They Call it Stormy Monday

It is claimed that T-Bone Walker was the first blues musician ever recorded playing the electric guitar. I first saw him in a video of he and other American blues musicians on tour in Europe back in the 60s. Instead of holding his instrument in typical fashion he held it semi-perpendicular to his body about half-way between a guitar player and a Dobro player. Seemed so uncomfortable and unnatural but for him it worked. And since he was a major influence on later players, such as B.B. King, he must have been doing something right.

For the average blues fan T-Bone Walker is best remembered as the man who wrote and performed what may be my all-time favorite blues number, Stormy Monday. Just about every blues musician has covered Stormy Monday and I can’t begin to remember who I think did it best. Most recently, though, I was listening to Bluesville on XM radio and heard the Allman Brothers Band’s version from the 1970s. Since I haven’t heard anything more recent I’m going with them. Here’s a YouTube video of a live Allman Brothers performance that included Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. It will move the molecules of your soul.

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Ed Schmidt
Ed Schmidt

Now you’re hittin’ close to the bone. Back when I first started playing, say around 1961-2, I hooked up with Dave Bussard and we did a guitar/bass thing. One of the first tunes we figured out was “Stormy Monday”, but we could only play it in the key of E. Of course I end up doing it to this day at the Blues Jam that I play, but it isn’t as much of a standard as it could be. Basically, the player who runs the jam calls the shots, since he (hasn’t been a “she” yet) has to sing the… Read more »