PLEASE NOTE: The above was written from my own recollections apart from the "Interesting facts" bit from Wikipedia and the "other Crawdaddy bands" bits sources which I have attributed already above , so any errors are entirely down to me, and I apologise unreservedly to any important person or fact I have left out or recalled wrongly. I will be happy to correct any inaccuracies that are reported to me , please don't hesitate to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries. Thank you John Habes 09.07.2015.
Crawdaddy BLUES BAND
The History of "Crawdaddy" (by John Habes)
The Crawdaddy Word ......
"Crawdaddy" and the more common "Crawdad" originated in the New Orleans, Mississippi Delta and the surrounding area of the U.S.A and are traditional nicknames for the native freshwater crayfish found in swamps, streams, and brooks. The word “crayfish” is modified from the old French "ecrevisse", and is used in the more Northern States, but “Crawdad” and “Crawdaddy” are the names commonly used in the South and South East, along with the self explanatory name "Mudbug" used in the swamp country. In Australia they are called “yabbies”. Crayfish are eaten all over the world and they are also frequently used as a fishing bait.
Interesting facts (thanks to Wikipedia)
1. 95% of U.S. and 90% of World crayfish come from Louisiana. 80% of those are the red variety and 20% the white variety of the procambarus genus. There is also an Asian bred blue variety available in the aquarium trade. (Not Crawdaddy Blues but a Blue Crawdaddy .... close!).
2. Tails are used for soups and bisques, whole crawdads and claws are served with salads. The traditional Saturday Night Fish Fry of Delta and Cajun legend often included a “Crawfish Boil”.
3. The study of crayfish is known as astacology so you are all now astacologists!
The Crawdaddy Song:
“The Crawdad Song” is a Southern traditional childrens’ song used for games involving jumping and
skipping rope and bouncing balls, and it is included in several classic published collections of great
American folk songs. It was recorded by many different folk and country artists, notably Woodie Guthrie
and Doc Watson. Even Jerry Lee Lewis and Harry Belafonte all put their own styles into versions of the
song. The blues version that most British fans first heard was by Big Bill Broonzy who Chris Barber brought
to the U.K. in the 1950s and 60's and it was this "folk blues" that inspired the early British skiffle groups
and the Rhythm and Blues bands that emerged from their jazz band "parents". The variation “Hey Crawdaddy!” was a song on a quite rare Bo Diddley live recording released in two parts
on a 45rpm single. It was a merging of the "Crawdad Song" and his own song "Hey Bo Diddley" with the latter's call and response audience participation chorus played to his signature Bo Diddley beat,
affectionately known collectively as "Shave and a haircut - two bits!”. It was this song that the Rolling
Stones loosely adapted (especially at the Crawdaddy Club) and used as a closer in their act, often as an
encore. The beat was already used by the Stones for Diddley's "Mona" and Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away"
so an extended medley could fill almost any spare time in their set!
The Crawdaddy Clubs:
In the late 1950s the first R and B bands had emerged from a jazz and skiffle background firstly playing LeadBelly, Big Bill Broonzy, and similar "Folk Blues" songs. By the 1960s they had progressed to Blues both from the 50's and as it was still being played in Chicago.They played the big central London jazz clubs like the Flamingo, Marquee and 100 Club, and Alexis Korner joined with Cyril Davies to form "Blues Incorporated" and built up a large following at the original basement Ealing Club in West London.
It was there that future members of the Rolling Stones and several other top 60's R and B bands watched, learned and sat in as guests and played with them. Also in the West of London area was Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, which had started as a jazz club and was now regularly hosting R and B nights. Following in
the steps of these successful clubs, the Crawdaddy Club would become what many claimed to be the biggest influence on the British pop scene since the Cavern in Liverpool .......
Crawdaddy Club 1.
In 1963, Manager Giorgio Gomelsky represented a number of bands including the Rolling Stones, and he was looking for an out of Central London venue for the Stones and other bands (His first band
to play at the Crawdaddy was the Dave Hunt Band). He settled on the Station Hotel at Richmond in Surrey just west of London with direct links to both North and South London as well as Undergound links to all
over the Capital. It was also close to the already popular Ealing Club and Eel Pie Island in Twickenham.
