Born 27 February 1911 Welsh, La.; Died 24 July 1986, Beaumont, Texas)
Garlow was a Louisianan and a seminal figure in the Gulf Coast music scene of the late 40s and early 50s. He was an important influence on both Clifton Chenier and Johnny Winter. He recorded the first commercially successful zydeco record, “Bon Ton Roula”, for Macys in 1949. He also recorded for Feature, Lyric, Aladdin, Flair, Folk Star and Goldband in a recording career that extended into the early 60s. “Route 90” (which is pretty much note for note identical to “Sweet Little Sixteen” and reportedly the inspiration for that Chuck Berry tune) was recorded for Flair in 1954; the flip side, “Crawfishin”, was recently covered by Marcia Ball. Garlow died in 1986 at the age of 75.
Johnny did a great interview with him in the early ’80s which he gave to Living Blues (on tape), but they never did anything with it– too bad. There was also some talk of them collaborating to record and do a gig or three at the end of Garlow’s life, but he died before anything happened. On Johnny’s new live CD, much of the guitar playing on “Just A Little Bit” is from Garlow’s “Sound The Bell,” which Johnny covered on one of his Alligator albums.
In the interview, Garlow talks about how he used to tour with Clifton Chenier in the early days, billed as “Two Crazy Frenchmen.”