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Leroy Carr (Nashville, Tennessee, USA, March 27, 1905 – Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, April 29, 1935) was an American blues singer, songwriter and pianist who developed a laid-back, crooning technique and whose popularity and style influenced artists like Nat King Cole and Ray Charles. He first became famous for “How Long, How Long Blues”, with the guitarist Scrapper Blackwell on Vocalion Records in 1928 (as Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell), for which Carr wrote the music. The song is commonly referred to as “How Long Blues” and is a blues standard that has been recorded by many artists, not only in blues, but also country and western, pop, and jazz.

Although his recording career was cut short by an early death, Carr left behind a large body of work. He had a long-time partnership with guitarist Scrapper Blackwell. His light bluesy piano combined with Blackwell’s melodic jazz guitar to attract a sophisticated black audience. Carr’s vocal style moved blues singing toward an urban sophistication, influencing such singers as T-Bone Walker, Charles Brown, Amos Milburn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Ray Charles among others. Count Basie and Jimmy Rushing used some of Carr’s songs and Basie’s band shows the influence of Carr’s piano style. His music has been covered by notable artists such as Robert Johnson, Ray Charles, Big Bill Broonzy, Moon Mullican, Champion Jack Dupree, Lonnie Donegan and Memphis Slim. Carr died of nephritis shortly after his thirtieth birthday.

Leroy Carr Photo Gallery

  Leroy Carr