The Scat Man Crothers R&B Legacy 1944-1956 (2-CD)
  • Capitol 15076
    Capitol 15076
  • Orchid 1-A
    Orchid 1-A
  • London 17008
    London 17008
  • Decca 29097
    Decca 29097
  • RIH 142
    RIH 142
  • MGM 12199
    MGM 12199
  • Scat Man Crothers
    Scat Man Crothers

Scat Man Crothers

The Scat Man Crothers R&B Legacy 1944-1956 (2-CD)

Fresh Sound Records

Personnel:
Scat Man Crothers (vcl, d), Leroy Nabors, Ted Buckner (tp), Calvin Boze (tp, vcl), Red Nichols (cnt), Vic Dickenson, King Jackson (tb), Jimmy Harris, Marshall Royal, Benny Carter (as), Rosy McHargue, Joe Darensbourg (cl), Lucky Thompson, Joe Rushton, Maxwell Davis (ts), Que Martin (ts, cl, bs), Lee Barnes, Riff Charles, Gerald Wiggins, Bob Hammack, Eddie Beal (p), Danny Barker, Chuck Norris, Lafayette Thomas, Frank Pasley (g), Syl Turpin, John Simmons, Luther Roundtree, Red Callender, Dave Bryant (b), Jesse Price, Rollie Culver, Chico Hamilton (d), Phil Harris (vcl), Ernie “Bubbles” Whitman (MC)

Reference: FSRCD1110

Bar code: 8427328611107

Scat Man Crothers was amulti-talented entertainer of the old school. In addition to acting, he sang, danced, did comedy and played a number of musical instruments, including drums, ukulele and guitar.

Born Benjamin Sherman Crothers on May 23, 1910, at fifteen he got a job playing drums in a local speakeasy. Four years later he was touring the Midwest and wound up in Dayton, Ohio, where he found a job on radio station WFMK, where his style of singing earned him the name Scat Man.

His career gained momentum in 1943 with a booking at Chicago’s Capitol Lounge, and from there, he was off to Hollywood and Billy Berg’s famous Swing Club. Things slowed down after the war, until he recorded “Dead Man’s Blues” for Capitol in 1948, the same year he became the first black performer to host a TV Program in Los Angeles.

Playing as a single at the Oasis club, his big break came in 1952 when producer Albert J. Cohen offered him a part in his upcoming movie, Meet Me at the Fair, which started Crother’s extensive film career, including such classics as The Shining and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. But TV was where Crothers really found fame, beginning with Disney’s The Aristocats.

Until his death in 1986, he participated on countless shows, a work which earned him a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Including accurate liner notes by singer and music historian Billy Vera in a well-documented 20-page boolet. Scat Man Crothers' early recorded works are presented here for the first time, in his unique and personal Swing, Blues and R&B-tinged style. Enjoy his important but largely forgotten contribution to music history!

Tracklist

Sample this album
Disc 1
Disc 2
Total time: 141:54 min.


CD 1
01. Fine (Benjamin Crothers) 2:20
02. Shoo Shoo Baby (Phil Moore) 2:43
03. One O'Clock Jump (Count Basie) 1:14
04. Riff’s Blues (Riff Charles) 2:55
05. The Thing (Riff Charles) 3:06
06. Mabel the Lush (Riff Charles) 2:39
07. Dead Man's Blues (Riff Charles) 3:09
08. Have You Got the Gumption (To Make the Assumption) (Austin-Smith) 2:55
09. Just Lookin' (Austin-Smith) 3:06
10. Blue-Eyed Sally (Bernard-Robinson) 2:28
11. I'm the Only Man (The Buscuit Song) (Billy Charles) 2:47
12. Do Something (Green-Stept) 2:48
13. I'd Rather Be a Hummingbird (Riff Charles) 3:14
14. Chattanoogie Shoe-Shine Boy (Stone-Stapp) 3:15
15. Wondering (Carruthers) 2:43
16. Exactly Like You (Fields-McHugh) 2:12
17. It's You (Carruthers) 2:40
18. Keep It Hot (Benjamin Crothers) 3:03
19. Unemployment Blues (Virgil Phemister) 3:15
20. Shuffleboard Blues (Reed-Phemister) 3:04
21. I'd Rather Be a Rooster (With a Flock of Chicks) (Gomez-Vance) 2:54
22. Television Blues (Jones-Vilia) 2:54
23. Beale Street on a Saturday Night (Crothers-Moffet) 2:48
24. King Berman's Stomp (Joe Greene) 2:41
25. A-Gruntin' and A-Groanin' (TheWrestler’s Song) (Joe Greene) 2:16
26. Free Samples (Joe Greene) 2:18
27. Just Like Two Drops ofWater (Joe Greene) 2:23

