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Remembering Legendary Blues Singer, Leroy Carr, Known For His Hit Single “How Long, How Long Blues”

Remembering Legendary Blues Singer Leroy Carr
Remembering Legendary Blues Singer Leroy Carr

 

Leroy Carr, a legendary blues singer, was best known for his laid-back style and crooning technique. Ray Charles and Nat King Cole were both influenced by his style. Carr rose to prominence with his hit single “How Long, How Long Blues,” which was released by Vocalion Records in 1928.

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Carr grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, after being born in Nashville, Tennessee. Carr moved to Indianapolis to live with his mother after leaving Nashville, a period punctuated by stints in a traveling circus, the United States Army, and jail. In addition to his various jobs, he was briefly married.

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Carr collaborated with guitarist Scrapper Blackwell in the 1920s, whose single-string acoustic leads complimented Carr’s delivery and foreshadowed solo techniques used by later electric guitar players. Their work exemplified the refinement and drive associated with a modern urban setting.

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Carr’s vocal phrasing was expressive, and his understated piano provided a solid foundation for Blackwell’s dramatic guitar runs. The duo recorded “How Long, How Long Blues” for the Vocalion label, which catapulted them to national prominence and commercial success.

“Blues Before Sunrise” (1932), “Midnight Hour Blues” (1932), and “Hurry Down Sunshine” (1932) are among his most famous songs (1934). He was longtime friends with guitarist Scrapper Blackwell. Carr’s music has been recorded by many artists, including Robert Johnson, Ray Charles, Big Bill Broonzy, Moon Mullican, and many more.

Carr was one of America’s most popular bluesmen in the early 1930s. However, despite his professional success, his personal life was out of control. He was an alcoholic who ran a small bootlegging operation, which many blamed for his death. Carr died of nephritis shortly after his thirtyth birthday in 1935. He left behind a massive catalog of blues, and his influence can be felt across generations of blues musicians.

 

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Written by How Africa News

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