Stump and Stumpy

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As group names go, Stump and Stumpy is catchy and easy to remember. Chances are quite good that if the duo of Harold "Stummy" Cromer and James "Stuff" Cross had come along a decade…
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As group names go, Stump and Stumpy is catchy and easy to remember. Chances are quite good that if the duo of Harold "Stummy" Cromer and James "Stuff" Cross had come along a decade or so later, when the entertainment business was at least somewhat more racially integrated, it might have achieved the type of commercial success associated with the concept of a household name. As it was, mostly black households knew the duo, normally relegated to the status of an opening act on package shows headlined by the likes of Duke Ellington or the Ink Spots.

Both Cromer and Cross were brilliant dancers as well as zany comedians whose material greatly influenced the team of Martin & Lewis. While Cromer -- he was "Stumpy" -- fell into a job as an emcee for rock & roll shows and later revived his dancing career, Cross was said to have poured a good part of his life out the neck of a bottle of alcohol. Only producer Joe Davis attempted to get the duo on record during his '50s ventures with the Jay Dee label. "Two Thirds Dead" was partly written by songstress Irene Higginbotham, partly rewritten by Cross, and then ad-libbed close to the point of sheer lunacy by Stump and Stumpy once the tape was rolling. The flipside of this release was entitled "Loud Women."