Although he's best known for Elvis Presley's covers of his songs "That's All Right" (which was Presley's debut single in 1954), "So Glad You're Mine" and "My Baby Left Me," singer-guitarist Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup is notable for his own contributions to the Blues canon.
With a distinctive voice and a guitar style whose primitivism may have been attributable to the fact that he didn't pick up the instrument until he was 30, the Mississippi-bred Crudup had traveled around the South as a migrant worker and toured as a member of the Gospel act the Harmonizing Four before moving to the Blues hub of Chicago around 1940. He initially encountered tough times, living and playing on the streets. It was while busking on the street that Crudup was seen by RCA/Bluebird producer Lester Melrose, who hired him to perform that night at a party at Blues singer Tampa Red's house. The party's guests included Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson and other RCA artists. Crudup's performance helped to win him a deal with the company.
Crudup had considerable recording success through the 40s and early 50s, producing such R&B hits as "Rock Me Mama," "Who's Been Foolin' You" and "Keep Your Arms Around Me." He continued to record for RCA until he left the label in 1954, frustrated by the lack of financial reward for his work. (One source of his frustration was his failure to be paid royalties for Elvis’ recordings of his songs, though his family did finally collect some money after his death). Crudup took jobs as a laborer and bus driver, and didn't record or tour again until the 60s, a decade in which he was rediscovered by young Blues-revival audiences. Crudup continued to perform successfully at Blues and Folk festivals until his death in 1974.