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Monday, January 25, 2010

Arthur Crudup: Complete Recorded Works Vol. 3


ARTHUR CRUDUP: COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS VOL. 3 (1949-1952)

1) Mercy Blues; 2) She's Just Like Caldonia; 3) Mean Old Santa Fe; 4) Behind Closed Doors; 5) She Ain't Nothin' But Trouble; 6) Oo-Wee Darling; 7) Anytime Is The Right Time; 8) My Baby Left Me; 9) Nobody Wants Me; 10) Star Bootlegger; 11) Too Much Competition; 12) Second Man Blues; 13) Pearly Lee; 14) Love Me Mama; 15) Never No More; 16) Where Did You Stay Last Night?; 17) I'm Gonna Dig Myself A Hole; 18) I'm Gonna Dig Myself A Hole (alt. take); 19) Goin' Back To Georgia; 20) Mr. So And So; 21) Do It If You Want To; 22) Keep On Drinkin'.

As the 1950s drew near, Big Boy finally decided to vary the formula — if only a little bit. He got himself a new guitar sound, explicitly more electrified and thick than before, learned a few extra chords (or so it would seem), and even dared to tread on the previously untrodden turf of a few giants. 'Anytime Is The Right Time', for instance, is a soft and sweet blues ballad in the vein of Lonnie Johnson; and for 'Nobody Wants Me', he assumes a plaintive lyrical tone that evokes the blues queens of the 1920s.

This is pretty much it, though. Except for those two songs and tiny signs of evolution as a player (and the generally much improved sound quality, but, what with the passing of time, this is to be expected), everything else is still The Slow One and The Fast One; and The Fast One is, once again, giving up its positions (the ratio on this volume is 13 : 8 in favor of The Slow One, not counting one alternate take), while The Slow One, if that is even possible, becomes even more generic than before — out of the 13, at least seven or eight start out with the exact same ringing chords. Alas, no «Guess That Melody» game for Arthur Crudup, I'm afraid.

Of course, this is also the volume that has 'My Baby Left Me' on it, and it has pretty much the same atmospheric spirit — a little dark, a little depressed, yet all very playful — that Elvis mana­ged to preserve with his cover. Which should not detract from realizing that it is the exact same song as 'That's All Right (Mama)', or even that pretty much all of its lyrics had already appeared on previous recordings of The Fast One, usually in sizable chunks.

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