Penned For Larry-Bio

Larry Penn, aka Cream City Slim, of Milwaukee,Wisconsin (1927-2014), wore many hats over his 87 years of life including: Wisconsin's Labor Poet Laureate, award-winning songwriter, Union-man, toy maker, train lover, truck driver, husband, father, grandfather, veteran, civil-rights activist, friend and champion of America's working people in song and story. 

Long regarded as the The Father or Midwestern Folk, Larry's long and storied career as a folk musician spans more than 50 years. Singing his original and traditional songs of trucks, trains, hobo's, children, work, social-justice, and love; Larry's solo work took him from coast to coast with shows at theaters, rail-museums, house concerts, folk festivals, hobo gatherings, as well as his national tours with The Rose Tattoo (including Utah Phillips).

His many influences included: Woody Guthrie, Josh White, Lead Belly, Mississippi John Hurt and Dave Van Ronk 

Over the years, Larry opened for and/or shared the stage with Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, Dave Van Ronk, Bob Gibson, Joe Glazer Josh White Jr, Utah Phillips, Claudia Schmidt, Dave Moore, Spider John Koerner, Greg Brown, Rosalie Sorrels, Sparky Rucker, Gordon Bok, Fred Starner, Mark Dvorak and countless others.

Some of his best songs include: I'm A Little Cookie (recorded by over 23 artists), and On My Grandma's Patchwork Quilt. 

Now housed in The Smithsonian Folkways Catalogue, Larry recorded for Joe Glazer's Collector Records including his seminal works: Working For A Living, Still Feel Like Rolling, I'm A Little Cookie and Sticking with The Union, all still available on the Smithsonian label. Later, Larry released When Steam Was King, The Whiskey's Gone, A Ride On The Westbound, Railroad Queens of The Past, Live At The Pabst Theater w/Utah Phillips, War Stories, Around The Camp Fire (w/Lil Rev) and others on his own Cookie Man Music Label. In addition to Larry's rich body of self-released work, his songs were included in countless compilations ( for more info check out his discography) as well as a wealth of unreleased material. 


"Larry's work was as good as anything Woody Guthrie ever created." -Pete Seeger 

"I think, if there's a handful of songs out there, that'll be about all I can ask for. Everybody wants some kind of immortality, I think that would be good enough for me." - Larry Penn 

"If its true that elegant simplicity is equal to gold, then Larry Penn's collection of original music, represents the Fort Knox of American Folk Music. -Lil Rev 

"He'll forever be known as one of American Folk Musics' greatest craftsmen." -Mark Dvorak