Get this crazy baby off my head!


Larry Garner

Larry Garner - Double Dues - 1993 - JSP

Larry Garner was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1952 and was raised around Baton Rouge. He has been influenced by many of the Baton Rouge blues scene: Lonesome Sundown, Silas Hogan, Henry Gray, and Guitar Kelly. Larry Garner writes his own material and this reflects his upbringing and surroundings. Larry Garner had his first guitar at eleven years old and he tells a great story in his live act about being taught a blues lick, which he practised and practised and was then encouraged by his proud parents to play at the church. You need to see his arm movements, as he tells the story, to fully understand the level of skill he had reached. Larry Garner then moved through various musical styles before, rather inevitably, settling on The Blues. Larry Garner served in Korea, still playing The Blues and then returned to Baton Rouge to get married. A family followed and he got a good job with Dow Chemical while playing Blues gigs in the evenings. As Larry Garner continued to play further afield from Baton Rouge he started to reach a wider audience and in 1988 he won the B.B. King "Lucille" Award for Doghouse Blues. The big break came in 1992 at the Burnley Blues Festival in England, where he was a big hit and this led to the London based JSP records signing Larry Garner in 1993 and Double Dues and Too Blues rapidly followed. Allegedly Too Blues was so called because a record company had turned him down in the past because his music was - Too Blues! The Gitanes Jazz label in France heard the JSP recordings and when Larry Garner made another storming live appearance, this time in the New Morning club in Paris, they decided to sign him. Subsequently You Need To Live A Little came out in 1995 to be followed by Baton Rouge in 1996. Larry left Verve in 1997 and subsequently he recorded Standing Room Only with the German Ruf label. These days Larry Garner seems to be touring all the time and if you get the chance, go to see him, because the man is definitely worth seeing live! © 2006-2009 BluesSearchEngine.com

A great album from the relatively obscure "part-time" Louisiana bluesman. A great songwriter, and a superb guitarist, Larry Garner deserves a wider audience. In 1988 he won the BB King "Lucille" Award for "Doghouse Blues", and has released several good albums. However, he still remains unknown to far too many people. Somebody called him "a poet of the Blues", and he is truly a great wordsmith. His lyrics are intelligent, often very far thinking, and sometimes wistful, with a hint of sadness. Larry also plays beautiful, concise guitar. There are no long drawn out guitar solos on this album, but his playing is expertly executed. Buy his "You Need to Live a Little", which is another superb blues album.


1. Scared Of You
2. No Free Rides
3. Buster
4. Shut It Down
5. Dreaming Again
6. The Taxman
7. Broke Bluesman
8. Tale Spreaders
9. California Sister
10. Past 23

All songs composed by Larry Garner, except "Dreaming Again", by Coleridge/Larry Garner/Morrison


Larry Garner Guitar, Vocals, Vibraslap
Spencer Williams Bass
Marc Adams Organ, Piano
Frank Mitchell Sax (Tenor)


Folks in Europe were hip to Larry Garner long before most blues fans in the states. The Baton Rouge guitarist had already toured extensively overseas, with two British albums to his credit, before Verve issued his stunning domestic debut, You Need to Live a Little, in 1995. Rooted in the swamp blues tradition indigenous to his Baton Rouge environs, Garner brings a laudable contemporary sensibility and witty composing skills to his craft. Inspired by local swamp bluesmen Silas Hogan and Clarence Edwards, Larry Garner learned how to play guitar from his uncle and a couple of gospel-playing elders. After completing his military service in Korea, he returned to Baton Rouge and embarked on a part-time musical career (he worked at a Dow chemical plant for almost two decades until his recent retirement). The British JSP label released Garner's first two albums: Double Dues and Too Blues (the latter an ironic slap at an unidentified tin-eared U.S. blues label boss who deemed Garner's demo tape "too blues"). With the emergence of You Need to Live a Little, where Garner delivers creative originals detailing the difficulty of keeping "Four Cars Running" and the universal pain of suffering through "Another Bad Day," Larry Garner is poised for 21st-century blues stardom. Subsequent efforts include 1998's Standing Room Only, 1999's Baton Rouge and 2000's Once Upon the Blues. © Bill Dahl, allmusic.com


Definitely one of the new breed - an artist that the Primer feels can draw new recruits to the blues in a way other exponents of the art might not (and when the Primer kicked off many years ago now, that was one of its initial objectives). Garner has a natural talent for storytelling and a singular approach to music making; he isn't really content to try and find a personal interpretation of traditional or prevailing influences or existing blues styles. The Primer saw one advert for an upcoming concert in the UK which said Garner was "blues you could dance to" and I wouldn't argue with that. He was raised in the Baton Rouge area and early on played in gospel and straight ahead R&B bands. Apparently Inspired by local swamp bluesmen Silas Hogan and Clarence Edwards, he learned how to play guitar from his uncle and a couple of gospel-playing elders. After serving in the army he actually quit music altogether for around ten years. He worked in a a Dow chemical plant for almost two decades until his retirement. Presumably he did that because he couldn't make full time musician pay as a profession. Hard to believe that a guy with this much talent had to hold down a day job for so long. Around 1983, he started to sit in on local shows again and within two years had formed his own band, quickly gaining a reputation for his live performances and for the fact that much of the material played was self-penned. All his albums are worth getting hold of, starting off with his first album proper "Double Dues" (he had previously issued a cassette of his own material, which got him a label deal). He released "Too Blues" in 1993, by which time he had already become a favourite in the UK and Europe. Recording for a bigger label (Verve) has not really changed his approach to his music but has allowed a bit more care in the production. Take a listen to "You Need To Live A Little" and, especially, "Standing Room Only" and "Once Upon The Blues" from 2000, all of which have received excellent reviews. Definitely worth a hearing. Blues sensibilities, witty writing with a contemporary take on life - all adds up to great music! [ By theprimer, & © theprimer, on November 6, 2007 12:55 PM © Peter Dean 1997, www.rhythmandtheblues.org.uk/public/shadesartists/larrygarner.html ]