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Leroy Carr

The term "urban blues" is usually applied to post-World War II blues band music, but one of the forefathers of the genre in its pre-electric format was pianist Leroy Carr. Teamed with the exemplary guitarist Scrapper Blackwell in Indianapolis, Carr became one of the top blues stars of his day, composing and recording almost 200 sides during his short lifetime, including such classics as "How Long, How Long," "Prison Bound Blues," "When the Sun Goes Down," and "Blues Before Sunrise." His blues were expressive and evocative, recorded only with piano and guitar, yet as author Sam Charters has noted, Carr was "a city man" whose singing was never as rough or intense as that of the country bluesmen, and as reissue producer Francis Smith put it, "He, perhaps more than any other single artist, was responsible for transforming the rural blues patterns of the '20s into the more city-oriented blues of the '30s."

Born in Nashville, Leroy Carr moved to Indianapolis as a child. While he was still in his teens, he taught himself how to play piano. Carr quit school in his mid-teens, heading out for a life on the road. For the next few years, he would play piano at various parties and dances in the Midwest and South. During this time, he held a number of odd jobs -- he joined a circus, he was in the Army for a while, and he was briefly a bootlegger. In addition to his string of jobs, he was married for a short time.

Carr wandered back toward Indianapolis, where he met guitarist Scrapper Blackwell in 1928. The duo began performing and shortly afterward they were recording for Vocalion, releasing "How Long How Long Blues" before the year was finished. The song was an instant, surprise hit. For the next seven years, Carr and Blackwell would record a number of classic songs for Vocalion, including "Midnight Hour Blues," "Blues Before Sunrise," "Hurry Down Sunshine," "Shady Lane Blues," and many others.

Throughout the early '30s, Carr was one of the most popular bluesmen in America. While his professional career was successful, his personal life was spinning out of control, as he sunk deeper and deeper into alcoholism. His addiction eventually cut his life short -- he died in April 1935. Carr left behind a enormous catalog of blues and his influence could be heard throughout successive generation of blues musicians, as evidenced by artists like T-Bone Walker, Otis Spann, and Champion Jack Dupree. ~ Jim O'Neal
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Whiskey Is My Habit, Good Women Is All I Crave

Disc 1

1. How Long - How Long Blues

2. Prison Bound Blues

3. Straight Alky Blues Pt. 1

4. Straight Alky Blues Pt. 2

5. Gambler's Blues

6. Sloppy Drunk Blues

7. Papa's On The Housetop

8. Midnight Hour Blues

9. Mean Mistreater Mama

10. Hurry Down Sunshine

11. Corn Licker Blues

12. Shady Lane Blues

13. Blues Before Sunrise

14. Take A Walk Around The Corner

15. I Ain't Got No Money Now

16. Motherless Child

17. My Woman's Gone Wrong

18. Southbound Blues

19. Barrelhouse Woman

20. Muddy Water

Disc 2

1. I Believe I'll Make A Change

2. Don't Start No Stuff

3. Bobo Stomp

4. Big Four Blues

5. Hard Hearted Papa

6. You Left Me Crying

7. Evil Hearted Woman

8. Good Woman Blues

9. Hustler's Blues

10. Eleven Twenty-Nine Blues

11. You Got Me Grieving

12. Bread Baker

13. Tight Times Blues

14. Black Wagon Blues

15. Shinin' Pistol

16. It's Too Short

17. My Good For Nothin' Gal

18. Suicide Blues

19. Church House Blues

20. Six Cold Feet In The Ground

x

Track List: The Essential

Disc 1

1. I Believe I'll Make A Change

2. Prison Bound Blues

3. Straight Alky Blues, Pt. 1

4. Straight Alky Blues, Pt. 2

5. Gambler's Blues

6. Sloppy Drunk Blues

7. Papa's On The House Top

8. Midnight Hour Blues

9. Mean Mistreater Mama

10. Hurry Down Sunshine

11. Corn Licker Blues

12. Shady Lane Blues

13. Blues Before Sunrise

14. Take A Walk Around The Corner

15. I Ain't Got No Money Now

16. Motherless Child

17. My Woman's Gone Wrong

18. Southbound Blues

19. Barrelhouse Woman

20. Muddy Water

Disc 2

1. How Long, How Long Blues

2. Don't Start No Stuff

3. Bobo Stomp

4. Big Four Blues

5. Hard Hearted Papa

6. You Left Me Crying

7. Evil Hearted Woman

8. Good Woman Blues

9. Hustler's Blues

10. Eleven Twenty-Nine Blues

11. You Got Me Greiving

12. Bread Baker

13. Tight Time Blues

14. Black Wagon Blues

15. Shinin' Pistol

16. It's Too Short

17. My Good For Nothin' Gal

18. Suicide Blues

19. Church House Blues

20. Six Cold Feet Of Ground

x

Track List: Leroy Carr Vol. 5 (1934)