CD 2
01. Elaine (Benjamin Crothers) 2:24
02. Man, Have I Got Troubles (Wynonie Harris) 2:47
03. It's a Sin to Tell a Lie (Mayhew-Smith) 3:20
04. Hot Rod Harry (The Coolest Cat In Town) (Darensbourg-Medley) 2:27
05. Hot Rod Cowboy (Darensbourg-Medley) 2:57
06. Saturday Night Drag Race, Part 1 (Darensbourg-Medley) 2:43
07. Saturday Night Drag Race, Part 2 (Darensbourg-Medley) 2:44
08. Papa (I Don't Treat That Little Girl Mean) (Jacques) 2:36
9. I Like Your Mother Better (Cameron-Dolphin) 2:46
10. Easy Money (Benjamin Crothers) [Mastertake] 2:45
11. Easy Money (Benjamin Crothers) [Alternate take] 2:19
12. Waiting for My Baby (Benjamin Crothers) 2:43
13. Beale Street on Saturday Night (Benjamin Crothers) 2:57
14. Walkin' My Baby Back Home (Turk-Ahlert-Richman) 2:55
15. Honeysuckle Rose (Waller-Razaf) 2:31
16. On The Sunny Side of the Street (McHugh-Fields) 3:08
17. A Smile Will Go a Long Way (Davis-Akst) 2:16
18. Keep That Coffee Hot (Adams-Corelli) 2:48
19. Dearest One (Benjamin Crothers) 2:08
20. Pork 'N' Beans (Charles Embree) 2:36
21. When OhWhen (Benjamin Crothers) 2:40
22. Do You Love Me? (Stan Freberg) 2:41
23. Sweet Lips (Jazz Lips) (Robin-Armstrong) 2:19
24. Waitin' for My Baby (Savoy Blues) (Ory-Robin) 2:54
25. The Death of Emmett Till, Part 1 (A.C. Bilbrew) 2:24
26. The Death of Emmett Till, Part 2 (A.C. Bilbrew) 2:23

Album details

Sources CD 1:
Tracks #1-3, from Jubilee No. 70
Tracks #4 & 6, from Capitol 15220
Tracks #5 & 7, from Capitol 15076
Tracks #8 & 12, from Capitol 15431
Tracks #9 & 11, from Capitol 57-70062
Tracks #10 & 13, from Capitol 15383
Track #14, from RCA Victor 47-3216
Tracks #15 & 17, from Modern 20-560
Tracks #16 & 18, unissued
Track #19, from Orchid 2-A
Track #20, from Orchid 1-A
Tracks #21 & 22, from London 17008
Track #23, from Aladdin 3079
Tracks #24 & 27, from Intro 6017
Tracks #25 & 26, from Intro 6016

Sources CD 2:
Tracks #1 & 2, from Recorded in Hollywood 152
Track #3, from Cava-Tone 252
Track #4, from Colossal 101
Track #5, from Colossal 102
Tracks #6 & 7, from Hot Rod 45 x-1002
Track #8, from Recorded in Hollywood 142
Track #9, from Recorded in Hollywood 168
Tracks #10 & 12, from Recorded in Hollywood 401
Tracks #11 & 13, unissued
Tracks #14 & 15, from Decca 28895
Tracks #16 & 17, from Decca 29097
Tracks #18 & 19, from Century 710
Tracks #20 & 21, from Century 712
Track #22, from Decca 29820
Tracks #23 & 24, from MGM 12199
Tracks #25 & 26, from Dootone 382

Personnel on CD 1 [1944-1951]:

Tracks #1-3: SCAT MAN CROTHERS and His Orchestra
Scat Man Crothers (vocals, drums) with prob. Leroy Nabors (trumpet); Jimmy Harris (alto sax); Lee Barnes (piano); Syl Turpin (bass); ensemble (vocals); Ernie
“Bubbles” Whitman (MC).
Recorded at NBC Studios, Hollywood, March 1944

