This 27-track compilation concentrates almost exclusively on the recordings Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
made between 1946 and 1954 with band backup including drums, excluding any of the recordings he made prior to his first such session in 1946. So it's not the top pick for a Crudup
compilation, and not just because it doesn't span his entire prime. It's also missing one of the three Crudup
songs Elvis Presley
covered, "So Glad You're Mine," which precludes it from being the top choice on those grounds alone. But if you do want a very lengthy disc focusing on his most rocking blues sides that clearly anticipate much of what would come to characterize early rock & roll, this is the place. The other two tunes Elvis
covered ("My Baby Left Me" and "That's All Right") are here, along with the Top Ten R&B hit "I'm Gonna Dig Myself a Hole" and a heap of other brash songs that not only push electric blues toward rock & roll, but sometimes have more than a faint resemblance to primordial rockabilly. The usual criticisms that have kept Crudup
from being judged as one of the great bluesmen apply here: many of the songs are quite similar to each other, and his abilities as a guitarist are limited. Yet such is the infectious good-spirited singing and playing that they overcome these limitations, adding up to music that remains an underrated source point for rock & roll.