Best Of Dallas

10 Most Influential Texas Blues Guitarists

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T-Bone Walker, the Oak Cliff T-Bone Aaron "T-Bone" Walker was a pioneer of jump blues (up-tempo blues) and electric blues. He learned his craft playing with street-strolling string bands in Dallas, and later perfected it when he left school at 10 years old eventually to become Blind Lemon Jefferson's protégé. His style of playing included using his teeth, a technique Jimi Hendrix would later perfect with the help of Jack Daniels. Walker influenced everyone from Steve Miller to Stevie Ray Vaughan. His weapon of choice was a Gibson ES-250 plugged into a Fender tweed 4x10 Bassman.

Lightnin' Hopkins, The Texas Storm Texas country bluesman Sam Hopkins' mournful Lone Star sound still haunts the back roads of East Texas. He could make a guitar cry and ladies swoon with his electrified boogie riffs. Although his style was once considered too rustic, too old fashioned, his fingers slid down the neck as if he were a painter creating a masterpiece. The New York Times once said he was "perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players." Not bad for a man who built his fist guitar by cutting a hole in a cigar box, nailing a piece of plank and stringing it with screen wire. His weapon of choice was a 1920s Galiano, although he employed a variety of acoustics.

Blind Lemon Jefferson, The Father of Texas Blues "Blind" Lemon Jefferson spent a majority of his life playing in Dallas clubs with fellow blues musician Lead Belly. Jefferson became a prominent figure in the blues movement that developed in Deep Ellum in early 1900s, and was the master of the pentatonic scale, often applying only the first, altered third, fifth, altered seventh and octave. His fast style influenced Lead Belly, Lightnin' Hopkins and B.B. King, and let's not forget his mentorship of T-Bone Walker. His weapon of choice is still a mystery, although rumors point to a Stella.

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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.