The Rolling Stones were already attracting new younger audiences to the Blues and R and B scene at their appearances at the Marquee club and around London both alone and when playing as a support band.
“Hey Crawdaddy” was the song often used by the Stones to close their explosive set and Gromelsky decided
it would be a good "bluesy" sounding name for his new club where the Rolling Stones were soon to be the
main weekly resident band.
Crawdaddy Club 2.
When the Hotel got too small to hold the audience it moved to the nearby Richmond Athletics Ground clubhouse, and when the Rolling Stones finally became too big for the clubs they moved onto pop stardom with hordes of screaming fans and the theatre tour circuit. Gromelsky replaced the Stones at the Crawdaddy with his new band the Yardbirds as the residents. They had just recruited a young Eric Clapton on guitar from another local band the Roosters. They made the Crawdaddy Club their own and got a huge following, and though they recorded their classic album "Five Live Yardbirds" at the Marquee Club they also recorded a live album backing the visiting U.S. Bluesman at the Crawdaddy Club " The Yardbirds with Sonny Boy Williamson". The Yardbirds own set at the Crawdaddy that night was also recorded but not released until the 1980s. The Yardbirds also moved on as the hits came (as did Eric to John Mayall, to be replaced by Jeff Beck from yet another local band the Tridents and then already established top session man Jimmy Page). The Crawdaddy club continued to host other visiting American artists and many other bands that became huge like Kinks, Who, Spencer Davies, Manfred Mann and local favourites like Long John Baldrey, Chris Farlowe, the Artwoods, Downliners Sect, Pretty Things, Yardbirds successors The Others, and Ronnie Wood's Birds. Many of these bands contained members who went on to great things with other bands. Always a great night out, the audience would also often contain celebrities like Beatles, Animals and Rolling Stones.
Crawdaddy Club 3.
Giorgio Gromelsky moved to America and the club fizzled out until the local college Isleworth Polytechnic (now West London University). outgrew its student union bar in 1966. They hosted concerts with the Cream, the Creation, and John Mayall but could not afford the Who or Hendrix as the bar wouldn't hold enough people at 5 shillings (25p) a ticket to break even. Richmond Athletics Ground filled the bill for 2 years or so and the Crawdaddy Club re-emerged run by the Isleworth Polytechnic Students Union. The Who and Hendrix were sadly by then out of reach but they hosted some great bands including Long John Baldrey with Bluesology and Steam Packet, Soul Explosion, Peter Green's new band Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall's new Bluesbreakers, Future stars like Elton John, Rod Stewart, Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll were among the members of some of these early bands.
1969 saw the end of the Isleworth connection but as a postscript, flyposted bills and adverts appeared around Richmond for a new Jimmy Page fronted band “New Yardbirds” gig at Richmond Athletics Club in October. The gig never took place but the band was renamed and, with a first album out, Page's Led Zeppelin packed the Lyceum ballroom in the Strand in London a couple of weeks later and were touring the U.S. by Christmas.
Crawdaddy Club 4.
There was a brief re- emergence of the Crawdaddy Club at the old Station Hotel original venue. The pub had been the Bull and Bush in the 1970s with a basement disco bar, and then a bar with restaurant at the rear. In the 1990s the management put a "Crawdaddy Club" historic plaque over the door and decided to revive the name for live bands playing in the bar on a couple of nights a week. Local Blues Bands like us in the Crawdaddy Blues Band , Dr Bob and the Nurses, and Travelling Shoes kept the old Rocking R and B
flame alive and kicking for a year or so. They also hosted gigs by many other types of live band at the resurrected Crawdaddy Club, and had a good following of old Crawdaddy Club people and some young
"Mod Revival" fans too.
Crawdaddy Club 5.
