Rolling Stone - 11/14/914.5 Stars
- Excellent Plus - "...[For] guitar innovators, Walker wrote the book....catches Walker at his peak...These are timeless performances - there's not a mediocre track in the set..."
Down Beat - 2/92, p.485 Stars
- Excellent - "..a sampling of Walker's raw and expressive R&B steeped in traditional blues and flavored by swing..."
Living Blues - 1/92-2/92, p.50
"...eloquently indicates the monumental significance of T-Bone Walker's classic period..."
Personnel includes: T-Bone Walker (vocals, guitar); R.S. Rankin, Walter Nelson (guitar); Edward Hale, Wendell Duconge, Lee Gross (alto saxophone); Jim Wynn (tenor & baritone saxophones); Eddie Davis, Maxwell Davis, Lee Allen (tenor saxophone); Herb Hardesty (baritone saxophone); Eddie Hutcherson, Dave Bartholomew, John Lawton (trumpet); Zell Kindred, Marl Young, Willard McDaniel, T.J. Fowler (piano); Buddy Woodson, Billy Hadnott, Frank Fields, Henry Ivory (bass); Robert Sims, Oscar Lee Bradley, Cornelius Coleman, Clarence Stamp (drums).
Recorded in Los Angeles, California, New Orleans, Louisiana and Detroit, Michican between 1950 and 1954. Includes liner notes by Pete Welding.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: T-Bone Walker (vocals, guitar); Tiny Brown, Baby Davis (vocals); R.S. Rankin, Walter Nelson (guitar); Wendell DuConge, Edward Hale, Lee Gross (alto saxophone); Jim Wynn (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis , Eddie David, Lee Allen, Maxwell Davis (tenor saxophone); Herb Hardesty (baritone saxophone); Dave Bartholomew, Eddie Hutcherson, John Lawton (trumpet); Marl Young, Zell Kindred, T.J. Fowler, Willard McDaniel (piano); Clarence Stamp, Cornelius Coleman, Robert Sims, Oscar Lee Bradley (drums).
Liner Note Author: Pete Welding.
Recording information: Detroit, MI (04/05/1950-06/20/1954); Los Angeles, CA (04/05/1950-06/20/1954); New Orleans, LA (04/05/1950-06/20/1954).
An important (and often underrated) guitarist, T-Bone Walker was a direct influence on B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, and nearly everyone who played the electric guitar in his wake. A pioneer of the fleet, jazzy leads (complete with choppy, syncopated accents, "duck walk" single-note runs, and blazing embellishments) that would come to characterize rock and blues guitar thereafter, Walker's contribution is difficult to overestimate. THE COMPLETE IMPERIAL RECORDINGS is arguably the Walker set to buy since it contains--with the exception of his trailblazing sides for Black and White Records--the bulk of his most important material.
Whether on mid-tempo strollers ("Travelin' Blues"), boogie-woogie numbers ("The Hustle Is On"), smoldering slow blues ("Blues Is a Woman"), or jump blues ("Bye Bye Baby"), Walker and his band infuse traditional 12-bar structures with a keen sense of swing, instrumental interplay, and sophistication. At times, as on the energetic "Strollin' with Bone," the sheer vitality of Walker's performance is palpable, and is very close in feel to the rock & roll (especially where Walker's guitar playing is concerned) that would emerge in subsequent years. This dynamic set of early electric blues captures the music at one of its richest, most definitive turning points.