Tracks #4-7: SCAT MAN CROTHERS with RIFF CHARLES and Friends, featuring VIC DICKENSON’S Trombone
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Vic Dickenson (trombone); Riff Charles (piano); unknow g, b, d.
Recorded in Los Angeles, February 18, 1948

Tracks #8 & 9: SCAT MAN CROTHERS
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Lucky Thompson (tenor sax); unknow tp, tb, p, g, b, d.
Recorded in Los Angeles, August 25, 1948

Tracks #10-13: SCAT MAN CROTHERS
ScatMan Crothers (vocals); Gerald Wiggins (piano); Danny Barker (guitar); John Simmons (bass); Jesse Price (drums).
Recorded in Los Angeles, January 10, 1949

Track #14: PHIL HARRIS and His Orchestra
Scat Man Crothers (announcing himself as “Scat Man Ralph”), speech with Phil Harris (vocals); prob. Red Nichols (cornet); King Jackson (trombone); Rosy McHargue (clarinet); Joe Rushton (tenor sax); Bob Hammack (piano); Luther Roundtree (bass); Rollie Culver (drums).
Recorded in Los Angeles, Spring 1949

Tracks #15-18: SCAT MAN CROTHERS
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); unknow tp, as, p, b, d; ensemble (vocals-1).
Recorded in Los Angeles, June 8, 1949

Tracks #19 & 20: SCAT MAN CROTHERS Cosmo Combo
Scat Man Crothers (vocals) with unknow p, g, b.
Recorded in Los Angeles, November 1949

Tracks #21 & 22: SCAT MAN CROTHERS with Orchestral Accompaniment
Scat Man Crothers (vocals) with unknow tp, as, ts, p, g, b, d.
Recorded in Los Angeles, January 1950

Track #23: CALVIN BOZE with MAXWELL DAVIS Orchestra
Calvin Boze (trumpet, vocals) with prob. Marshall Royal (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); unknow bar, p, g, b, d; Scat Man Crothers (speech); ensemble (vocals).
Recorded in Los Angeles, January 15, 1951

Tracks #24-27: SCAT MAN CROTHERS with RED CALLENDER’s Sextet
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); prob. Marshall Royal (alto sax); Que Martin (tenor, baritone sax); Eddie Beal (piano); Chuck Norris (guitar); Red Callender (bass); Chico Hamilton (drums); ensemble (vocals on #27).
Recorded in Los Angeles, April 16, 1951

Personnel on CD 2 [1951-1956]:

Tracks #1 & 2: SCAT MAN CROTHERS
Scat Man Crothers (vocals) with prob. Red Callender (bass); unknow p, g.
Recorded in Los Angeles, 1951

Track #3: SCAT MAN CROTHERS & The JIMMY WILSON Band
Jimmy Wilson (vocals); Scat Man Crothers (vocals, speech); Lafayette Thomas (guitar); unknow p, b, d.
Recorded in San Francisco, 1951

Tracks #4-7: SCAT MAN CROTHERS with JOE DARENSBOURG and his Flat Out Five
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Joe Darensbourg (clarinet); Teddy Buckner (trumpet); Gerald Wiggins (piano); Frank Pasley (guitar); Dave Bryant (bass); ensemble (vcl on #6-7).
Recorded in Los Angeles, November 1952

Tracks #8-13: SCAT MAN CROTHERS -Music by RED CALLENDER Sextette
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); prob. Que Martin (clarinet, alto, tenor, baritone saxes); Eddie Beal (piano); Chuck Norris (guitar); Red Callender (bass); Chico Hamilton (drums); overdubbed audience on #10; unknow tp intro #10.
Recorded in Los Angeles, January 29, 1952; and February 19 (#4), 1953

Tracks #14-17: SCAT MAN CROTHERS with MATTY MATLOCK and His All-Stars
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Matty Matlock (clarinet, alto sax); unknow tp; prob. Eddie Miller (tenor sax); Stan Wrightsman (piano); George Van Eps (guitar); Phil Stevens (bass); Nick Fatool (drums).
Recorded in Los Angeles, September 8, 1953

