in 1971 for Good Feelin' (Polydor), produced by Robin Hemingway. "Fly Walker Airlines", Polydor, also produced by Hemingway, was released in 1973.
T-Bone Walker died of pneumonia on March 15, 1975, at the age of 64. He is interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.