Local Musical CDs Yield Interest
By Bill Massey
Eastern Shore Post
May 31, 2000
For the land of pleasant living that has a population
barely reaching 50,000. Virginia's Eastern Shore has quite a lively
music scene, not just in local performers streching their popularity and
name recognition to beyond our two counties, but in recording projects
One of the best contemporary blues CDs released in
the late '90's was Guitar Slime Jr's "Nothing Nice." It received
excellent nationwide reviews in many major blues magazines, and the material
of the CD is still the most requested of Slim in his native New Orleans
appearances. Recorded in Memphis, New Orleans, and Virginia Beach,
the project was initialed and then supervised by Billy Sturgis of Franktown
for his then-fledgling Warehouse Creek Recording Corporation.
Now, as summer approaches, Warehouse Creek Records
has just released it's second blues effort, "Franktown Blues," by the Crudup
It is excellent throughout. Many of the songs
were written by legendary blues artist Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, who spent
most of his last 20 years in the Nassawadox-Franktown are where he was
employed as a migrant crewleader by day, while at night he performed his
original, Mississippi Delta-style material in local "race clubs."
As a child, Sturgis was strongly attracted to Crudup's
music, and he got the idea of having Crudup's songs interpreted by his
sons, James, George, and Jonas, during his studio sessions with Guitar
In 1969 and '70 the sons, in their own right, had performed
up and down the East Coast, from New York to Florida, as "The Malibus,"
but by the mid-70's they had disbanded and gone their separate ways.
With the aid of local relative, and "Franktown Blues"
producer Tim Drummond, Sturgis located them. An informal session
was arranged among the brothers, Sturgis, and Drummond, and it quickly
became apparent to them that the three sons hadn't lost so much as a note.
Consequently, plans for a recording were informally launched.
"That's All Right Mama" starts off this highly energized
contemporary blues CD. As well as being a rock and roll classic by
Elvis, the song was Big Boy's signature, but "Greyhound Bus," "Mean Old
Frisco Blues," "Old and Grey," and "Look on Yonders Wall" are also included
to represent Big Boy's timeless blues writing.
The sons, too, contribute their songwriting ability
on four numbers; another eight are by various artists, and they all add
up to today's blues performed at their best. With the addition of
the Memphis Horns, and outstanding instrumental solos by the likes of Lonnie
Mack, Tim Drummond, Mike Utley, and Greg "Fingers" Taylor, one couldn't
ask for a more professional sound. And, just as importantly, the
CD never loses it's pacing. One doesn't get halfway through listening
and become bored.
In "Franktown Blues," ever song is a keeper, and the
vitality of the blues never compromised.