Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)
|"Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)"|
|Single by T-Bone Walker|
|A-side||"I Know Your Wig Has Gone"|
|Format||10" 78 rpm record|
|Recorded||Hollywood, California, September 13, 1947|
|Label||Black & White (cat. no. 122B)|
|Writer(s)||Aaron Walker aka T-Bone Walker|
|T-Bone Walker singles chronology|
"Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)" (usually shortened to "Stormy Monday") is a song written and recorded by American blues electric guitar pioneer T-Bone Walker. It is a slow twelve-bar blues performed in the West Coast Blues-style that features Walker's smooth, plaintive vocal and guitar work. The song reached number five in the 1948 Billboard magazine Race Records chart and became Walker's best-known and most recorded song. "Stormy Monday" is one of the most popular blues standards with numerous renditions.
In July 1942, T-Bone Walker recorded "Mean Old World" and "I Got a Break, Baby" as one of the first artists for Los Angeles-based Capitol Records. Shortly thereafter, his recording career was interrupted by the 1942–44 musicians' strike and the diversion of record-making material for the war effort. By 1946, Walker signed with producer Ralph Bass and Black & White Records. Although there is conflicting information regarding the recording date (see Recording and composition section below), "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)" was released as a single in November 1947.
Meanwhile, "Stormy Monday Blues", a jazz single by Earl Hines and His Orchestra with Billy Eckstine had become a number one Race Records chart hit in 1942. Credited to Eckstine, Hines, and Bob Crowder, the composition features a big band arrangement with different lyrics and doe not include the words "stormy" or "Monday". The fact that both Walker's and the Eckstine/Hines song include "Stormy Monday" in the title has led to confusion regarding the songs' true titles and authorship (see Confusion over name section below).
Recording and composition
There are conflicting accounts about the recording date for "Call It Stormy Monday". In an interview, Walker claimed that he recorded it in 1940 "just before the war" (the U.S. entered World War II December 7, 1941), but that it was not released because of material restrictions. Journalist Dave Dexter, who worked for Capitol Records in the early 1940s, believed that Walker recorded "Stormy Monday" for Capitol before the Eckstine/Hines song (March 1942), but that it was not released because of the unavailability of shellac and the recording ban. However, Walker's first single as a band leader, "Mean Old World", which was recorded in July 1942, was released in 1942 by Capitol. One sessionography places the recording on September 13, 1947 during his third session for Black & White Records. Blues writer Jim O'Neal noted that blues discographies do not show a recording date before 1947.
The recording took place in Hollywood, California and was produced by Black & White's Ralph Bass. "Stormy Monday" was performed in a "club combo" or West Coast-blues style with a small back-up band. Accompanying Walker is pianist Lloyd Glenn, bassist Arthur Edwards, drummer Oscar Lee Bradley, and horn players John "Teddy" Bruckner (trumpet) and Hubert "Bumps" Myers (tenor saxophone). A key feature of the song's instrumentation is Walker's prominent guitar parts, including the extensive use of ninth chords, which gives the song its distinctive sound. "The real sound of this riff is based on starting each 9th chord a whole step (2 frets) above and sliding down. If we were to analyze this movement, the first chord is technically a 13th chord resolving down to a 9th chord". It also includes twelve bars of single-string guitar solo and trumpet and sax fills.
"Call It Stormy Monday" uses a standard I-IV-V twelve-bar blues structure notated in 12/8 time in the key of G with a tempo of 66 beat per minute. The lyrics chronicle the feelings of lost love through the days of week, concluding with Sunday, "when the blues and spirituals converged [in] a continuation of a trend used by earlier Mississippi Delta blues singers" and a prayer asking the Lord to "Give me back my baby, please send her home to me".
Releases and charts
Black & White Records released "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)" in November 1947. It entered Billboard's Race Records chart January 24, 1948 and reached number five during six-week stay. It was T-Bone Walker's second highest charting single (1947's "Bobby Sox Blues" reached number three). During his career, he made several different recordings of the song, including for his 1959 Atlantic Records' album T-Bone Blues.
