A founding father of electric blues in general and Texas blues in particular, guitarist T-Bone Walker influenced countless blues players and, by extension, countless rock & rollers as well. The Complete Imperial Recordings date from the early to mid-1950s, when the idea of electric blues was really taking hold, and the two-disc set is a wealth of classic songs exquisitely performed. While definitely blues, there's more difference between this and the acoustic blues that predated Walker than amplification can account for; there's jazz and swing mixed in as well, as on tracks like "I Walked Away" and "Strollin' with Bone," and something of that feel has remained in electric blues ever since. From B.B. King to Buddy Guy to Stevie Ray Vaughan and beyond, Walker's influence is felt in the blues up through the present day.
Aaron Thibeaux "T-Bone" Walker was a critically acclaimed American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who was an influential pioneer and innovator of the jump blues and electric blues sound. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 67 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
Recorded in Paris during November 1968, Good Feelin' was the album that rekindled public interest in the life and music of Aaron "T-Bone" Walker throughout Europe and even in some portions of the United States of America. The album begins and closes with informal narration spoken by Walker while accompanying himself on the piano…
This contains straight-up reissues of two of T-Bone's Imperial albums, themselves merely collections of the original 78s. Everything on these 24 sides was recorded between 1950 and 1954 – not as trailblazing a period as the one from 1946 to 1947 on Black and White, but still prime T-Bone by any yardstick. The majority of these sides were cut in Los Angeles, with the exception of the New Orleans-recorded "I'm Still in Love With You" and the Windy City cut of "Bye Bye Baby." Loads of great T-Bone guitar and a cool West Coast sound to most everything on here make this an important addition to anyone's blues collection.
Duke Robillard pays homage to T-Bone Walker with this collection of swing, big band and blues songs. The bubbly and bouncy "Lonesome Woman Blues" has a be-bop Count Basie feeling as his supporting players are given brief solos to shine, particularly the horn section. There is far more substance and style to this approach than a rehashed run-through à la Brian Setzer. This fluidity continues, albeit a bit slower in tempo with the swinging "T-Bone Shuffle" which carries the same head-bobbing groove. Here the horns lead the way but Robillard makes his presence felt on guitar near the homestretch, and throughout the stellar "Pony Tail." The barroom blues and drum brushes on "Love Is a Gamble" takes things down to a creepy crawl, bringing to mind Dr. John or Delbert McClinton. An early favorite has to be the rousing and toe-tapping "Alimony Blues," an indication that Robillard wants to pay tribute in the right way by nailing each song beautifully.
The last truly indispensable disc of the great guitar hero's career, and perhaps the most innately satisfying of all, these mid-'50s recordings boast magnificent presence, with T-Bone Walker's axe so crisp and clear it seems as though he's sitting right next to you as he delivers a luxurious remake of "Call It Stormy Monday." Atlantic took some chances with Walker, dispatching him to Chicago for a 1955 date with Junior Wells and Jimmy Rogers that produced "Why Not" and "Papa Ain't Salty." Even better were the 1956-1957 L.A. dates that produced the scalding instrumental "Two Bones and a Pick" (which finds Walker dueling it out with nephew R.S. Rankin and jazzman Barney Kessel).