ARTHUR ( Big Boy ) CRUDUP.
1905 - 1974.
The Father of Rock'n'Roll in the Service of Music


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Arthur Crudup is born in Forest, Mississippi on 24 August 1905, he moves with his mother and sister, to Indiana in 1916.

He is taken on as a labourer at a steel foundy in 1919.

Th Crudup family move back to Forest in 1926.

In 1937 at the age of 32 Arthur begins playing guitar, two years later he joins a gospel group called the Hamonizing Four.

He travels to Chicago as a member of the quartet in 1940, looking for some musical engagements and other forms of work, the following year after three weeks of homelessness and not having found steady employment at a restaurant or even a house cleaning service, Arthur is discovered on the street, by Lester Melrose and Doctor Clayton. Arthur makes his recording debut, for the Victor label in September of that year.

The highlight of Arthur's second recording session in 1942 is 'Mean Old Frisco Blues'. After a two year absence from the studio, during the momentous srike by the American Feeration of Musicians in 1944, Arthur records frequently until 1954, cutting classics such as 'That's All Right', 'Cool Disposition' and 'Rock Me Mama'.

In 1948 Arthur divides his time between Chicago and the South, where he plays juke joints with Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson II.

He records for the Ace, Trumpet and Checker record labels in 1952 and Elvis Presley records 'That's All Right', in 1954. Arthur retires from music and moves to Virginia, where he becomes a labour contractor.

Producer Bobby Robinson records Arthur for his Fire record label in 1962, Bob Koester records him for the Delmark label in 1967, and this gives the musician a new lease of life.

He plays festivals in the USA and travels to Britain in 1970 to play some concerts. He is billed as 'The Father of Rock'n'Roll', a title that bemuses him, in 1972 he tours in Australia.

Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup dies in Nassawadox, Virginia on 28 March 1974.


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Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup.

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