Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pee Wee Crayton & L. C. McKinley - Same

Larry McKinley was born in Winona, Mississippi, United States. According to the United States Census in 1940, McKinley was living in Vaiden, Mississippi, with his wife, Bessie, and two sons. However, McKinley relocated to Chicago in 1941. He began to get work and, by 1947, had started to play professionally in the Chicago area. By the early 1950s, McKinley was a regular performer at the 708 Club, where he variously topped the bill or played accompaniment in the first half of 1954 with the Ernest Cotton Trio.
He began a working association with Eddie Boyd in the early 1950s and, in 1952, McKinley and Cotton backed Boyd on the latter's recording of "Five Long Years". It reached number one on the US Billboard R&B chart. McKinley also undertook recording sessions with several of Chicago's better known blues musicians, including Curtis Jones. In 1953 he recorded for Parrot Records, although his work was not released. He signed to States Records in January 1954, who issued his "Companion Blues" later that year.
In 1955, McKinley penned a recording contract with Vee-Jay Records. His single "Strange Girl" / "She's Five Feet Three" was issued by them the same year. Other tracks he recorded in that period, but were unissued at that time, included "Blue Evening", "Down With It", "Rosalie Blues", "Disgusted", and "Tortured Blues". In 1959, Bea & Baby Records released his single "Nit Wit".
McKinley made his last recordings in 1964, and they were released on the Sunnyland label in the UK. After leaving the music industry, he latterly worked as a presser for a dry cleaning outfit in East Chicago, Indiana.
McKinley died in East Chicago in January 1970, aged 51.

If you haven't heard Pee Wee Crayton then give him a listen. he's one of the best.



Sylvain Thimonier said...

Pee Wee Crayton was a wonderful texas-styled guitarist. But, his Vee-Jay production is less known than his Modern or Aladdin tracks. Very interesting to listen all those titles. Great recordings ! Thanks a lot Frits and Xyros for this post.

Bob Mac said...

Absolutely love Pee Wee Crayton's recordings, especially his early work. He was one of the earliest wild blues guitarists. "The Telephone Is Ringing" is a classic example of Pee Wee's style - a scorching guitar solo with a very cool jazzy backing.

12vjoe said...

Couldn't agree more - Pee Wee Crayton was one of a kind! Thanks!