365 Days of Album Recommendations – June 15

Leroy Carr – The Essential


As a bluesman, he had it. That thing. That combination of pathos and playfulness. He had it. And as a composer, he had it. That thing. He could turn a phrase, nail a progression, bury a hook, and craft a language. As a collaborator, he had it. That thing. That ability to, through partnership, become more than a sum of parts. He had it with many artists, none so important as Scrapper Blackwell. As a recording artist, he had it. That ability to deliver when it was time to deliver.

I can’t overestimate how influential Leroy Carr’s great performances are. Don’t get me wrong; alot of it is repetitive, formulaic of-its-era blues. But the good songs are so, so, so good. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes terrifying, sometimes funny, sometimes sexy, always so, so good. That’s why “The Essential” (or something equivalent) is ultimately what you have to get, so you can make sure you get all the beautiful ones, like:

  • How long, how long blues
  • Papa’s on the rooftop
  • Blues before sunrise
  • Don’t start no stuff
  • You got me grieving
  • It’s too short
  • Suicide blues
  • Church house blues
  • Six cold feet of ground

and so many more …

If those titles look familiar, by the way, it’s because they’re ALL part of the songlist for The Westside Sheiks!



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