Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Guitar Shorty ~ 2001

Guitar Shorty,David William Kearney, was born on September 8, 1934, in Houston, Texas, but grew up mainly in Kissimmee, Florida where be began playing the guitar at an early age and began heading a band not long after. During his time in Tampa Bay, Florida, he received his nickname, Guitar Shorty, when it mysteriously showed up on the marquee of the club he was playing as 'The Walter Johnson Band featuring Guitar Shorty.'

He steadily began to garner accloades from his peers and, at the age of 16, he joined the Ray Charles Band for a year. He then recorded his first single in 1957, "You Don't Treat Me Right", under the direction of Willie Dixon when Dixon saw him playing with the Walter Johnson orchestra. Eventually, he would join Guitar Slim's band and move to New Orleans, Louisiana. While in New Orleans, Shorty also fronted his own band which played regularly at the Dew Drop Inn where he was joined by special guests such as T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner and Little Richard.

Shorty next moved to the West Coast at 19 in order to play with Sam Cooke. He played up and down the west coast and Canada until he met his future wife, Marcia, in Seattle, Washington. His new wife turned out to be the half-sister of Jimi Hendrix, who attended several of Shorty's gigs and possibly being influenced by Shorty.

The following years were both good and bad; to get by at one point even, Shorty made an appearance on Chuck Barris' Gong Show, winning first prize for performing the song "They Call Me Guitar Shorty" while balanced on his head. He and his wife eventually settled in Los Angeles, California. Appearances at major festivals like The Monterey Bay Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The Chicago Blues Festival,The King Biscuit Blues Festival, and Alleyfest 2001 brought him to larger and larger audiences.

Get The Long and Short(y) of it here.

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