Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman honors a Texan who helped redefine the West Coast music scene.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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Blues guitarist “Pee Wee” Crayton was born Connie Curtis Crayton on Dec. 18, 1914, in Rockdale, Texas. As a teenager, he played the trumpet and ukulele in his high school band, although he admired fellow Texas bluesmen T-Bone Walker, Ivory Joe Hunter and Gatemouth Brown. As a guitarist, Pee Wee Crayton had his greatest success after moving to California in 1935. It was there that he helped shape the West Coast blues and R&B sound with such hits as “Blues After Hours” and “Texas Hop.” Pee Wee Crayton went on to record and perform with many well-known blues and jazz artists, including Lightnin’ Hopkins and Dizzy Gillespie.