Guitarist, singer and songwriter T-Bone Singleton was born in New Orleans and grew up in Baton Rouge, where he still lives. JSP Records of London recently released his debut recording, Walkin' the Floor, which represents some of his best songs over a ten-year period.
As a youth, T-Bone recalls seeing and hearing the old-style Southern swamp bluesmen like Silas Hogan and Guitar Kelly playing in local cafes, and musicians like Slim Harpo and Lightnin' Slim were also frequent performers in Baton Rouge juke joints. Singleton was raised on gospel and soul music and became interested in guitar after hearing his neighbor play, and he began playing a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar at 14. In high school, he worked nights with his father building cabinets, and it was on a job with his father that he got his first electric guitar and amplifier. Within months, he was playing guitar and bass in a gospel group and playing soul music with high school friends. Later, he began playing in clubs in north Baton Rouge until he was approached in the mid-1970s by Buddy Powell, who asked him to become the guitarist for his band, the Condors. The regional band toured the Gulf Coast for several years, playing blues, soul and Top 20 hits until Powell quit to become musical director at Gloryland Baptist Church.
Singleton went on to become an ordained minister and has delivered numerous sermons since then, but he still has no full-time position as a pastor. Like many other bluesmen from the South, Singleton's style of blues guitar playing and singing is heavily gospel-oriented, and these days, he still plays local clubs in and around Baton Rouge and has made several appearances at the annual River City Blues Festival.
His 1996 JSP Records release, Walkin' the Floor, is a small fraction of his output from the last ten years, and the ever-inventive songwriter and guitarist probably has another three albums worth of material ready to be recorded. Well-respected in Baton Rouge, Singleton's debut album was produced by blues guitarist and singer Larry Garner. ~ Richard Skelly