Something of a mystery man in late 1940’s rock, probably a tenor saxophonist though perhaps just a bandleader who sang occasionally.

The band itself was made up of jazz vets including Jimmy Harris, who played trumpet with Erskine Hawkins but later was a semi-regular on rock sessions, and pianist Henry McDode and drummer Jimmy Miller, both of whom later worked with uptown bluesman Jimmy Witherspoon in the 1950’s.

Crawford’s history is further obscured by the fact that a child actor by the same name who appeared on the hit 1950’s TV show The Rifleman with Chuck Connors later became a bandleader himself and so naturally his career is far more well documented than this Crawford.

Whoever he was though his brief stint on the Savoy and its associated labels as the 1940’s bled into the fifties amounted to very little and he faded from the outskirts of the rock genre, whereabouts unknown.

JOHNNY CRAWFORD DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Savoy 719; November, 1949)
Weak effort by a jazz-rooted band trying to make the grade as rockers, with only Clyde Dunn’s baritone sax and the fleeting guitar of highly regarded rock sideman Tiny Webb bringing any substance to this, though both are stuck mostly in the background. (2)

(Regent 1009; December, 1949)
An admirable sax based rock instrumental that while lacking a memorable melody or truly flamboyant solos, features very strong leads by both tenor and baritone with a solid no-frills arrangement that is perfectly suited to the style. (7)

(Regent 1009; December, 1949)
Perfectly serviceable sax instrumental checking off all of the required boxes – rhythm, groove and solos – without doing much more than that, but also not making any missteps, earning him a small regional hit proving there was always an audience for something this elemental. (5)