Monday, 14 December 2015

Pee Wee Crayton (Crown LP 5175)





Many thanks to El Enmascarado for salvaging this Crown LP for our aural delectation. It's the familiar budget label packaging which just adds to the charm - cardboard sleeve with good front cover  picture, generic back cover slapped on to the sleeve at an odd angle, and minimal labels on the disc itself which at least seem to list the tracks which are actually on the record (we hope).

This LP was originally released in 1960, but the illustrations on the back cover and the plain white label with crown logo point to this copy being an early 1970s issue, sometime between the end of 1969 and 1972 when Crown stopped issuing records.

Tracks:

Side 1
1. Texas Hop
2. Blues After Hours
3. Phone Call From My Baby
4. Tired Of Travelin'
5. California Women

Side 2
1. Blues In My Heart
2. Pee Wee's Boogie
3. Old Fashioned Baby
4. Blues For My Baby
5. My Everything

"Texas Hop" recorded in Los Angeles, 1948. Originally issued as single Modern 20-643. Features Buddy Floyd on tenor sax.

"Blues After Hours" recorded in Los Angeles, September 1948. Original single release Modern 20-624.

"Tired of Travelin'" recorded in Los Angeles, 1951. Rerecording of single release Modern 20-796, recorded in late 1949.

"Phone Call From My Baby" and "Blues In My Heart" recorded in Los Angeles, August 1950. Both first issued on this LP. Backing musicians include Ben Webster (tenor sax) and Joe Comfort (bass). "Blues In My Heart" is an alternate take (with added echo) of "Answer To Blues after Hours" Modern single 20-763.

"California Women," "Pee Wee's Boogie," "Blues For My Baby," and "My Everything" all recorded in Los Angeles circa late 1951 and first released on this LP.

"Old Fashioned Baby" was recorded in Los Angeles, late 1949. Original single release Modern 20-719.
Connie Curtis Crayton was born in Texas in 1914, spent his youth in Austin and moved out to the West Coast in 1935. In the early 1940s he took up blues guitar playing, being mentored by none other than the great T-Bone Walker. His first professional gigs were with the small bands of Count Otis Matthews and Ivory Joe Hunter and his first recordings were with the latter combo. In 1948 he was signed by Modern Records. In September of that year he recorded a moody instrumental "Blues After Hours" which topped the Race Records chart by the end of October.


Also in the charts at the time - Sonny Thompson with the equally moody "Late Freight" a follow up to "Long Gone" which was surely an inspiration for "Blues After Hours."



In February 1949 Pee Wee had a second big chart hit on Modern with the rollicking instrumental "Texas Hop" which featured brilliant sax work by Buddy Floyd. This time round Pee Wee's disc peaked at number 5, and was soon followed by his third and last hit, "I Love You So."



Pee Wee continued to cut sides for Modern until October 1951. Although it was mostly primo jump, boogie and blues, nothing else charted and in November Pee Wee moved over to Aladdin Records for one session. In 1953 he recorded material for John Dolphin's Recorded In Hollywood label. In 1954 he was recording for Imperial with Dave Bartholomew's band and in 1956 - 57 he recorded some good stuff for Vee Jay.

Thereafter his recording career became very intermittent and he dropped out of the music business. In 1970 there was the start of a revival when he appeared at the Monterey Jazz festival with Johnny Otis which led to an album for Vanguard and further recordings with Otis. Pee Wee was still active as interest in genuine 1940s R&B continued to revive in the 1980s. He recorded with Rod Piazza, appeared at festivals, and saw his 1940s and 50s Modern material reissued by Ace (UK). Unfortunately Pee Wee died of a heart attack in 1985.

Ace have repackaged his Modern sides in 3 CDs. Your starting point should be Ace CD CHD 632 "The Modern Legacy Volume 1." Get hip or stay square as they say!


With many thanks to El Enmascarado for reviving this scratched old Crown LP. Merry Christmas, Compadre!

1 comment:

barry bingham said...

many thanx boogiewoody