Mean Ol' Frisco

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup

Mean Ol' Frisco

The recordings that the Mississippi-born Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup cut for Bluebird and RCA Victor between 1941 and 1954 are some of the most viscerally affecting and enduringly influential electric blues sides ever waxed. They pinpoint the midway mark between the rugged country blues of the ‘30s and the heavily amplified juke music of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Crudup is most often remembered as Elvis’ favorite bluesman and the source of standards like “That’s Alright Mama” and “My Baby Left Me.” Yet his recordings occupy a unique place in blues history and deserve attention for their own considerable merits. Arthur cut Mean Ol’ Frisco for Bobby Robinson’s New York–based Fire imprint in 1962. The material here lets listeners hear Crudup in a more reflective, melancholy mood, a sound every bit as engaging as the rowdy barrelhouse blues of his younger days. This reissue, which came out on the Charly imprint in 2006, appends three bonus tracks to the 12 that originally appeared on the 1962 album, including the mournful standout “Love Her Just the Same."

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