Subtitled The Definitive Collection, this three-disc compilation spans the years 1940-57 and covers Aaron Thibeaux Walker’s recordings for several labels and with numerous bands. The choice is made by blues authority Neil Slaven, so there’s little doubt that these 75 tracks – all now public domain – are the real deal.
Walker is the blues’ most inspirational early guitarist (only Charlie Christian can rival him in terms of influence), who adapted the improvisatory techniques of the jazzmen of the day and turned them blue. The phrases that resulted became the language blues guitarists had to learn. The original 40s versions of Mean Old World, Stormy Monday and T-Bone Shuffle on Disc One are followed by 50s re-readings on Disc Three, showing how much Walker himself developed.
But, in many ways, the story is what came next: Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman… A whole generation of (mostly white) artists took Walker’s baton and ran with it, creating a genre of new blues. Even Hendrix copped the playing guitar behind the head trick! At around a tenner for three discs, this is a must for all blues guitar fans.