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November 1, 2018:
I'm tickled to shine a light on one of the most obscure artists working in the southern soul genre. He's a Jackson, Mississippi-area artist whose tunes have been aired on Jackson's gospel and southern soul station, WMPR, since the early aughts. However, those instances of radio air-play have been rare, and even the most astute fans could be forgiven for missing the name of the artist mumbled by deejays on the scarce occasions he's been featured...Crumb? Crump? De Mon? DeMond?
I first heard Crump when he recorded "Neighborhood Rat," which I'd guess didn't hit YouTube until at least a decade after it was recorded.
Listen to DeMond Crump singing "Neighborhood Rat" on YouTube.
It's a good tune--catchy and cleverly produced--but it's never been distributed on a label with national visibility, not even CD Baby. In fact, a search for Demond Crump's songs yields no published music at all, with the caveat that it's possible some material has been previously published but gone out of print. However, even "out of print" records usually show up on EBay or other "used album" sites.
Crump has recorded other music, however, and that music has been played locally in Mississippi. Among the tracks I've heard on the radio in the years since the release of "Neighborhood Rat" are "Back In The Game," "Play Your Position" and "EBT". Another song titled (tentatively) "White Man's War" or "White Man's World" has also appeared. It features a female back-up singer on the chorus, just as "Neighborhood Rat" did.
These tunes have been played most regularly by DJ Handyman, the late-afternoon jock at Jackson's WMPR. If any readers possess information on the small regional label that has published Demond Crump, please contact me--Daddy B. Nice--at P.O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The stimulus for this sketchy survey of one of southern soul's most under-exposed artists is a new single, and this single is on YouTube. A likely candidate for Daddy B. Nice's Top Ten Singles in November 2018, "Tore Your Drawers" is as compelling as "Neighborhood Rat". There should be a category invented for them--"raggedy-assed" classics.
Listen to Demond Crump singing "Tore Your Drawers" on YouTube.
A vengeful domestic tirade by a disillusioned man, "Tore Your Drawers" already has 12,000 views on its YouTube page, just posted in August, so more than a few people (and a lot more than I would have guessed) must be aware of Demond Crump. "You tore your drawers with me" is the refrain. The production, with female background vocals, is solid, and in case there is any doubt about what "tore your drawers with me" means, Crump states:
"When you come in the room,
I get up and leave.
Can't stand to look at you
From your head down to your feet.
"I know it's time
We have to quit
When I look at you, baby,
You make my stomach sick."
Pretty grim stuff, but that's not the way it comes off. Everything Crump records has a vein of humor and satire running through it. His vocals have a casual tone, and they're always encased in instrumental tracks that radiate humility and accessibility. The creative tension between the confrontational lyrics and the easy-going vocals and execution is one of the most fascinating aspects of Demond Crump's craft.
--Daddy B. Nice
--Daddy B. Nice