T-Bone Walker's legacy casts a giant shadow over modern blues. He exerted a major influence on many artists, including B.B. King, Pee Wee Crayton and Chuck Berry. T-Bone combined superlative guitar playing with a fine singing voice. Although the forties and fifties were his heyday, he never stopped touring. Bob Thiele, an experienced producer for abc/Impulse (jazz) and abc/Bluesway, recorded him in the late sixties (as he did with B.B. KIng, Earl Hooker, Charlie Brown, etc) producing two LPs "Stormy Monday Blues" (1967) and "Funky Town" (1969). On these recordings, he is perfectly backed by veteran virtuoso Lloyd Glenn - who originally accompanied Walker on his 1947 blues mega-hit Stormy Monday Blues - on keyboards and by three other excellent younger musical hotshots: Mel London (gtr), Ron Brown(bs) and Paul Humphrey (dms). As usual for T-Bone, a good horn section is featured as well. These are, actually, the last true jewels that T-Bone recorded before passing away in 1975. Here, he reprises some of his best known numbers but also proves able to modernize his blues, making it sound - indeed - funkier. He achieves this by using faster tempos and by giving a lot of room to his accompanists (particularly to Mel Brown's hard edged guitar sound). His voice, now huskier than before, perfectly complements the musical stew. This compilation provides an interesting contrast to his previous, smoother and more sophisticated sides. However, the latter qualities have not been thrown overboard. The jazzy tinge of his earlier work remains apparent but does not dominate as much as before. As could be expected, the sound quality on this Bob Thiele production is certainly way more dynamic than the one found on his early 78's from the forties and early fifties. An album to (re)discover without hesitation.
1 Going to funky town 2 Party girl 3 Why my baby ( keep on bothering me ) 4 Jealous woman 5 Going to build me a playhouse 6 Long skirt baby blues 7 Struggling blues 8 I'm in an awful mood 9 I wish my baby ( would come home at night )
Lloyd Glenn (kbs), Mel London (g), Ron Brown (b), Paul Humphrey (d), horn section (uncredited)
The attitude of the gallant Six Hundred which so aroused Lord Tennyson's admiration arose from the fact that the least disposition to ask the reason why was discouraged by tricing the would-be inquirer to the triangle and flogging him into insensibility.
Advance to Barbarism
(Mitre Press, 1968).
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