Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup

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Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup (August 24, 1905 – March 28, 1974) was an American Delta blues singer,

songwriter and guitarist. He is best known outside blues circles for writing songs such as "That's All

Right" (1946), "My Baby Left Me" and "So Glad You're Mine", later cover

 

Career

 

Arthur Crudup was born in Forest, Mississippi. For a time he lived and worked throughout the South and

Midwest as a migrant worker. He and his family returned to Mississippi in 1926. He sang gospel, then

began his career as a blues singer around Clarksdale, Mississippi. As a member of the Harmonizing

Four, he visited Chicago in 1939. Crudup stayed in Chicago to work as a solo musician, but barely made

a living as a street singer. Record producer Lester Melrose allegedly found him while he was living in a

packing crate, introduced him to Tampa Red and signed him to a recording contract with RCA Victor's

Bluebird label.

 

He recorded with RCA in the late 1940s and with Ace Records, Checker Records and Trumpet Records in

the early 1950s and toured black clubs in the South, including with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore

James. He also recorded under the names Elmer James and Percy Lee Crudup. His songs "Mean Old

'Frisco Blues", "Who's Been Foolin' You" and "That's All Right" were popular in the South.

 

Crudup stopped recording in the 1950s, because of further battles over royalties. His last Chicago

session was in 1951. His 1952-54 recording sessions for Victor were held at radio station WGST in

Atlanta. He returned to recording with Fire Records and Delmark Records and touring in 1965.

Sometimes labeled as "The Father of Rock and Roll", he accepted this title with some bemusement. Throughout this time Crudup worked as a

laborer to augment the non-existent royalties and the small wages he received as a singer. Crudup returned to Mississippi after a dispute with

Melrose over royalties, then went into bootlegging, and later moved to Virginia where he had lived and worked as a musician and laborer. In the

early 1970s, two local Virginia activists, Celia Santiago and Margaret Carter, assisted him in an attempt to gain royalties he felt he was due, with

little success.

 

From the mid-1960s, Crudup returned to bootlegging and working as an agricultural laborer, chiefly in Virginia, where he lived with his family

including three sons and several of his own siblings. While he lived in relative poverty as a field laborer, he occasionally sang and supplied

moonshine to a number of drinking establishments, including one called The Dew-Drop Inn, in Northampton County, for some time prior to his

death from complications of heart disease and diabetes. On a 1970 trip to the United Kingdom, he recorded "Roebuck Man" with local musicians.

His last professional engagements were with Bonnie Raitt.

 

There was some confusion as to his actual date of death because of his use of several names, including those of his siblings. He died of a heart

attack in the Nassawadox hospital in Northampton County, Virginia in March 1974.

 

Crudup was honored with a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail placed at Fores

 

The Forum post is edited by bninna Aug 12 '15
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