West Coast Blues

Home to a lot of swing and jump blues bands, California electric blues was very tied to these genres and their influences. Its greatest practitioner was T-Bone Walker, who emigrated to California from Texas. This type of blues, emphasizing lead guitar solos, had little influence on the Stones (like B. B. King in a way, who was very influenced by Walker), but Brian was heavily into it when Mick and Keith met him.

T-BONE WALKER (1910-1975)

Born in Texas, guitarist and singer T-Bone Walker was the first to electrify his instrument and adopted a heroic lead guitar style that would trace the path for the "guitar hero" (B.B. King was heavily influenced by him, and through him Clapton and the other guitar greats). Born in Texas, he moved to California in the '30s where he upstaged the bands he played in by going into proto-Hendrix acrobatic stunts: playing behind his back, etc. He played at times with extreme power and at other times with a graceful, melodic skill that owed a lot to the influence of jazz. He wrote classic material throughout the 1940s and '50s, including Stormy Monday. He died following a stroke.

When the Stones met Brian, he was into Elmore James and other Chicago greats, but not with the same breadth as Mick and Keith were. Brian, previously a jazz fanatic, was also into T-Bone Walker.

We started to turn Brian on to some Jimmy Reed things, Chicago blues that he hadn't heard. He was more into T-Bone Walker and jazz blues stuff. We'd turn him on to Chuck Berry and say, Look, it's all the same shit, man, and you can do it.

                                                 - Keith Richards, 1971

Written by Ian McPherson, 2000.
Like all files on Time Is On Our Side, it is the exclusive intellectual property
of Ian McPherson and cannot be duplicated, in any form, without his authorization.

Back to Search by Music Genre Menu

Back to Main Page