In March 2011 60’s R and B fans Mike and Sylvie Rivers re -opened the Crawdaddy Club at Richmond Athletics Ground to try to recapture the sounds and atmosphere of those great early times and to this day continue to host monthly gigs with new and established top name acts , both veteran and current bands and artists to an audience of all ages . Of course for us oldies nothing can be quite as exciting as when it was all
new in the 1960's, but nevertheless it is still a great night out, well worth visiting over 50 years on!
Other Crawdaddies, including Crawdaddy Blues Band.
There is a Crawdaddy Club in Dublin, another New Crawdaddy Club in Billericay, Essex and another Crawdaddy Club in Tokyo. The Fiddler's Elbow pub in Camden has a monthly Crawdaddy night with DJ's and some live bands playing R and B, Motown, Stax , Northern Soul and Ska. There are a number of Crawdaddy , Crawdaddys and Crawdaddies bands mainly in America playing Rock, Folk, and Cajun music .... And some Crawdad and Crawdaddy restaurants (especially seafood and gumbo soulfood eating places in the U.S.A.).
There have been a few Crawdaddy or similarly named bands in the UK before.
John McCoy's Crawdaddies were a band from Middlesborough who were popular on Teeside in the mid 60's and had a few gigs in London at the Marquee club. They then changed their name to the Real McCoys to stop confusion with native Londoners Tony Colton and the Crawdaddies. I am not sure what happened to their
new name when the other McCoys had a hit with "Hang On Sloopy"!. The Crawdaddies supported some
big name bands in both the London and Northern clubs.
(Thanks to Stan Laundon's website for this info).
Tony Colton's Crawdaddies had started as a skiffle group and become a mod R and B band. Tony himself founded both the Crawdaddies and the Big Boss Band and eventually formed Heads Hands and Feet with Albert Lee. Tony recruited his musicians from the "in - crowd" at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond and they later went on to bands like John Barry 7, Alan Bown Set and the Ivy League as well as Heads Hands and Feet. Tony became a record producer and after the Shevells and Georgie Fame proved successful for him he produced Rory Gallagher’s Taste, Yes., Shirley Bassey, Frankie Valli, Wilson Pickett, Delaney & Bonnie, Richard Harris , Jerry Lee Lewis and many more.
(Thanks to Hidden Masters website for this info).
Blues and Folk / Country guitar man Steve Payne from Bristol backed many great artists in the mid 1990's and formed a blues rock band called Crawdaddy which had a loyal U.K. following and toured to the U.S. in 1998.
(Thanks to Paul Townsend on Flickr.)
In San Diego California , a band called "Crawdaddys" , described as "Punk R&B pioneers" were formed in 1978 and released an album and EP on Vox Records in 1980. Band members were Ron Silva, Steve Potter, Mark Zadarnowski, Dan McLain. The original Crawdaddys lineup was inspired by British rhythm-and-blues groups of the early 1960s, such as the Pretty Things and Rolling Stones. They dressed and looked very like an early 60's Brit band, including one with very "Brian Jones" style hair . Their covers were uncannily like early 60's bands and their excellent recorded originals were in the same style. Having played together for awhile, they even played on albums by others, including Spooky Tooth, though the group fractured with various Silva-fronted lineups taking the band through 1984. A few reunions have occurred since 2011 , and a gig by a band with a couple of original members was listed in October 2016. Some good clips can be found on are YouTube.
Crawdaddy Blues Band was founded in 1984 by a group of West Londoners who had been playing on and off in different bands (often together) since the 1960's. The band was called "Crawdaddy" after the club we first used to visit , and we added the "Blues Band" later to avoid confusion with other bands and to enable us to register the band's name officially (the word "Crawdaddy" itself is a traditional word and in the public domain). We are still known by most of our fans and friends as "Crawdaddy".
As far as we know there are no other bands with the name currently performing in the U.K. and we are not aware of any bands worldwide performing now with the same name that were founded before Crawdaddy Blues Band (1984).
The Biography of the CRAWDADDY BLUES BAND and its members is in another article.(click button below)