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PRIMARY WAVE PICKS UP STAKE IN CRUDUP CLASSICS

Primary Wave has acquired an interest in the music catalog of Delta blues legend Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. Included in the deal with Crudup’s heirs are some of the writer/singer/guitarist’s biggest hits, including “That’s All Right,” “My Baby Left Me” and “So Glad You’re Mine.”

After all three songs were recorded by Elvis Presley, Crudup—whose most productive period was the 1940s—came to be known as one of the forefathers of rock ‘n’ roll, along with a handful of his contemporaries, as we recount in our special issue on black-music history, which is being posted serially on the site.   

“We’re excited to add Arthur Crudup’s songs and have him as part of our growing roster of artists and catalogs,” says Primary Wave prexy Justin Shukat. “He was an innovator and a classic blues artist. We look forward to carrying on the legacy of this legendary musician and working with his estate to create new opportunities that will introduce his music to a new generation of music fans.”

Although Crudup didn’t start playing guitar until he was in his 30s, he became one of America’s top-selling blues artists. In 1941, while playing on the streets of Chicago, he was offered a chance to record for RCA Victor’s Bluebird label, recording with them until 1954. Rarely performing live, Crudup preferred juke joints to theaters, playing alongside contemporaries like Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson. In 1961, after a long layoff, Crudup resurfaced with an album for Bobby Robinson’s Harlem-based Fire label featuring remakes of his Bluebird hits. He disappeared from view again, putting down his guitar and drifting into contract farm labor, until Big Joe Williams tipped off Delmark boss Bob Koester as to the elusive legend’s whereabouts. Crudup resumed playing and continued through his late 60s, making decent money and playing various blues and folk festivals until his death in 1974.

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