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13.5.09

Guitar Shorty




Guitar Shorty - Get Wise To Yourself - 1995 - Black Top

One of the most underrated guitarists playing today, the great Texan bluesman Guitar Shorty (David Kearney) can turn out some classy scorching slow burning blues. "Get Wise to Yourself" is the third studio album released by Guitar Shorty, and is a great album up to his usual high standards. The Chicago Tribune described Guitar Shorty's music as "Defiant, electric blues with piercing intensity and raw venom that'll leave your ears singed." A great album from a man who needs to be heard by more people. Listen to Guitar Shorty at his best on his "My Way or the Highway" album, and buy his brilliant "We the People" album.

TRACKS / COMPOSERS

"I'm the Clean up Man" (Kearney, Scott) — 3:46
"You Better Get Wise to Yourself" (Jones, Swamp Dogg) — 5:32
"I Don't Know Why" (Mitchell, Randle) — 5:29
"You Don't Treat Me Right" (Kearney) — 2:45
"My Baby Loves to Do the Bump" (Kearney) — 4:25
"Hard to Stay Above the Ground" (Kearney, Scott) — 5:41
"You Left Me Dreaming" (Kazanoff, Kearney, Scott, Zeno) — 4:26
"She's Built, She's Built to Kill" (Swamp Dogg) — 3:42
"A Fool Who Wants to Stay" (Kazanoff) — 4:10
"The Blues Done Got Me" (Kearney) — 5:33
"Ways of Man" (Reynolds, Tate) — 3:34
"Smells Good" (Kearney) — 6:43

MUSICIANS

Guitar Shorty — guitar, vocals
Lee Allen Zeno — bass
Riley Osborne — piano
Sammy Berfect — organ (hammond)
Raymond Weber — percussion, drums
Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff — saxophone (baritone, tenor)
Ward Smith — saxophone (alto, baritone, tenor)
Ernest Youngblood, Jr. — saxophone (tenor)
Steve Howard — trumpet, flugelhorn
Mark Mullins — trombone
Charles Elam III, Phillip Manuel — vocals (background)

REVIEWS

This gem of a disc shows Guitar Shorty (David Kearney) off on one of the highlights of his too-limited recorded efforts. He is one of the most flamboyant guitar players you will ever have the chance to see. His stage act was inspired by Guitar Slim, and he in turn inspired and influenced his stepbrother-in-law, a fellow by the name of Jimi Hendrix. This disc is filled with his searing blues guitar work. The only exception is the bouncy Mark "Kaz" Kasanoff tune "A Fool Who Wants to Stay," though Kasanoff is an associate producer of this disc (maybe that says enough). The rest will give you more than your fill of Shorty's inflammatory and slashing style of guitar licks, the very tight horn section arranged by Kasanoff augmenting him, and the solid musicians who are in the band that backs him. The best way to experience Shorty is live, but this is one of his best recorded efforts with fine production and a good clean sound that shows his abilities off in the best light. But if you get a chance, don't miss his show. Although he is now moving up in years, he still makes sure you get a good show, because he is a showman as well as being one hell of a guitar player. © Bob Gottlieb, allmusic.com

Guitar Shorty is one of the most flamboyant live performers on the blues circuit today; his typical show includes lengthy strolls through the crowd, solos played with his teeth, karate kicks, and 360-degree flips while playing his guitar. His recordings can't hope to capture these antics, but they do reveal that the veteran has combined the agile, high-pitched, single-note guitar style of such heroes as B.B. King and T-Bone Walker with the early-soul vocal stylings of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke who both hired the young David "Guitar Shorty" Kearney as a road guitarist. The seven Kearney originals on the New Orleans-recorded Get Wise to Yourself are little more than serviceable blues-genre exercises, but the handful of cover tunes reveal just how entertaining Guitar Shorty can be in the right circumstances. © Geoffrey Himes, amazon.com

