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Freddie Slack and T-Bone Walker Face a Mean Old World

While we love a rock star, it’s hard to deny how much we enjoy when two powerhouses meet and make musical magic. This week’s photo brings us one such pair that collaborated on plenty of occasions, some more momentous than others: T-Bone Walker and Freddie Slack.

After playing with several groups, including the Will Bradley Orchestra, Freddie Slack formed his own band in 1942 and signed with the newly formed Capitol Records. Slack also recorded as an accompanist for Big Joe Turner, Johnny Mercer, Margaret Whiting and Lisa Morrow, among others. His recording of “Cow Cow Boogie,” sung by the 17-year-old Ella Mae Morse,was the second record Capitol issued and the record label’s first gold single.

Perhaps the most well known of any of Slack’s collaborators and band mates was T-Bone Walker, who was a member of Slack’s band from 1942 to 1944. Walker, in turn, was a pioneer and an innovator in his own right who inspired the likes of Chuck Berry and B.B. King. But on his very first solo recording for Capitol Records, on July 20, 1942, it was Slack who accompanied him on piano, along with bassist Jud DeNaut, and drummer Dave Coleman.

And this wasn’t just any old record either…we’re talking about “Mean Old World.” This record, along with its B-side, are considered by many to be the first important blues recordings on the electric guitar. Walker then followed this success with dozens of other now-classic sides in the 1940s, but perhaps none as seminal as that very first one. 


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