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  • Writer's pictureClarice MacGarvey

Almost Famous: Exmore Record Shop and Music Legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup

You may know the songs, "it's All Right, Mama", "My Baby Left Me", "Rock Me Mama" and others, but do you know the song writer? And the artist who introduced these classics? And do you know, the Town of Exmore was part of the story?

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup wrote songs that were covered by Elvis (yes, that one!), B.B. King and others. Although he is often referred to as The Father of Rock & Roll, Crudup received very little in the way of royalties for his talents. In his own words, "I am making other people rich, but I am poor!" In the 1950s, he stopped recording because of the lack of royalties, eventually moving to Franktown, Virginia with his family. Here on the Eastern Shore, Crudup worked as a field laborer by day while trying to continue his musical career in the evenings, performing occasionally at the Do Drop Inn on Bayford Road in Weirwood.

Crudup often caught the bus in Exmore (at the original Lloyd's Pharmacy) and that's where he met Winston Custis Jr. who had taken over the record store on Main Street founded by his father, Winston "Dynamite" Custis in 1950. Custis Jr. purchased about 250 of Crudup's albums to resell in his record shop in Exmore, with Crudup visiting frequently..

Crudup died in 1974 in Nassawadox Hospital, and Winston Custis Jr. died in 2020. The legacy of Custis Record Shop remains, Now, there is an effort to open a new music venue in the same space on Main Street. The new owners of the Custis Building, Ken and Mary Dufty, talented musicians well known here on the Eastern Shore, are hoping to find the ideal tenant to write the next chapters.



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