BIO

When he's not turning somersaults, doing backward flips, and standing on his head — all while playing, of course — Guitar Shorty is prone to cutting loose with savagely slashing licks on his instrument. Live, he's simply amazing — and after some lean years, his recent albums for Black Top and Evidence have proven that all that energy translates vividly onto tape. Born David Kearney on September 8, 1939, in Houston, TX, he started playing guitar at an early age. His early influences included fellow blues guitar slingers B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker, and Earl Hooker. By the time he was 17, Kearney was already gigging steadily in Tampa, FL. One night, he was perched on the bandstand when he learned that the mysterious "Guitar Shorty" advertised on the club's marquee was none other than him! His penchant for stage gymnastics was inspired by the flamboyant Guitar Slim, whose wild antics are legendary. In 1957, Shorty cut his debut single, "You Don't Treat Me Right," for Chicago's Cobra Records under Willie Dixon's astute direction. Three superb 45s in 1959 for tiny Pull Records in Los Angeles (notably "Hard Life") rounded out Shorty's discography for quite a while. During the '60s, he married Jimi Hendrix's stepsister and lived in Seattle, where the rock guitar god caught Shorty's act (and presumably learned a thing or two about inciting a throng) whenever he came off the road. Shorty's career had its share of ups and downs — once he was reduced to competing on Chuck Barris' zany Gong Show, where he copped first prize for delivering "They Call Me Guitar Shorty" while balanced on his noggin. Los Angeles had long since reclaimed Shorty by the time things started to blossom anew with the 1991 album My Way or the Highway for the British JSP logo (with guitarist Otis Grand in support). From there, Black Top signed Shorty; 1993's dazzling Topsy Turvy, 1995's Get Wise to Yourself, and 1998's Roll Over, Baby have been the head-over-heels results so far. In 2001, the appropriately titled I Go Wild was released on the Evidence label, proving that Guitar Shorty has no intentions of slowing down; he remains a master showman and lively blues guitarist. Watch Your Back appeared in spring 2004. A single-disc overview of his career, The Best of Guitar Shorty, appeared from Shout! Factory in 2006, as well as a new studio album, We the People, from Alligator Records. © Bill Dahl & Al Campbell, allmusic.com



MORE ABOUT GUITAR SHORTY (DAVID KEARNEY)