Tracks #18-21: SCAT MAN CROTHERS & The Mellow Men with BENNY CARTER’s Orchestra (#18, 20, 21)
SCAT MAN CROTHERS with HENRY RUSSELL’s Orchestra (#19)
ScatMan Crothers & The Mellow Men (vocals); Benny Carter (alto sax, solo on#21); unknown tb, ts, bs, p, g, d.
On #19, prob. same personnel with Strings added.
Recorded in Los Angeles, circa January 1955

Track #22: ALVINO REY, His Talking Steel Guitar and Orchestra with SCAT MAN
Alvino Rey (steel-guitar); unknow p, g, b, d; Scat Man Crothers (vocals); The Revelaires (vocals chorus).
Recorded in Los Angeles, December 13, 1955

Tracks #23 & 24: SCAT MAN CROTHERS with MATTY MATLOCK and His Orchestra
Scat Man Crothers (vocals); Matty Matlock (clarinet); Dick Cathcart (trumpet); Abe Lincoln (trombone); Eddie Miller (tenor sax); Stan Wrightsman (piano); Phil Stevens (bass); Nick Fatool (drums).
Recorded in Los Angeles, 1956

Tracks #25 & 26: THE RAMPARTS
Scat Man Crothers (vocals, guitar); unknow el-b.
Recorded in Los Angeles, 1956

Liner notes: Billy Vera
Photos © Fresh Sound archives
Project compilation, coordination & production: Daniel Gugolz
Executive Producer: Jordi Pujol

Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas S.L.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
Many thanks for their help: DieterMoll, Victor Pearlin, Dan Kochakian, Billy Vera, Galen Gart and Klaus Kettner

Press reviews

"Blues & Rhythm readers will recall Scott Cokely and Dan Kochakian’s ground-breaking listing of releases on 78s, 45s, EPs and albums by Benjamin ‘Scat Man’ Crothers published in issue 167 (March 2002) as well as subsequent letters/updates to the listing which appeared in subsequent issues plus Dan Kochakian’s feature in B&R 318 (April 2017) on Scat Man’s Colossal Records releases.

Crothers was an all-round entertainer – a singer, dancer, drummer, comedian and a film and television actor with ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’, ‘The Aristocats’ and ‘The Shining’ and regular television appearances to his acting credits.

In his notes Billy Vera documents Crothers career from the late 1920s through to his passing in 1986. Born in 1910 in Terre Haute, Indiana he played drums as a teenager in clubs, appeared on radio on WFMK (where he got his nickname from ‘scatting’ songs), before moving to Hollywood where he formed ‘a jive combination’ as well as holding down the drum stool in Slim Gaillard’s trio. Compliler/producer Daniel Gugloz has produced an updated discography complete with line-ups (where known), recording info and label data.

Kicking off in 1944 with three sides on an AFRS Jubilee transcription disc (number 70) and MC’d by Ernie ‘Bubbles’ Whitman, Scat Man’s combo performs ‘Fine’, ‘Shoo Shoo’ and Basie’s ‘One O’Clock Jump’.

He next appeared on shellac in 1948 on Capitol with Riff Charles on piano and Vic Dickenson on trombone – recording ‘Riff’s Blues’, the jive talking ‘The Thing’, the story of ‘Mabel The Lush’ (who is at the ‘fillin’ station loading up with Phillips 66’) rounded off with ‘Dead Man’ – a fine blues song.

He cut two more sides for Capitol in 1948 with Lucky Thompson. ‘Gumption’ is good jump blues while ‘Just Lookin’’ is a song about the problems of being flat broke. A further session for Capitol took place in 1949 with Danny Barker on guitar and Jesse Price on drums with Crothers waxing four sides including the scat number ‘Sally’, the

humorous ‘Biscuit Song’, the swinging ‘Do Something’ and the shuffling ‘Hummingbird’. In the same year he recorded (as Scat Man Ralph) on the Phil Harris hit ‘Chatanooga Shoe Shine Boy’, a hit in 1950 for Capitol. A 1949 session for Modern with Maxwell Davis on tenor sax produced the blues ballad ‘Wondering’, the unissued ‘Exactly Like You’ and ‘Keep It Hot’ and the ballad ‘It’s You’.

