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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
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Stations Featuring
Guitar Shorty

    All Blues

    All Blues
    22 songs

    Modern Blues

    Modern Blues
    3 songs

    Electric Blues

    Electric Blues
    3 songs

    New Orleans Sounds

    New Orleans Sounds
    1 song

Albums by
Guitar Shorty

Top Songs by
Guitar Shorty

  1.   Song
  2.   A Little Less Conversation
  3.   Let My Guitar Do the Talking
  4.   We the People
  5.   Fine Cadillac
  6.   The Thrill Is Gone
  7.   I Got Your Number
  8.   It's Too Late by Otis Grand Band
  9.   Kick Out by Guitar Shorty & The Otis Grand Blues Band
  10.   My Way or the Highway by Guitar Shorty & The Otis Grand Blues Band
  11.   Hot and Saucy, Short and Grand by Guitar Shorty & The Otis Grand Blues Band
  12.   No Educated Woman by Guitar Shorty & The Otis Grand Blues Band
  13.   Can't Get Enough
  14.   You Gave Me the Blues Baby by Guitar Shorty & The Otis Grand Blues Band
  15.   Shorty Jumps In by Guitar Shorty & The Otis Grand Blues Band
  16.   Red Hot Mama by Guitar Shorty & The Otis Grand Blues Band
  17.   Temporary Man
  18.   Blues in My Blood
  19.   Cost of Livin'
  20.   A Hurt So Old
  21.   Sonic Boom
  22.   Down That Road Again
  23.   It Ain't the Fall That Kills You
  24.   Who Needs It?
  25.   What Good Is Life?
  26.   Runaway Train
  27.   Shorty Jumps In
  28.   Never Make a Move Too Soon
  29.   We Don't Give a Shit & The Blues Is Allright
  30.   Shorty's Theme
  31.   Billie Jean Blues
  32.   Hey Joe
  33.   Hard Life
  34.   Hard Life Blues
  35.   Whole Lotta' Love
  36.   Shorty's Theme, Pt. 2
  37.   Shorty's Theme (Part 2)
  38.   Shorty's Theme (Part 1)
  39.   Whole Lot
  40.   Down Thru' The Years
  41.   Too Late
  42.   The Sting
  43.   Texas Women
  44.   Slow Burn
  45.   Neverland
  46.   Get Off
  47.   Betrayed
  48.   What She Don't Know
  49.   You Gave Me the Blues, Baby by Otis Grand
  50.   Kick Out
  51.   You Don't Treat Me Right
  52.   Hot and Saucy, Short and Grand by Otis Grand
  53.   Shorty's Theme, No. 2
  54.   Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
  55.   Whole Lot of Loving
  56.   Bump the Donkey
  57.   How Come My Dog Don't Bark (When You Come Around)
  58.   Never Make Your Move Too Soon
  59.   How Blue Can You Get?
  60.   Introduction/The Blues Is All Right
  61.   Ways of a Man
  62.   Please Mr. President
  63.   Intro Medley: We Don't Give a Shit / The Blues Is Alright
  64.   I'm Gonna Leave You
  65.   True Lies
  66.   Too Hard to Love You
  67.   Right Tool for the Job
  68.   Get Busy
  69.   How Came My Dog Don't Bark When You Come 'Round
  70.   Story of My Life
  71.   History of Jody
  72.   Red Hot Mama
  73.   I've Been Working
  74.   History of Jody, Don't Give a Shit Blues
  75.   Whole Lot of Lovin Waitin for You
  76.   Old Time Sake
  77.   History of Judy
  78.   Shorty's Theme, Pt. 1
  79.   Irma Lee
  80.   Bad Memory
  81.   Old School

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