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Guitar Shorty

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 latter-day albums for Black Top, Evidence, and Alligator 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 were the head-over-heels results. In 2001, the appropriately titled I Go Wild was released on the Evidence label, proving that Guitar Shorty had no intentions of slowing down, as he clearly remained 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. A second Alligator release, Bare Knuckle, appeared early in 2010. ~ Bill Dahl & Al Campbell
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Bare Knuckle

1. Please Mr. President

2. Too Hard To Love You

3. The Sting

4. Slow Burn

5. True Lies

6. Texas Women

7. Too Late

8. Neverland

9. Betrayed

10. Get Off

11. Bad Memory

12. Temporary Man

x

Track List: We The People

1. We The People

2. What Good Is Life?

3. I Got Your Number

4. Runaway Train

5. Down That Road Again

6. Fine Cadillac

7. Can't Get Enough

8. A Hurt So Old

9. Who Needs It?

10. Blues In My Blood

11. Cost Of Livin'

12. Sonic Boom

x

Track List: The Best Of Guitar Shorty : The Long And Short Of It

1. Go Wild!

2. You Better Get Wise To Yourself

3. I Want To Report A Crime

4. Hard To Stay Above The Ground

5. Hard Life

7. Maybe She'll Miss Me

8. I'm The Clean Up Man

10. No Educated Woman

11. I Wonder Who's Sleeping In My Bed

12. Red Hot Mama

14. Hey Joe

x

Track List: Watch Your Back

1. Old School

2. Story Of My Life

3. I'm Gonna Leave You

4. What She Don't Know

5. I've Been Working

6. Get Busy

7. Let My Guitar Do the Talking

8. It Ain't The Fall That Kills You

9. A Little Less Conversation

10. Right Tool For The Job

x

Track List: I Go Wild!

1. Loosen Up

2. Coffee & Cigarettes

3. Maybe She'll Miss Me

4. If You Can't Lie No Better

5. Just Warming Up

6. Go Wild!

7. Don't Stop (I Just Started)

8. One & Only Man

9. Life With You

10. Lesson In Love

11. Put It All In There

12. In The Morning

13. The Netherlands

x

Track List: The Blues Is All Right

1. Introduction / The Blues Is Alright

2. The Thrill Is Gone

3. History Of Judy (live)

4. How Blue Can You Get

5. Never Make Your Move Too Soon

6. How Come My Dog Don't Bark When You Come Around

7. Bump The Donkey

8. Hard Life Blues

Comments

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This brother is bad a**, nuff said, forget Beck page and Clapton
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Knows how to belt out a song...ooooo o o h
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fine song, especially pertinent when a brainwashed population is supporting Trump!
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his bluesy ritheme and slow rock downbeat caught me
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coleman3.edw i n
Got to be in the band before him at the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival. He tore it up!
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SUCH TRULY RIGHTEOUS, VERY-VERY BAD-DONG-KEY EXCELLENCE. DANG !!! ALL THE MUSIC I'VE BEEN LOVIN, YET MISSIN OUT ON DIS!!!
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Short dog in the house!
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Yes I agree-the great ones come from Texas,,where is John Nitzinger ? He used to play with Bloodrock. cc_union
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Play the hell out of it
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Like I've said ALL the Great Ones Come from TEXAS!
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Saw him,B&O station 201? Youngstown ohio
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Now this is the BLUES!
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vrsc07
Right!
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Nice, but the lyrics are goofy as all get out
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Awesome!!
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Who knows the next time Shorty'll be at B.B.'s NYC? I will...
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Nice--!
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Just awe--------- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - s o m e . . . . . . . . .
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Correct
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Nice
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Always thought he was a dwarf
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This is one soul fool dude refs call to me like the freaking ocean
Me like !!
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SHORTY can dish out a TALL order of the blues!!!
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bernardocmc
Just right
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very good
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Moore
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An unsung Guitar God.
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Again H-Town is Blues too. 3m 14y
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Love this guy , a great lesson in playing blues .
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colligansb62
Saw him at the Back Stage in Ballard Wa in what must have been early 90's was awesome
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RIGHT ON JIM-You can certainly see that he influenced Hendrix. Can't understand why he's not more well known. First time I've heard him---Awesom e !
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Saw guitar Shorty at ricks on the square tyler tx. He put on a hell of a performance.
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Great Great Blues Player
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saw him a few years ago at a crawfish festival in new jersey what an awesome show
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caught him in Winters Cal. wow, what a show, he tore it up
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Dam can it get any better
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What town man??? I want to see him?
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I still and always will get out and see him every time he comes to town.
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Man, this guy plays some deep Blues. Great tone & licks. Gotta go see this guy while I can.
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Paradise Grill, Pensacola Beach, 2012. Shorty went totally psychedelic here. He has at least 30 foot pedal stomp boxes and uses them all. Amazing, can't wait for next time he comes to town.
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Yes Guitar Shorty Married Hendrix's step sister, and when Hendrix and Shorty were not touring they spent many many hours together playing. Shorty taught Hendrix a lot of his guitar skills. I have gone to many of Shorty's concerts VIP style as I am a personal friend of his. Believe me when I say it, he puts on the BEST DAMN LIVE PERFORMANCE that I have ever seen. He has come to my table many times and ripped solos for 15+ minutes with his guitar.
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fredthehead1 2
plays down here in south texas several times a year...he's awesome live
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He rocks
Was he some sort of relative of Hendrix?
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2waynesworld
In the 70's, I worked in promotion for A&M Records, he was not the label but I found Guitar Shorty. I could not put it down and love his stuff today. You can hear it in Jimmy Hendrix Shorty’s influence !
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amcobos
You can tell his style is so much like B.B. King's. They sound so much alike!
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steve95984
Mind BLOWING blues man. F**king Awesome!!!!! !
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lardo3057
Its funny that when I put in Ten Years After before, you said nothing found, yet after I got into the blues genre, TYA came up as a simulor artist. Love you guys, but sometimes I wonder. ROCK ON!!!!
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first time i heard him i knew i had to have some for my collection
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I Don't take the time 2 get down 2 da OL SOUL BLUES,theres absolutly no BETTER sound that I know of.LOVE IT!!!
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bulldozer619
Hang me up by my toe-nails and beat me with a dead Carp , He's Good !
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