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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #35

  1. #1
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #35

    You may never have heard of Tom "T-Bone" Wolk (1951-2010), nicknamed after the blues guitarist T-Bone Walker, but you've almost certainly heard him. The multi-instrumentalist (bass guitar, guitar, mandolin, accordion) was born in Yonkers, New York, and became state accordion champion at twelve. After seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, he took up guitar, then spent much of his youth playing in bar bands. (Many biographical articles fail to tell us when a musician started on mandolin, unless it was his first instrument -- "we don't get no respect.") Wolk had worked as a studio and jingle musician, and had played on the first gold rap record, Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks,” before joining Hall & Oates as bass player in 1981. He led the Saturday Night Live house band from 1986-1992. Clearly a talented and multifaceted musician, Wolk recorded or toured with many musicians, including Daryl Hall, Carly Simon, Jellyfish, Squeeze, Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin, Billy Joel, Burt Bacharach, Ryan Leslie, Bernie Williams, and Guy Davis. As well, Wolk co-produced Willie Nelson's "Places I Have Never Been." T-Bone Wolk lived much of his life in Battleboro, Vermont. Sadly, he died of a heart attack at the age of 58. (Information from "Tom Wolk," Wikipedia.)

    Tom Wolk came to my attention with his impressive mandolin and accordion playing on Guy Davis' albums, "Butt Naked Free" (2000) and "Chocolate to the Bone" (2003). Davis himself plays mandolin, and often includes other mandolin players on his blues recordings (see Blues, Stomps, & Rags #23).

    Here's Wolk playing a sensitive mandolin accompaniment on a thoughtful song by Guy Davis. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Guy Davis: Let Me Stay A While".

    And here's the two with some raunchier blues. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Limetown Aka The Gal I Love Aka Going To Brownsville" (Davis just calls it "Limetown.")

    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2018

    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #35

    Thanks, Ranald, for another installment in this great thread! Michael

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