Arthur Big Boy Crudup Vol 3 1949 – 1952
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Arthur Big Boy Crudup
Complete Recorded Works (1941 1954)
Vol. 3: 11th March 1949 to 15th January 1952
Featuring the recordings of:
Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, vocal / guitar; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass; Judge Riley, drums. “Big Boy” Crudup, vocal / guitar; J. Sheffield, stand-up bass; N. Butler, drums.
Genres: Blues, Country Blues, Mississippi Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Urban Blues, Early Chicago Blues, Blues Guitar,
Abridged from this album’s original booklet notes. Arthur Big Boy Crudup, who had started his recording career with several hits for Bluebird in the early forties, sustained his popularity until the end of the decade. Although increasingly his melodies tended to be variations on two themes, the up-tempo That’s All Right, Mama one and a slow blues, he usually rang the changes lyrically. Some songs used elements from earlier successes by other artists, for example Any Time Is The Right Time seems to follow on from Night Time Is The Right Time by Roosevelt Sykes (both derive their melody from Leroy Carr‘s When The Sun Goes Down, Bluebird B-5877) and Where Did You Stay Last Night? reworks the lyrics of Jazz Gillum‘s Tell Me Mama, while others, like Love Me Mama (Rock Me Mama) reprised his own earlier material. As he was only living in Chicago on-and-off, Big Boy Crudup didn’t front blues bands and in 1950 he was still recording with the tried-and-tested accompaniment of Ransom Knowling on string-bass and Judge Riley on drums. But it was only a question of time before he switched to a fuller instrumentation. After 1945 Arthur began to spend more time with his family back in the South. Around 1948 he was living in Silver City in the Delta and playing at weekends with the likes of Elmore James and Rice Miller (“Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2”). At this time Miller was making a name for himself broadcasting regularly over radio station KFFA, West Memphis on the King Biscuit Flour Show. In 1951 Miller began to record for Trumpet Records and his first record for them (Eyesight To The Blind) was an immediate hit. One side of his second record was Do It If You Want To, an up-tempo number which Big Boy Crudup recorded the following year. Returning the compliment, another Miller Trumpet recording, Stop Crying, was the same song that Crudup had recorded in 1947 as You Know That I Love You. At the end of his April, 1951 session Crudup recorded one of his best known pieces, I’m Gonna Dig Myself A Hole (the Korean War prompted a number of blues by artists like Lightnin’ Hopkins and J. B. Lenoir). Jimmy Rogers had recorded a very similar This World’s In A Tangle some months earlier and David “Honeyboy” Edwards recorded his Build A Cave a few weeks later. Crudup later recorded a sequel, The War Is Over, to celebrate the end of the Korean War. In January, 1952; Crudup recorded a more serious war blues, leaving his woman to the unwelcome attentions of Mr. So And So. Big Boy Crudup‘s last Chicago session was in 1951. The 1952 / 3 / 4 Victor sessions were all held at radio station WGST in Atlanta, Georgia. The first of these continued the practice of using just drums and string bass support but in November, 1953, perhaps influenced by his flirtation with the independent labels in 1952, Crudup’s basic sound was complemented by piano and booting sax, putting him in competition with R & B chart stars like Rosco Gordon and Johnny Ace. Arthur’s sales may not have measured up but his records were still quality products. April, 1954 saw him with a different line-up again, harmonica replacing the tenor sax (perhaps in deference to the success of Muddy Waters with various harp players) and, for the first time (on Victor) another guitarist. It was a brave try but blues record buyers obviously considered Big Boy Crudup yesterday’s man and updating his sound wasn’t enough to change their minds. Victor had already dropped contracts, terminated as they withdrew from the blues field to concentrate on popular music.Bob Groom Copyright 1993 Document Records