Recognition and influence
In 1983, T-Bone Walker's "Call It Stormy Monday" was inducted into the Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame in the "Classic of Blues Recording — Single or Album Track" category, who called it "one of the most influential records not only in blues history, but in guitar history". In 1991, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame which "honor[s] recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance" and in 1995, it was included as one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The U.S. National Recording Preservation Board selected "Call It Stormy Monday" in 2007 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of "sound recordings that are culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
It has been referred to as a "Mount Rushmore of a blues song" and "if T-Bone had done nothing more in his career than write and record this one tune, his esteemed place in the history of American music would be guaranteed". As an early electric blues guitar soloist, Walker influenced a generation of blues musicians. In several interviews, B.B. King has stated that "Call It Stormy Monday" inspired him to begin playing electric guitar.
|“||My greatest musical debt is to T-Bone... 'Stormy Monday' was the first tune. 'They call it Stormy Monday', sang T-Bone, 'but Tuesday's just as bad'. Yes, Lord! The first line, the first thrilling notes, the first sound of his guitar, and the attitude in his voice was riveting. I especially loved 'Stormy Monday'—and I still sing it today...||”|
"Call It Stormy Monday" has become so popular that one encyclopedia entry concludes "What bluesman does not have his own version?". Singer Billy Vera wrote "rest assured, as you read these notes, someone somewhere is performing 'Call It Stormy Monday'". It was also noted that "it became a song that virtually every blues band had to know; in fact, it was also required learning for countless jazz, soul, pop, and rock performers who may have had no other blues songs in their entire repertoires".
Confusion over name
Due to its length, "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)" is shortened to "Call It Stormy Monday" or most often "Stormy Monday". Confusingly, it is also sometimes referred to as "Stormy Monday Blues", the same title as the 1942 song by Billy Eckstine and Earl Hines. According to T-Bone Walker, he specifically gave his song the longer name to set it apart. However, trouble ensued when other artists began recording it using these shortened names. Walker blamed Duke Records owner Don Robey for giving it the wrong title for his artists, including Bobby Bland's 1962 rendition, which appeared as "Stormy Monday Blues". Bland's version, which was an R&B and pop chart hit, was subsequently copied by other artists, who also used the incorrect title. As a result, Walker lost out on royalties when his song was misnamed "Stormy Monday Blues" and the payments were forwarded to Eckstine, Hines, and Crowder.
Bobby Bland version
American soul blues singer Bobby Bland recorded his interpretation of the song in Nashville, Tennesse in September 1961, during the same session that produced his "Turn On Your Love Light". Drummer John "Jabo" Starks recalled:
|“||T-Bone Walker's 'Stormy Monday Blues' was supposed to be a 'throwaway' tune. We had already finished the album, and Bobby [Bland] said, 'Hey, man, I want to do that tune. Let's do that tune, just for me'. We said, 'Okay', and we sat there and did it, just the rhythm section. I think it was two takes. Wayne Bennett, the guitar player, wanted to change something. Hamp Simmons out of Houston played an old Kay electric bass.||”|
This minor-chord progression had been used in several of Bland's songs, including his 1957 breakthrough number "Farther Up the Road", and is found in many subsequent renditions of "Stormy Monday". Guitarist Wayne Bennett commented that he had been influenced by T-Bone Walker and Pee Wee Crayton; Bennett's own playing on the recording influenced many guitarists, including Duane Allman. The song is performed in the key of A♭ at 60 beats per minute.
When Duke released Bland's version, it was inexplicably re-titled "Stormy Monday Blues". The single reached number five during a thirteen stay in the R&B chart. It was also included on Bland's 1962 album Here's the Man!, which reached number 53 on the Billboard album chart. Additionally, "Stormy Monday" went to number 43 in the pop chart and Bland made his fourth appearance on the music variety television program American Bandstand, where he performed it to dancing teenagers.
The Allman Brothers Band version
A March 1971 performance of "Stormy Monday" by the Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East concert hall in New York City was recorded and released on their At Fillmore East album in 1971. Their version is based on Bobby Bland's 1961 recording, but expanded to over eight minutes with improvised soloing. Additionally, they substitutied the V9 chord in bar 10 with a IVmin7 and the one in bar 12 with a Vaug.
The instrumentation of the song is typical of the group, consisting of vocals, two electric guitars, bass guitar, organ, and drums. It demonstrates a different style of music, however, from most Allman Brothers pieces, with a slow tempo (60 beats per minute) and softer feel. Duane Allman's guitar playing can be heard at this slower tempo, in the first of three solos, with Gregg Allman's organ solo shifting to a jazz-waltz feel and Dickey Betts' guitar solo ending it. By means of a careful tape edit, a harmonica solo by Thom Doucette was omitted from the issued version in 1971; it was restored to the song in the 1992 release of the The Fillmore Concerts. The Allman Brothers' "Stormy Monday" received considerable airplay on progressive rock and album-oriented rock radio during the 1970s.
American R&B singer Latimore recorded "Stormy Monday" in 1973. It was his first major hit and reached number 27 in the R&B chart as well as number 102 in the pop chart. Latimore's uptempo, jazz-influenced rendition was based on a 1962 version by Lou Rawls that was included on his Stormy Monday album with Les McCann.
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