Professor Longhair Vinyl Records Lps For Sale

Check out these new and used Professor Longhair vinyl records LPs for sale. We recommend starting your Professor Longhair vinyl collection with the essential albums Mardi gras in new orleans 1949-1957, Rock’n roll gumbo 1985 and New Orleans Piano. Our inventory is always changing, so check back often, or browse our list of vinyl records for sale from blues musicians.

Professor Longhair Vinyl Records Lps For Sale

Born as Henry Roeland Byrd on December 19, 1918, in Bogalusa, Louisiana, Professor Longhair would go on to become one of the most iconic and influential figures in the realm of New Orleans rhythm and blues. His distinctive piano style, infectious rhythms, and charismatic stage presence earned him the title of “The Ivory Emperor” and left an indelible mark on the musical landscape.

Early Years and Musical Roots:

Growing up in a musically rich environment, young Henry Roeland Byrd was exposed to the diverse sounds of New Orleans – from the vibrant jazz parades to the soulful blues emanating from the neighborhood clubs. His family’s relocation to the Crescent City when he was still a child further deepened his connection to the local music scene.

Byrd’s musical journey began with the guitar, but it was his encounter with a discarded piano in a garbage heap that would change the course of his life. Teaching himself to play by ear, he developed a unique style that incorporated elements of boogie-woogie, blues, and the syncopated rhythms of New Orleans.

Early Musical Career:

In the 1940s, Henry Byrd adopted the stage name Professor Longhair, a moniker that would become synonymous with the exuberant and playful piano style he brought to the forefront. His early performances in the local clubs of New Orleans showcased his ability to blend traditional New Orleans music with a personal flair that was uniquely his own.

Despite the infectious energy of his live performances, Professor Longhair faced challenges in gaining commercial success during this period. His recordings from the late 1940s and early 1950s, including tracks like “Bald Head” and “She Ain’t Got No Hair,” went relatively unnoticed at the time but would later be recognized as pivotal contributions to the New Orleans R&B sound.

Hits and Misses: The Atlantic Records Years:

Professor Longhair’s big break came in 1949 when he recorded for Atlantic Records. The sessions produced the classic “Bald Head,” a song that exemplified Longhair’s playful lyrics and rollicking piano style. Despite its regional success, national recognition proved elusive during this phase of his career.

Financial struggles and the ever-changing landscape of the music industry led Professor Longhair to step away from the spotlight for a period. However, his influence quietly permeated the New Orleans music scene, as local musicians and fans continued to appreciate his distinct musical contributions.

Rediscovery and Resurgence:

The late 1950s and early 1960s marked a resurgence for Professor Longhair, thanks in part to the emerging interest in traditional New Orleans music and rhythm and blues. His influence began to extend beyond the local scene, capturing the attention of a new generation of musicians and listeners.

In 1964, Professor Longhair released the album “Crawfish Fiesta,” produced by fellow musician and fan Dr. John. This album, with its spirited performances and Longhair’s signature piano playing, brought him critical acclaim and renewed interest in his work. The resurgence was further fueled by a dynamic live performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1971, where he captivated the audience with his infectious rhythms and magnetic stage presence.

The Ivory Emperor’s Signature Style:

Professor Longhair’s piano style is characterized by its syncopated rhythms, playful embellishments, and a distinctive rolling boogie-woogie. His left-hand bass lines, coupled with intricate right-hand patterns, created a sound that was both danceable and unmistakably New Orleans. Longhair’s vocal delivery, often marked by expressive yelps and humorous ad-libs, complemented his piano playing, adding a layer of charisma to his performances.

His ability to fuse various elements of New Orleans music – from jazz and blues to Mardi Gras Indian chants – contributed to the creation of a sound that transcended genres. Professor Longhair became a bridge between the musical traditions of the past and the evolving sounds of the future.

The Mardi Gras Mambo:

One of Professor Longhair’s enduring legacies is his association with the Mardi Gras tradition. His songs, particularly “Go to the Mardi Gras” and “Big Chief,” became anthems of the annual celebration. The rhythms and energy in these tracks captured the essence of the festive atmosphere, making them integral components of the Mardi Gras musical canon.

“Go to the Mardi Gras” became especially popular and has been covered by numerous artists, solidifying its status as a timeless Mardi Gras classic. The song’s infectious beat and Longhair’s exuberant piano playing have made it a staple in the celebrations that define New Orleans culture.

Personal and Professional Challenges:

While Professor Longhair’s influence continued to grow, his personal life faced challenges. Financial difficulties, health issues, and the unpredictability of the music industry posed ongoing hurdles. Despite these challenges, Longhair’s dedication to his craft and his love for the music kept him resilient.

His impact on subsequent generations of musicians, including Dr. John, Fats Domino, and Allen Toussaint, ensured that his musical legacy endured. These artists recognized Professor Longhair’s contributions as foundational to the New Orleans sound, and their own success further elevated Longhair’s status as a musical pioneer.

Later Years and Legacy:

Professor Longhair continued to perform and record throughout the 1970s, earning acclaim for his albums “Rock ‘n’ Roll Gumbo” and “House Party New Orleans Style.” His influence extended internationally, with European audiences embracing his music and style.

Tragically, on January 30, 1980, Professor Longhair passed away at the age of 61. His death was a profound loss to the music world, but his impact continued to reverberate. In 1981, he posthumously received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award for his classic recording “Tipitina.”

The legacy of Professor Longhair lives on not only through his recordings but also in the vibrant sounds of New Orleans today. His influence is evident in the work of countless musicians who have embraced the rhythmic traditions of the city, ensuring that the Ivory Emperor’s spirit continues to dance through the streets of New Orleans.


Professor Longhair’s journey from the backstreets of New Orleans to international acclaim epitomizes the power of a singular artist to shape the course of music history. His piano virtuosity, infectious rhythms, and enduring impact on the New Orleans sound have left an indelible mark. As the Ivory Emperor of rhythm and blues, Professor Longhair’s legacy extends far beyond his lifetime, echoing through the vibrant streets of the city he called home and resonating in the hearts of music lovers around the world.

Professor Longhair 1959 New Orleans R&B 45 on Ron ~ Cuttin Out ~ Hear

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Professor Longhair - Go to the Mardi Gras - 45 RPM * RON - 7 Inch- New Orleans!

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78 RPM - Professor Longhair (Roy Byrd), Mercury 8175, EE- Blues - New Orleans

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Professor Longhair Big Chief Part 1 & 2 FUNK on Watch Records

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Professor Longhair 1964 New Orleans R&B 45 on Watch ~ Big Chief ~ Hear

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