Guitar Shorty was born David William Kearney on September 8, 1939 in Houston, Texas and raised in Kissimmee, Florida by his grandmother. He began playing guitar as a young boy, excited by the sounds of B.B. King, Guitar Slim, T-Bone Walker and Earl Hooker. After a move to Tampa when he was 17, Kearney won a slot as a featured guitarist and vocalist in Walter Johnson's 18-piece orchestra. Being younger-and shorter-than the rest of the band, the club owner bestowed the name Guitar Shorty on him, and it stuck. After a particularly strong performance in Florida, the great Willie Dixon, who was in the audience, approached Shorty about recording. A few weeks later Shorty was in Chicago and, backed by Otis Rush on second guitar, he cut his first single, Irma Lee b/w You Don't Treat Me Right, for Chicago's famed Cobra Records (the first label home for Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy) in 1957.
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