James "Sugar Boy" Crawford

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James "Sugar Boy" Crawford
James "Sugar Boy" Crawford making a rare appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1996 as a special guest for his grandson, Davell Crawford
Background information
Birth name James Crawford
Born (1934-10-12)October 12, 1934
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died September 15, 2012(2012-09-15) (aged 77)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Genres Rhythm and blues
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active 1950–1969
Labels Aladdin, Ace, Checker Records, Imperial, Specialty
Associated acts Davell Crawford, Snooks Eaglin

James "Sugar Boy" Crawford, Jr. (October 12, 1934  – September 15, 2012) was an American, New Orleans based, R&B musician. He was the author of "Jock-A-Mo" (1954), a hit that was later recreated as "Iko Iko",[1] by The Dixie Cups and recorded by many artists including Dr. John, Belle Stars, The Grateful Dead, Cyndi Lauper, and as "Geto Boys" by Glass Candy.

Life and career[edit]

Starting out on trombone, Crawford formed a band which local DJ Doctor Daddy-O named "The Chapaka Shawee" (Creole for "We Aren't Raccoons"), the title of an instrumental that they played. Signed on by Chess Records president Leonard Chess, the group was renamed 'Sugar Boy and his Cane Cutters'.

Although his song "Jock-A-Mo" became a standard at the New Orleans Mardi Gras, Crawford himself disappeared from public view, and in a 2002 interview for Offbeat, told how his career came to an abrupt halt in 1963, after a severe beating at the hands of state troopers incapacitated him for two years, forcing him to leave the music industry. In 1969, he decided to limit his singing to in church only.[1] In 2012 Crawford made a guest appearance singing gospel on an episode of the HBO series Treme. He died one month before the episode aired.

Crawford appeared on his grandson Davell Crawford's 1995 album, Let Them Talk.[2] He made some stage appearances with Davell including one at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival[1] (1996), and more recently at the seventh annual Ponderosa Stomp in April 2008.[3]

Among the artists Crawford recorded with was Snooks Eaglin.

James Crawford died after a brief illness in a hospice in 2012, aged 77.[4]


External links[edit]