Love Bug Crawl

Jimmy Edwards

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Love Bug Crawl Review

by Mark Deming

James Bullington was the son of a Missouri farmer who moved north to Flint, MI, and was working on a Buick assembly line when he cut a tune called "Love Bug Crawl" for a local label in 1957. After the record caught the attention of manager Jim Minor, who thought it showed potential, Bullington was sent to Nashville to recut "Love Bug Crawl" with a handful of top session musicians (including Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer) and he soon signed a deal with Mercury Records. With the artist's stage name changed to Jimmy Edwards, "Love Bug Crawl" became a minor hit, and while he never hit the charts again, he spent three years trying at Mercury and RCA Victor before making his way back to Flint and his old job at Buick. Bear Family's Love Bug Crawl collection brings together Jimmy Edwards' entire body of recorded work on one disc, including the original versions of "Love Bug Crawl" and its flip side, "The Way to My Heart," as well as all Edwards' sides for Mercury and RCA. "Love Bug Crawl" is the best tune on this set, a polished but lively slice of early rock & roll, but there are a few other gems on hand, including "Golden Ruby Blue," "Rosie Lee," and "What Do You Want from Me?," and Edwards was a fine singer whose work walked a line between rock & roll and countrypolitan (and more than a few of these tunes suggest he could have worked comfortably in both genres if given the chance). The mastering is excellent, with the vintage recordings sounding very good indeed, and Colin Escott's liner notes cover the details of Edwards' life and career with admirable detail. Love Bug Crawl doesn't quite suggest there was a major artist lurking behind the one-hit wonder named Jimmy Edwards, but the man clearly had talent and a good voice, and plenty of folks have had much longer careers with less going for them than what Edwards displays on this disc; fans of early rock & roll will find this an enjoyable diversion.

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