Saturday, April 13, 2013

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup - Sunny Road (Delmark, 2013)

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup is most well remembered today as the man who inspired Elvis Presely with his song "That's All Right Mama" but he was really much more. Crudup grew up in Mississippi then moved to Chicago in the late 1930's. Living rough, Crudup found early success by recording for the Bluebird label amongst others through the 1950's. Like many blues musicians, he dropped out of the music business, before being "rediscovered" in the 1960's. This album was recorded in 1969 with a group featuring Jimmy Dawkins (who sadly just passed away) on guitar and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums. Crudup doesn't show any ill-effects from the time off on this album, his voice is steady and strong and his guitar is rhythmic and propulsive. The session has an informal nature, exemplified by the included studio banter, where producer Bob Coster tries to coax a little something different out of the band. Crudup was having none of it, insisting that he was feeling the blues, and then ending the session with a lengthy and haunting song, "All I Got Is Gone." He riffs of the "Dust My Broom" theme for "Called Up China" weaves thoughtful and deep stories on the songs "The Mistake I Made in L.A." and "I'm Leaving Town." This short LP is very well played and definitely of interest to listeners who enjoy the history of the Chicago blues. Crudup was there in the 30's and 40's under the producer Lester Melrose, and then near thirty years later he was back on the scene sounding as good as ever. Sunny Road -

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