1. Southbound Blues (2005)

2. Barrelhouse Woman (2005)

3. Barrelhouse Woman No. 2

4. Florida Bound Blues

5. Cruel Woman Blues

6. Muddy Water (2005)

7. I Believe I'll Make A Change (2005)

8. Black Gal (What Makes Your Head So Hard?)

9. Don't Start No Stuff (2005)

10. George Street Blues

11. BoBo Stomp (2005)

12. Big Four Blues (2005)

13. Hard Hearted Papa (Take 1)

14. Hard Hearted Papa (Take 2)

15. You Left Me Crying (Take 1)

16. You Left Me Crying (Take 2)

17. Broken Hearted Man

18. Evil-Hearted Woman (Take 1)

19. Good Woman Blues (2005)

20. Hustler's Blues (2005)

21. Eleven Twenty-Nine Blues (2005)

22. You've Got Me Grieving (2005)

x

Track List: Leroy Carr Vol. 6 (1934-1935)

1. Bread Baker

2. Tight Time Blues

3. Looking For My Sugar

4. Black Wagon Blues

5. Shinin' Pistol

6. Arlena (Take 1)

7. Arlena (Take 2)

8. It's Too Short (Take 1)

9. It's Too Short (Take 2)

10. My Good For Nothin' Gal

11. Suicide Blues (Take 1)

12. Bozetta Blues (Take 1)

13. Church House Blues (Take 2)

14. Rocks In My Bed

15. When The Sun Goes Down

16. Bad Luck All The Time

17. Big Four Blues

18. Just A Rag

19. Ain't It A Shame

20. Going Back Home

21. Six Cold Feet In The Ground

x

Track List: Leroy Carr Vol. 4 (1932-1934)

1. Gone Mother Blues

2. Midnight Hour Blues

3. Moonlight Blues

4. The Depression Blues

5. Mean Mistreater Mama (Take 1)

6. Mean Mistreater Mama (Take 2)

7. Mean Mistreater Mama No. 2

8. Court Room Blues

9. Hurry Down Sunshine

10. Corn Licker Blues

11. Hold Them Puppies

12. Shady Lane Blues

13. Blues She Gave Me

14. You Can't Run My Business No More

15. Blues Before Sunrise (Take 1)

16. Blues Before Sunrise (Take 2)

17. I Ain't Got No Money Now

18. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child

19. Stormy Night Blues (Take 2)

20. Take A Walk Around The Corner

21. Baby, Come Back To Me

22. Blue Night Blues

23. My Woman's Gone Wrong

x

Track List: Leroy Carr Vol. 3 (1930-1932)

1. Let's Make Up And Be Friends Again

2. Let's Disagree

3. Sloppy Drunk Blues

4. Hard Times Done Drove Me To Drink

5. Long Road Blues

6. Jail Cell Blues

7. Four Day Rider

8. Alabama Women Blues

9. Papa's On The House Top

10. Carried Water For The Elephant

11. Low Down Dirty Dog Blues

12. Nineteen Thirty One Blues

13. Love Crying Blues

14. Papa's Got Your Water On

15. Big House Blues

16. New How Long How Long Blues - Part 2

17. What More Can I Do?

18. Papa Wants To Knock A Jug

19. How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone

20. Quittin' Papa

21. Lonesome Nights

22. I Keep The Blues

x

Track List: Leroy Carr Vol. 1 (1928-1929)

1. My Own Lonesome Blues

2. How Long - How Long Blues

3. Broken Spoke Blues

4. Tennessee Blues

5. Truthful Blues

6. Mean Old Train Blues

7. You Got To Reap What You Sow

8. Low Down Dirty Blues

9. How Long How Long Blues - No. 2

10. How Long How Long Blues - Part 3

11. Baby Don't You Love Me No More

12. Tired Of Your Low Down Ways

13. I'm GGoing Away And Leave My Baby

14. Prison Bound Blues

15. You Don't Mean Me No Good

16. How About Me?

17. Straight Alky Blues - Part 1 (C-2966)

18. Think Of Me Thinking Of You

19. The Truth About The Thing

20. Straight Alky Blues - Part I (C-3144)

21. Straight Alky Blues - Part II (C-3145)

22. Lifeboat Blues

23. Gambler's Blues

24. There Ain't Nobody Got It Like She's Got It

x

Track List: Leroy Carr Vol. 2 (1929-1930)

1. That's All Right For You

2. Wrong Man Blues

3. Naptown Blues

4. The New How Long How Long Blues

5. Love Hides All Faults

6. I Know That I'll Be Blue

7. Gettin' All Wet

8. Rainy Day Blues

9. Blue With The Blues

10. Just Worryin' Blues

11. Baby You Done Put That Thing On Me

12. I Won't Miss You When You're Gone

13. Don't You Get Tired Of Riding That Same Train All The Time?

14. I'm Going Back To Tennessee

15. Christmas In Jail, Ain't That A Pain

16. Prison Cell Blues

17. That's Tellin' 'Em

18. Papa Wants A Cookie

19. Memphis Town

20. Don't Say Goodbye

21. I Ain't Got No Gal

22. Goodbye Blues

23. The Dirty Dozen

24. Workhouse Blues

Comments

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Sounds more like Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly), than the others you suggest?
Report as inappropriate
Another Leadbelly spin-off?
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ah NICE
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Wow.
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texasjoseph
Yes! Yes!
Report as inappropriate
Please, let's not forget. If only for a brief minute feel it. The Blues!

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