PEE WEE CRAYTON: Blues At Daybreak

Catalog # 761800

UPC # 602267618020

 

Pee Wee Crayton, guitar and vocals;

Randy Randolph, piano; Jim Higgin, guitar; Dominic Genova, bass; Larry Nash, piano; John Heard, bass; Harold Jones, drums;

 

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Captured live in the vibrant year of 1980, this album immortalizes a Pee Wee Crayton concert that resonated across television screens worldwide. Showcasing Rock n’ Roll-infused blues classics from the golden era of the 1950s, the collection features a mix of tracks penned by Crayton and his wife, Esther, highlighting their prolific partnership in music. The album bursts with the raw energy and electrifying atmosphere of a live performance, driven by the rich, soul-stirring sounds of electric guitars, melodious piano arrangements, and the deep, resonant voice of Pee Wee Crayton himself.

Among the gems is ‘Texas Hop,’ a standout track from the 1950s that not only secured Crayton’s place in the blues pantheon but also influenced a generation of blues-guitar instrumentalists, including legends like B.B. King and Elvis Presley. ‘Texas Hop’ is celebrated for its pioneering spirit, featuring spirited improvisations and a blues narrative expressed through the guitar. Its tightly structured composition, adorned with call-and-response phrases and riff-based melodies, is enriched by the half-step bends that defined the sound of the era.

This album is a testament to Pee Wee Crayton’s enduring legacy as ‘the little man with a big sound.’ It captures the essence of his mastery and the vigor of his performances, offering listeners a timeless journey through the heart of 1950s blues, infused with the unique energy that only a live recording can provide.” sound.

Song Selection:

  1. If I Ever Get Lucky
  2. Blues At Daybreak
  3. Texas Hop
  4. The Telephone’s Ringing
  5. Treat Her Right

Produced by: Bob Karcy

About Pee Wee Crayton:

Connie Curtis Crayton (1914-1985), known as Pee Wee Crayton, was an American R&B and Blues guitarist and singer, who was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.Crayton was born in Texas, and later moved to California. While there, he absorbed the music of T-Bone Walker but developed his own unique approach. His aggressive playing contrasted with his smooth vocal style and was copied by many later blues guitarists.

In 1948, he signed a recording contract with Modern Records. One of his first recordings was the instrumental “Blues After Hours”, which reached number 1 on the Billboard R&B chart late that year. Its B-side, the pop ballad “I’m Still in Love with You”, and the quicker “Texas Hop” are good examples of his work.In 1950, Crayton and his Orchestra performed at the sixth Cavalcade of Jazz concert, held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and produced by Leon Hefflin, Sr. on June 25. Featured on the same day were Lionel Hampton, Roy Milton’s Orchestra, Dinah Washington, Tiny Davis and Her Hell Divers, and other artists. 16,000 were reported to be in attendance. The concert ended early because of a fracas while Lionel Hampton played “Flying High”.

He went on to record for many other record labels in the 1950s, including Imperial in New Orleans, Vee-Jay in Chicago and Jamie in Philadelphia. It is thought he was the first blues guitarist to use a Fender Stratocaster, playing one given to him by Leo Fender.

His opening guitar riff on the 1954 single “Do Unto Others” was “quoted” by John Lennon in the beginning of the B-side single version of “Revolution” released by The Beatles on Apple Records in 1968.

Crayton launched a musical comeback in 1970, when he played with Johnny Otis at the Monterey Jazz Festival. He released his first album, Things I Used to Do (Vanguard), the following year. Crayton also performed on albums by Lightnin’ Hopkins, Joe Turner, and Dizzy Gillespie. He continued to record and tour throughout the remainder of his life, and his performances included an appearance at Antone’s in Austin.

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