GUITAR SHORTY: TEXAS BLUES LEGEND by ED HUERTA

 A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE AUTHOR

World renowned artist and writer  Ed Huerta, “The Prince of Primitive”, was born in Los Angeles and currently resides in Long Beach, California.  A longtime musician, Ed has played in several L.A./O.C. bands, including The Jack Brewer Band, The Lazy Cowgirls, The Final Tourguides, Moist and Meaty, Mind Over 4, The Silly Millions, & Eddie & The Trays.  Huerta started painting in 2007 as a way to relieve stress and to forget about everyday problems.

Many of his paintings involve fictional situations comprised of famous iconic people i.e. Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Paul Lynde, Groucho Marx, Brian Wilson, & the likes of Charles Manson.  Several musicians, from jazz and blues icons/legends, to hard-working local musicians, are highlighted in his paintings.  Many of these paintings hang in the homes of famous artists and musicians and local Long Beach and Orange County establishments have Huerta’s work hanging on their walls and garden areas.

“Someone once told me that it looks like I’m grasping at that line between bad taste and achieving utter genius.  Many of my paintings reflect the battle of Good vs. Evil, or the battle within oneself.  My upbringing seems to permeate a lot of my work…the heaven and the hell along with the humor that one has to have to deal with every day life, whether it’s the fire one has to endure or brings upon himself, or the goodness one strives to accomplish.”

“I started painting with acrylic on canvas, hardboard and wood surfaces.  I like to recreate on round wood tabletops, old 78 rpm record labels.  I like the look that old 78 labels had.”  Ed has more recently experimented with oils in a lot of his portrait of jazz icon series work.  “The oils are warmer, breathe better…have a more life-like feel to them…but an obvious disadvantage for a left-hander!” Ed continues to play music (currently drumming in Lord Ransom and his Ranch Hands) and paint while his wife and two English Bulldogs and 3 cats lounge around and cheer him on.  The following article on Texas Blues Legend Guitar Shorty is Ed’s first contribution to Jackaboutguitars.  Enjoy.   – Jack

GUITAR SHORTY:  TEXAS BLUES LEGEND

Guitar Shorty is not your common household variety name, though he should be, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as guitarists Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimi Hendrix. He is known to have influenced both Buddy Guy and Jimi Hendrix.

 

In the world of blues guitarists, Guitar Shorty’s name rings as true as Muhammad Ali’s does to the sport of boxing. Surprisingly enough, Guitar Shorty was not born into this world with this moniker. He was born David William Kearney on September 8, 1939 in Houston, Texas.

Shortly after his arrival into this world, his parents split up and his mother moved to Kissimmee Florida where they both lived with his grandmother and uncle. This is where a young David learned to play the guitar. He would often sneak into his uncle’s room and mess around with his uncle’s guitar.(sounds like another character we have become acquainted with – see how the guitar bug bit me BIG TIME)  David’s hands were too small to fit around the neck so he would play the guitar much like a stand up bass.

 

After much prodding from grandma, his uncle finally showed David the correct way to address and play the guitar. During his high school years, David would go to school during the day and put on his working musician clothes at night. At the age of 16, according to lore, David was playing in a club as a vocalist/guitarist with the Walter Johnson Band where the marquee read “The Walter Johnson Band featuring Guitar Shorty”. Hence, he never looked back.

 

Soon after, Shorty joined the Ray Charles Band for a year. In 1957, at the age of 17, Shorty recorded his first single, “Irma Lee” b/w “You Don’t Treat Me Right” on the Cobra label under the direction of none other than famed blues bassist and composer, Willie Dixon. Soon after he was lured away by Guitar Slim’s Band and moved to New Orleans. It was during this tenure that Guitar Shorty started doing back flips and somersaults onstage, highly encouraged by Guitar Slim.

 

During this period, Shorty fronted his own band that became the house band at the legendary Dew Drop Inn. Guests musicians often included a veritable Who’s Who of legendary stature including Little Richard, Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Fats Domino and many other non nicknamed stars including Otis Rush. One night Sam Cooke came to town and was impressed enough by this whirling dervish of a man-child to offer him a job.

 

So at the tender age of 19, Shorty was on his way to the West Coast. Numerous gigs had him and his guitar traveling up and down the West Coast and Canada. He also worked and lived in Los Angeles up until he met his future wife, Marsha in Seattle, Washington in 1961. Marsha just happened to be the half-sister of some guy named Jimi Hendrix. Jimi would often catch Guitar Shorty’s shows in the Seattle area and they remained friends up until Hendrix’ untimely death.

 

Meanwhile, Shorty’s gigging and popularity was growing fast at this time and he recorded three singles for Los Angeles

Beatriz

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