On a discographical note some readers may have noticed that ‘I Want To Rock & Roll’ by The Scatman from Modern is not included. The acetate disc appeared on the 1983 Ace album ‘California Jump Blues’ credited to Crothers. Daniel Gugloz asserts that Crothers is not the singer on that track – cut with saxman Wild Bill Moore even though Jules Bihari had identified the singer as Crothers to Ace’s Ray Topping. Gugloz identifies Moore as the vocalist. He sounds very much like Crothers but some folks at B&R tend to agree having listened to Moore’s vocals on the Blue Moon CD ‘Wild Bill Moore Volume 1’. So, the side (a great jump blues) has not been included.

Also, in 1949 he recorded two sides for Orchid Records in November – released as ‘Skatman’ Crothers Cosmo Combo. ‘Unemployment Blues’ features a dramatic spoken interlude and ‘Shuffleboard’ is a song about the popularity of the tavern game which had got Crothers hooked. The flip of each side is by Jeanne Richey.

His two London sides cut in 1950 – ‘Rooster’ and the double entendre ‘Television’ are excellent jump blues and a year later he appears on Calvin Boze’s Aladdin release of ‘Beale Street’. Boze takes the lead vocals while Scat Man adds the vocal asides on a tour of the night spots of Memphis.

The final four r&b sides from 1951 were issued by the Aladdin subsidiary Intro Records – all written by Joe Green – with ‘Berman’ extolling the virtues of the dapper suits offered by the Memphis outfitters, ‘Gruntin’’ is a cash in on the popularity of wrestling, ‘Free Samples’ contains a warning to Scat Man’s gal not to give away any ‘freebies’ and his original of ‘Two Drops’ was covered by Wynonie Harris for King.

CD two kicks off with two jump blues sides cut for Recorded In Hollywood in 1951 along with Jimmy Wilson’s semi operatic and warbling rendition of the old chestnut ‘Sin To Tell A Lie’ released by Bob Geddins’ Cavatone label. Crothers spices things up by delivering a menacing speech mid-song.

In 1952 he cut four sides for Tom Medley’s Colossal label. Medley worked for Colossal Hot Rod magazine and got Crothers to record songs to cash in on the hot rod car racing craze sweeping Southern California. They bombed and found little favour with the hot rod crowd (see B&R 318 for more on these records.)

1953 saw Scat Man in the studio, again for RIH with Red Callendar’s Sextette cutting an answer disc to Ruth Brown’s hit ‘Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean’ plus two takes of the horse racing skit (one unissued) ‘Easy Money’ – the released side has dubbed crowd noise and there is also an unissued upbeat reprise of ‘Beale Street’.

From hereon Crothers seems to have headed in a mainstream jazz direction, recording for Decca with a band led by clarinet player Matty Matlock. The four sides include ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and ‘Sunny Side Of The Street’ and he cut with Matlock again in 1956 for MGM (‘Sweet Lips’/‘Savoy Blues’) both with melodies written by Louis Armstrong and Kid Ory. Century Records gave him a shot (with Benny Carter arranging) performing with the vocal group the Mellow Men while Alvino Ray’s 1955 ‘Do You Love Me’ was penned by Stan Freeberg and is a novelty with Ray performing his ‘talking steel guitar’ routine.

In 1956 Crothers cut a two-part disc for Dootone as The Ramparts – a commemoration of the racist murder in Mississippi of fourteen-years-old Emmitt Till who was shot in the head and thrown into the river by two red necks who were later acquitted of the murder by a jury. The murderers even sold their story to a magazine causing massive outrage.

Crothers went onto record an album of standards (with a ‘rock and roll beat’) and rock & roll covers for Tops Records as well as recording for a number of labels including Pickwick, Spot and later Motown right through to 1980.

Scat Man may well be best remembered for his film and television work (and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) but he recorded some great r&b records in the 1940s and early 1950s. A long time in the making, this set has an eye-catching booklet, label shots, rare photos and historical notes and is worth checking out."

—Tony Burke (February, 2022)
Blue & Rhythm Magazine, UK
______________________________________________________________________________________________

"Benjamin Sherman Crothers (1910–1986) got his fame mainly from his appearance in some radio and TV shows and his acting performances in films such as The Shining and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. However, this successful career as an actor was preceded by a musical development that Benjamin Crothers, born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana, went through. Self-taught on drums and guitar, he has been playing in local nightclubs since he was fifteen. After moving to Dayton, Ohio in the late 1920s, he appeared there frequently as an entertainer on a radio show, his scat singing earning him the stage name 'Scat Man'.

