T-Bone Walker - the Most Underrated Guitar Player?

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by Benlostforyears, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Benlostforyears

    Benlostforyears Squier-Meister

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    I've always heard his name mentioned by the greats as a major influence, but I'm finally getting a chance to get listen to some of his music. As the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said " T-Bone Walker was the first to make a guitar wail, cry out and buckle under the weight of his emotion." He took the timing and runs normally reserved for horn players and applied them to the guitar. He inspired BB King to play electric guitar. Chuck Berry named him one his biggest influences, SRV, Clapton, etc.....heck I thought Hendrix was the first to play with his teeth and behind his head, but no that was T-Bone.

    He recorded "Stormy Monday" in 1947! A classic that still holds up well over 70 years later. It almost sounds like he could speed up and slow down time with those runs. When Rolling Stone released their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, he was only number 67! I'm disappointed in myself for not knowing more about him earlier, and I hope more people can recognize his genius because who knows where blues, rock and roll, and modern music would be without him.




    Here is his 1949 Gibson ES-5...a battleship of a guitar.
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  2. grizzlewulf

    grizzlewulf Squier-holic

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    Important PSA, thank you. Yes we need to recognize these early pioneers, especially the ones who pushed blues into early rock and roll. I've been listening to Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Lightning Hopkins lately...I should do more digging into T Bone, don't know enough about him
     
  3. Uncle Joe

    Uncle Joe Squier-holic

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    My love of BB King backtracked me to Walker, one of the most influential electric guitarists. Love his playing. It's so easy to listen to these masters nowadays. Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, YouTube. It's there for enjoying anytime. That was not always the case. I remember hunting for T-Bone Walker records though private bins at record shows in ratty old hotels. That was a good time.
     
  4. Benlostforyears

    Benlostforyears Squier-Meister

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    Absolutely we are so lucky to have the greatest music every made at our fingertips whenever we want. Gotta say I would love to get my hands on some of his vinyl though.
     
  5. driver8

    driver8 Squier-Meister

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    Hendrix was heavily influenced by T-Bone. Definitely one of the early greats.
     
  6. Shine

    Shine Squier-holic

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    Oh yeah, was the guy. Great post!
     
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  7. archetype

    archetype Squier-holic

    As a guitarist, he was an innovator and very influential for a lot of our guitar heros. As an entertainer, he was equally influential and showed our guitar heros the value of "the show."

    @Benlostforyears why do you think he could be the "most underrated guitar player?" Maybe you just started listening to him? He's not underrated by guitarists. :D
     
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  8. Uncle Joe

    Uncle Joe Squier-holic

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    Yeah, me too. I collected a lot of LPs over the years, but never did get a T-Bone LP. It wasn't for lack of trying. That's because a lot of the great ones were available only on 78, 45 or compilation LP. I settled for a compilation CD of T-Bone's when CD's first came out. At the time I thought that was the great bridge of the music availability/technology gap. I'm not much of a futurist, I guess. Being able to call out music and movies on a whim was just a dream for me. Now it's taken for granted. Not to be lost on everyone is the recent availability of great video on YouTube, like the cool vid you shared on the OP. That would've blown my hair back in 1975 when I was falling asleep with a transistor radio to my ear, listening to the best overnight "underground FM" NYC had to offer, just like my father had listened to ball games in the 1950's. It's not only the innovations, it's the speed at which they now come.

    I'm playing Stormy Monday on my Firefly 335 just now. That should shake off some of this information age overload.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  9. Benlostforyears

    Benlostforyears Squier-Meister

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    Yes he is well recognized and regarded by guitarists, but only really guitarists. Everyone knows Chuck Berry, the 3 Kings, Hendrix, etc. but he was just as influential if not moreso, and I know very few people outside of the guitar world who even know his name. Much less that he is basically the father of rock 'n roll.


    Just to give you an idea of how underappreciated he is, here is Rolling Stone's top 100 greatest guitarist list. He's #67...do you really think John Lennon, Joe Walsh, Neil Young, and the Edge are "greater" guitar players than him? And this list was voted on by an all-star group of guitar players too.

    https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/100-greatest-guitarists-153675/
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2021
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  10. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Dr. Squier ‎‎‎‎‏‏‎ ‎

    Jan 7, 2016
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    Those lists are click bait to get people arguing in the comments section and exposing themselves to ads.
     
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  11. Benlostforyears

    Benlostforyears Squier-Meister

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    Often yes, but look at the list of voters. It includes Steve Cropper, Derek Trucks, Robbie Robertson, Dan Auerbach, Ritchie Blackmore, Gary Clarke Jr., Kirk Hammett, Warren Haynes, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Tom Morello, Eddie Van Halen, etc. Not exactly clueless bloggers.
     
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  12. Davis Sharp

    Davis Sharp Dr. Squier ‎‎‎‎‏‏‎ ‎

    Jan 7, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    No, they are not clueless, but the voting process isn't transparent. I really don't think they asked all those players to spend the time to rank a list of 100 (including some of the rankers), do you?

    You've singled out T-Bone Walker as being underrated. But you have to look at all the rankings and what follows is my opinion on the ridiculousness of the list.

    Lindsey Buckingham, Mike Campbell, and Andy Summers are in the bottom 25%. Joni Mitchell ranks above them.
    Slash, Dickie Betts, and Joe Walsh are in the next-to-last quartile. Link Wray, The Edge, and Johnny Ramone rank above them.
    Chet Atkins is lower than Neil Young (are you ****ing kidding me?!)
    Glen Campbell is not on the list (again, are you ****ing kidding me?!).
    No Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass (say it with me, are you ****ing kidding me?!).

    Looking at it that way, the list is full of "underrated" players. IMHO, that means the rankings are garbage. And, click bait.
     
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  13. Benlostforyears

    Benlostforyears Squier-Meister

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    You're right it's a trash list overall. My point is this: many of this guy's contemporaries, even those who directly copied the playing style he created, are household names. But you would be lucky to find 1 out of 10 average people who know who he is. Many think "Stormy Monday" is an SRV song and Elvis is the "king of rock 'n roll". These original pioneers are getting lost to the masses bc other people get credit for the work they did for reasons I won't get into.
     
  14. ScoobySnacker

    ScoobySnacker Squier-holic

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    Probably more people associate "Stormy Monday" with the Allman Brothers.


    And before he went into the Army, Elvis WAS the King.
     
  15. archetype

    archetype Squier-holic

    You and I are on the same page about T-Bone Walker. I'd certainly say that T-Bone is underappreciated, but not underrated. His skills are well-known by those who can hear and parse out his skills. I just don't care about who "gets" him outside of our little guitar world: pioneers are always discarded as the public focuses on new things (that actually originated with the pioneers).

    The RS lists are BS, IMO. They are pop culture attempts at content that readers will pay attention to. No matter who is contributing to the choices, it's obvious there are no guitar-playing statisticians designing and administering the process. I see all RS lists as invalid.
     
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