One of the more distinctive blues stylists around, Larry Garner has certainly made many take notice with his perceptive songwriting and his subtle musical attack. His latest album, Standing Room Only (Ruf), is entertaining and probably his most musically up-front album. It, however, suffers from relatively pedestrian songs. Songs like Do Your Personal Thing and Keep the Money seem rather ordinary when compared to some of the gems on his older recordings. The highlights may be his renditions of Gatemouth Brown The Drifter, and Henry Gray swamp-blues, Cold Chills.
When the album lists the producer as Jim Gaines (The Genius) you know something is up. Whatever his genius, Gaines has produced a record that is superficially exciting, but somewhat lackluster when compared to any of Garner earlier albums. In fact JSP has just repackaged, Too Blue, Garner’s second album, and a listen to these performances will perhaps enable some to understand just why Garner has become a favorite to many who know that the blues is more than simply loud guitar pyrotechnics.
Here is Larry Garner performing.