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samedi 27 août 2022

PEE WEE CRAYTON/ 1960-1973





          If the recordings from the late 1940's and 1950's by one of the master of the Texas-California guitar blues style, Pee Wee Crayton have been well reissued and are generally still easily available, it's not the case of his later works, whether his last 45s from the 60's or his 1970's albums from his "rediscovery" years.


Connie Curtis (aka Pee Wee) Crayton was born 18th December 1914 at Liberty Hill (Texas) not far from Austin where his family moved while he was a child. In 1935, Pee Wee Crayton moved to Los Angeles and then Oakland where he worked in the local shipyards. Largely inspired by T-Bone Walker and John Collins, Nat King Cole's guitarist, Crayton started to play guitar in local clubs while he was still learning his instrument. He recorded his first 78's in 1948, hitting instantly with instrumentals like Blues after hours and Texas hop. After that, Crayton recorded prolifically during the 1950's for a lot of West Coast based labels like Capitol, Aladdin, Imperial (sessions in New Orleans with Dave Bartholomew's band). During this decade, Pee Wee crafted his own guitar style, being one of the top West Coast blues guitarist. He also handled nicely blues vocals with a smooth and smoky voice that pleased to his female audiences.

            But the 1960's were lean years for all the West Coast bluesmen, their style seeming a little bit old fashioned for the young African American audience and too sophisticated for the fledgling blues revival audiences all over the world much more enthralled on the raw Delta and Chicago blues. Pee Wee managed to record for small labels with low distribution and small sales like Jamie, Guyden, Edco or Smash but had to make a living out of music. Happily, in the late 60's, Johnny Otis took Pee Wee in his "Johnny Otis Show" a band of veterans R&B stars. He then resumed his career, appearing in major jazz and blues festivals like Monterey's. And recorded several albums that opened him the gates of the European scenes.

            Pee Wee Crayton died on 25 of June 1985 in Los Angeles.

We have gathered all his early 60's tracks (minus one that we were unable to find) plus his two LP's from the early 70's.

                                                           Gérard HERZHAFT


Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; band. Los Angeles, C. 2 june 1960

01. Money is all we need

02. Mistreated so bad

03. Twinky

04. Blue night

05. Mojo's blues

06. Need your love so bad

07. All or nothing at all (vcl: Esther Clayton)

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; band; Evelyn Freeman Singers, vcls. Los Angeles, Ca. may 1961

08. I'm still in love with you (Guyden)

09. Time on my hands

10. Tain't nobody's business if I do

11. Little bitty things

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; H.A. Blackwell Orchestra. Los Angeles, Ca. 24 may 1962

12. Git to gettin'

13. Hillbilly blues

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; band. Los Angeles, Ca. february 1962

14. Money tree

When darkness falls

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Gerald Wilson, pno; Jackie Kelso, t-sax; John Collins, tb; bs; Lee Young, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1964

15. Baby won't you please

16. Blues after dark

17. Good rocking tonight

18. Got my mojo working

19. How long blues

20. I've got news for you

21. Kansas City

22. Piney Brown blues

23. Stormy monday

24. Tain't nobody's business

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Larry Nash, pno; Lloyd Rowe, g; Ben Brown, bs; Robert Lee Dupree, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 17 august 1970

25. Every night

26. But on the other hand

27. Peace of mind

28. Let the good times roll

29. Blues after hours

30. You were wrong

31. Things I used to do

32. Little bitty things

33. S.K. blues

34. Long tall Texan

35. My kind of woman

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Zaven Jambazian, hca; Hamilton Spotts, vb/pno; Leon Haywood, pno; Shuggie Otis, bs/g*; Johnny Otis, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 11 july 1973

36. Don't forget to close the door

37. If I ever get lucky

38. Blues after hours*

39. Lucille

40. Need your love so bad

41. In the evening*

Pee Wee Crayton, vcl/g; Gene Connors, tb; Jackie Kelso, t-sax; Clifford Solomon, t-sax; Big Jim Wynn, b-sax; Johnny Otis, kbds; Shuggie Otis, bs/g; Johnny Otis, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 12 july 1973

42. Texas hop

43. Blues in the ghetto

44. Lou Ella Brown

45. My baby's on the line