Cajun bass player and singer Burton Gaar grew up listening to the sounds of great blues artists such as electric guitarist B.B. King and vocalist Bobby “Blue” Bland. Before he hit his teen years, he decided he wanted to become a musician and play the blues, too. Within a couple of years, as the ’50s were drawing to a close, he got his chance when he started working in his hometown of Baton Rouge, alongside blues legend Slim Harpo. Frequently, they worked the city’s Glass Hat Club. Gaar also played for a short time with the Boogie Kings. During the ’60s, Gaar went on to form a band of his own and they found work playing backup for visiting artists to Baton Rouge, a list that included zydeco artist Rockin’ Sidney and soulful singer Percy Sledge. Gaar drew such inspiration from Rockin’ Sidney that in the future he would dedicate one of his albums, Mighty Long Road, to the zydeco musician. Despite the fact that Gaar made music for almost four decades, he didn’t record a solo album of his own until 1996, when the Cajun-influenced Still Singing the Blues was issued with the Mudcats. The following year in Holland, he recorded One Hundred Pounds of Trouble, an album that performed well internationally. He is one of the musicians featured in the book Blues: Keeping the Faith by Keith Shadwick.
William Burton Gaar, Sr., age 68 of LeCompte, passed away Sunday, July 10, 2011, at Grace Home after a brief battle with cancer. He is survived by the love of his life of 47 years, Faye Clark Gaar; his two sons, William Burton Gaar, Jr. (Becky) of Tupelo, Mississippi, and Steven Louis Gaar (Marla) of Alexandria; brothers, Massey Gaar, Pensacola, Florida, Jack Gaar, Henderson, Nevada, John Gaar (Saundra), Austin, Texas, sister, Mary Gaar Myers (Brent), Woodworth; nine grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews and musician friends.