"Defiant, electric blues with piercing intensity and raw venom that'll leave your ears singed" -- Chicago Tribune. Guitarist/vocalist and blues legend Guitar Shorty is a man of the people. With the ability to pack clubs and festivals as one of the blues' most celebrated live performers (even before he had any nationally available recordings) and now among the top-selling recording artists in the blues world, he is clearly the people's choice. Between his blistering, rocked-out guitar work and his fierce, soulful vocals, the power of his music is unmatched, and his perceptive and meaningful lyrics unique among modern bluesmen. Credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Shorty has been electrifying audiences for five decades with his supercharged live shows and his incendiary recordings (beginning in 1957 with a Willie Dixon-produced single on the Cobra label). Through the years, Shorty has performed with blues and R&B luminaries like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Guitar Slim and T-Bone Walker. Although he had recorded a handful of singles for a variety of labels, it wasn't until the 1990s that the wider world opened its collective ears to one of the blues' most exciting performers. His albums since then all received massive critical acclaim, and his legendary live performances have kept him constantly in demand all over the world. His 2004 Alligator Records debut, WATCH YOUR BACK, became the best received, best-selling album of his career. GuitarOne magazine said, "Guitar Shorty is a superb bluesman who can scorch your ears off with lethal licks and heavyweight blues-rock grooves." With his new CD, WE THE PEOPLE, he's prepared to continue what he's started, taking his music, and his fans, to deeper places and even greater heights. Produced by Wyzard and Brian Brinkerhoff, WE THE PEOPLE finds Guitar Shorty singing and playing with ferocious urgency and a fierce righteousness. WE THE PEOPLE burns with heavy rock and roll fire from start to finish, putting Shorty's infectious energy and guitar pyrotechnics on full display. And more than ever before, his songs tell the story of the harsh realities of everyday life in terms both stark (We The People), pointed (Cost Of Livin') and poignant (Down That Road Again). What he began with WATCH YOUR BACK, Shorty accelerates with WE THE PEOPLE, creating an album that is as memorable for its menacing guitar work and defiant vocals as it is for its incisive and wide-ranging stories. Guitar Shorty was born David William Kearney on September 8, 1939 in Houston, Texas and raised in Kissimmee, Florida by his grandmother. He began playing guitar as a young boy, excited by the sounds of B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker and Earl Hooker. His first lessons came from his uncle, but when it became clear that the youngster was serious about his music, his grandmother hired a tutor for him. "I learned so fast I was always two or three pages ahead of my teacher," he recalls. After a move to Tampa when he was 17, Kearney won a slot as a featured guitarist and vocalist in Walter Johnson's 18-piece orchestra. Being younger—and shorter—than the rest of the band, the club owner bestowed the name Guitar Shorty on him, and it stuck. After a particularly strong performance in Florida, the great Willie Dixon, who was in the audience, approached Shorty and said, "I like what you're doing. You've got something different. I gotta get you in the studio." A few weeks later Shorty was in Chicago and, backed by Otis Rush on second guitar, he cut his first single, Irma Lee b/w You Don't Treat Me Right, for Chicago's famed Cobra Records (the first label home for Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy) in 1957. "Willie Dixon was a huge influence on me and my singing," Shorty remembers. "If it hadn't been for him, I never would have recorded." After recording the Cobra single, Shorty's fortunes continued to rise, as the great Ray Charles hired the young guitar slinger as a featured member of his road band. While touring Florida, Shorty met one of his idols—guitarist/vocalist Guitar Slim, famous for his hit Things That I Used To Do as well as for his wildman stage antics. Slim's manager offered Shorty the opening slot on the guitarist's upcoming tour, and Shorty jumped at the chance, following his hero to New Orleans. Inspired by Slim, Shorty began incorporating some of the older artist's athletic showmanship into his own performances. Before long, he was doing somersaults and flips on stage. Between his blistering talent and his wild stage shows, Guitar Shorty found his audience growing even larger. He recorded three 45s for the Los Angeles-based Pull Records label in 1959. Those six sides—all Guitar Shorty originals incorporating techniques learned from Willie Dixon—showcased his first-rate vocals and his dynamic guitar style. He gigged steadily through the late 1950s and 1960s, working with Little Milton, B.B. King, Lowell Fulson, Sam Cooke, Otis Rush, Johnny Copeland and T-Bone Walker. Settling down in Seattle, he married Marsha Hendrix, Jimi's stepsister. Hendrix loved his guitar-playing brother-in-law, and confessed that in 1961 and 1962 he would go AWOL from his Army base in order to catch Shorty's area performances, picking up licks and ideas. "I'd see Jimi at the clubs," Shorty recalls. "He'd stay in the shadows, watching me. I hear my licks in Purple Haze and Hey Joe. He told me the reason he started setting his guitar on fire was because he couldn't do the back flips like I did." Guitar Shorty moved to Los Angeles in 1971 and worked as a mechanic during the day while playing gigs at night until 1975, when he again became a full-time musician. He had his share of career tribulations, though, including a performance (albeit a winning one) on The Gong Show in 1978, playing guitar while standing on his head. After overcoming a serious auto accident in 1984, he recorded an EP for Big J Records and a few more singles (this time for Olive Branch Records) in 1985, showcasing his fat-toned guitar licks and deep blues vocals. The strength of these recordings kept him busy on the club scene, and he eventually landed a British tour in 1990. Guitar Shorty cut his debut album for the JSP label in 1990 while on tour in England. Released in 1991, My Way Or The Highway received the Blues Music Award for "Contemporary Foreign Blues Album Of The Year" and revitalized Shorty's career in the U.S. With all the attention Shorty received, the New Orleans-based Black Top label signed him and released three albums (Topsy Turvy, Get Wise To Yourself and Roll Over, Baby) during the 1990s, and in 2001 Evidence Records issued I Go Wild. All received an abundance of positive press as he barnstormed his way across the U.S. and around the world, with stops in Europe, China and Malaysia. The Chicago Tribune declared, "Shorty's forte is his high-energy style and fluid, imaginative fretboard work." DownBeat raved, "Guitar Shorty's music is a funky, boisterous buffet of off-the-wall blues fun." Appearances at major festivals like The Monterey Bay Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival and The King Biscuit Blues Festival brought him to larger and larger audiences. At the 1998 Chicago Blues Festival, Shorty opened for his old boss Ray Charles and thrilled an audience of thousands with his jaw-dropping stage show. With the release of WATCH YOUR BACK in 2004, Guitar Shorty's long rise to blues stardom grew exponentially. The outpouring of soulful emotion, the power of his playing and the strength of the material added up to the toughest album of Shorty's renowned career. Living Blues called Shorty "a blues rock original [who plays] screaming, empowered guitar and sings with streetwise defiance." Now, with WE THE PEOPLE Guitar Shorty delivers a moving and soulful statement, featuring some of the most fire-coated fretwork he has ever laid down and the most thought-provoking songs he's ever recorded. He's playing with a passion and dedication almost unmatched in today's music scene. With dates constantly being added to his tour calendar, this guitar-wielding, soul-singing, rock-solid performer is set to bring his mind-expanding music to locations North, South, East and West. Always a celebrated live performer and now a top-selling recording artist as well, Guitar Shorty will no doubt find that WE THE PEOPLE will once again make him the people's choice. © www.intrepidartists.com

3 comments:

A.O.O.F.C said...

LINKp/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

OMG....another one that looks really good. I'll check it out. Thanks again!

-MoonBear

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi again,MoonBear. It's not HOA, but a good album of it's genre. Thanks for all your comments