Leroy Carr (March 27, 1905 – April 29, 1935) was an American blues singer, songwriter and pianist who developed a laid-back, crooning technique and whose popularity and style influenced such artists as Nat King Cole and Ray Charles. He first became famous for “How Long, How Long Blues“, released by Vocalion Records in 1928.
Carr was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. His recording career was cut short by his early death, but he produced a large body of work. Some of his most famous songs include “Blues Before Sunrise” (1932), “Midnight Hour Blues” (1932), and “Hurry Down Sunshine” (1934). He had a longtime partnership with the guitarist Scrapper Blackwell. His light bluesy piano combined with Blackwell’s melodic jazz guitar attracted 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, and Ray Charles, among others.