His popularity was further increased by his appearances in nightclubs during the weekends, during which he emerged as an outstanding showman and comedian. In the 1940s he moved west to Hollywood and performed successfully with his jive combo at the famous Billy Berg's Swing Club. From 1945 he was a drummer in the trio of guitarist/singer Slim Gaillard, which toured extensively in clubs and theatres. His popularity as a singer resulted in the following years in a large number of singles, recorded for various labels and collected here on a beautifully performed double CD.

Although mainly performed in an atmosphere varying between swing, jive and R&B, the variety is pleasantly large, partly due to his qualities as an entertainer. His interpretations are sometimes modest, such as the ballads Dearest One and When Oh When (both his own compositions), at other times almost excessively exuberant and enthusiastic and sometimes slightly parodying. A wide variety of combos are provided, including a sextet led by bassist Red Callender with tenorist Maxwell Davis as soloist. The bands of clarinetist Joe Darensbourg with Teddy Buckner on trumpet and the Dixielanders of clarinetist Matty Matlock can also be heard on a few singles. The work of trombonist Vic Dickenson (in Dead Man's Blues, among others) is also beautiful on two Capitol discs. Special is the closing The Death Of Emmett Till, performed under the pseudonym 'The Ramparts', a tribute to the sad history of fourteen-year-old Emmett who became a victim of racial hatred in Mississippi.

Accompanied by an excellently documented booklet, this is certainly not a 'must have', but it is a fascinating publication about an almost forgotten musician, who colored the R&B in the fifties with his own unique style."

—Aldert Toornstra
(January, 2022)
Dr. Jazz Magazine, The Netherlands
______________________________________________________________________________________________

"Born in Terre Haute, from his early teenage years Benjamin Sherman Crothers (1910-1986) played drums with local groups. He began touring and by the end of his teens was heard regularly on radio and was also singing, his style earning the nickname by which was known thereafter.

His first own-name recording date came in 1944 (the first three tracks on CD1) and through this and appearances at well-known venues, including Hollywood’s Swing Club and Show Bar, he gained a following. This led to a brief spell with Slim Gaillard’s trio and a 1948 recording date for Capitol Records. This session was funded by journalist Charles Embree, who plays piano and composed the four songs (tracks 4 to 7), billing himself as Riff Charles. From this point onwards through these two CDs, Crothers is not heard on drums, concentrating on singing (with a few exceptions noted below).

Also on the Capitol date is trombonist Vic Dickenson who takes several solos. Other good instrumental soloists on CD1 include tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson on Have You Got The Gumption and Just Lookin’, guitarist Danny Barker on Do Something, tenor saxophonist Maxwell Davis on Exactly Like You, and alto saxophonist Marshal Royal on Beale Street.

On CD2, among the instrumental soloists are trumpeter Teddy Buckner, pianist Gerald Wiggins and guitarist Frank Pasley on Hot Rod Harry, Hot Rod Cowboy and Saturday Night Drag Race, tenor saxophonist Maxwell Davis on Easy Money and alto saxophonist Benny Carter on When Oh When. Most of the repertoire heard here consists of little-known songs, although three of the four songs sung on a 1953 session are very well known. These are Walkin’ My Baby Back Home, Honeysuckle Rose and On The Sunny Side Of The Street. Through his approach to these songs, Crothers pushes aside Johnny Ray’s version of the first song and even succeeds in avoiding any hint of Fats Waller on the other two.

Throughout, Crothers’ rough-hewn singing is engaging and appropriate. On three tracks he does not sing but speaks a few words: on CD1, Chattanoogie Shoe-Shine Boy (vocal by Phil Harris) and Beale Street (vocal by Calvin Boze); on CD2, It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie (vocal by Jimmy Wilson). Crothers’ version of The Death Of Emmett Till, on which he plays guitar, remains strong and moving all these years after the event.

From the early 1950s, Crothers acted in numerous television shows including Chico And The Man and in films, among them One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and The Shining (1980). This release comes with good and comprehensive liner notes by Billy Vera."

—Bruce Crowther (February 4, 2022)
https://jazzjournal.co.uk

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