Record Title: Texas Blues Jumpin’ In Los Angeles: The Modern Sessions 1948-1951
Record Label: Ace
Crayton was an talented blues guitarist whose work can be traced back to the innovations of T-Bone Walker but Crayton was more than a mere copyist. In fact, his work on the guitar was full of imagination, innovation and originality. Anyone who has heard his take on the track Texas Hop or Poppa Stoppa will testify that. In fact, there’s a uniquely aggressive tone to Crayton’s work that makes his work so deliciously attractive.
This CD collection is, in fact, Part 3 of a trilogy. The other two being Pee Wee Crayton: The Modern Legacy Volume 1 and Pee Wee Crayton, Blues Guitar Magic: The Modern Legacy Volume 2. This collection of tracks from Crayton’s time at the Modern record label covers his work from September 1948 to 14 March 1951. Most of the included tracks are previously unreleased with all sourced from three and a half hours worth of fragile and very valuable acetate discs. Most of the music consists of outtakes which, to me, makes the work far more interesting than final releases because it shows the creative artist at work and, more importantly, how he was working, developing his songs. So you will find a mixture of vocal and instrumental jump blues and ballads. Accompanying Crayton are some pretty mean instrumentalists such as Ben Webster and Buddy Floyd on sax, Harry “Sweets” Edison on trumpet and Jay McShann and Willard McDaniel on keys.
Listening to this CD, you are constantly on tenterhooks because you never know, even on initially quiet numbers, when Crayton is going to strike out and unleash a nasty chord. It’s this crude power potential which serves to provide Crayton with an almost animalistic edge. Even his more concentrated, rhythmic guitar solos are deliberate, slightly primeval in nature.
This is a CD to reckon with.