Image Source: Wikipedia

Edward L. Crain

Edward Leroy Crain (December 27, 1903 – March 15, 1975), also known by his stage name, "The Texas Cowboy" or his recording alias, "Cowboy Ed Crain", was an American country blues musician who played guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. He recorded in the 1930s and is perhaps best known for his rendition of the song, "Bandit Cole Younger".

As a youth, Crain was taught to play instruments from his fellow ranch hands working on a ranch as a tailor and taking part in cattle drives, in Longview, Texas. Crain credits Jimmie Rodgers with persuading himself to perform professionally when complications from asthma caused difficulties in his occupation. As a part of his stage act, Crain was advertised as "The Texas Cowboy", with a repertoire consisting of songs about cowboys, and was one of the few performers who, in reality, was involved in the profession. Aside from touring in music halls throughout Texas, Crain also played on several radio station programs in Fort Worth, and promoted a cleaning business he managed in the 1930s by performing on an afternoon show.

On July 16, 1931, Crain recorded for the first time, entering the studio for Columbia Records, performing a tune called "The Old Grey Hare", under the alias, Cowboy Ed Crane. Although Crain was a multi-instrumentalist, his recording only feature his vocals, which were noticeably nasal as a consequence of his asthma, along with guitar accompaniment. Arguably Crain's most recognizable song was his rendition of "Bandit Cole Younger", a musical story in the perspective of Cole Younger. Crain's version of the composition reappeared on the prominent compilation album, Anthology of American Folk Music, in 1952.

Crain would record several more sides for Columbia Records, but his asthma developed into emphysema, forcing him to retire from his music career and relocating to Oregon. He would live a low-profile lifestyle as a rancher, and briefly returned to his career in 1970, re-recording "Bandit Cole Younger". Crain died in Medford, Oregon, in 1975, aged 71.

Birth and Death Data: Born December 27th, 1903, Died March 15th, 1975

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1931

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, guitar, composer

Notes: Ed Crain.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W151729 10-in. 8/17/1931 Little blossom, part 1 Edward L. Crain Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia W151730 10-in. 8/17/1931 Little blossom, part 2 Edward L. Crain Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia W151731 10-in. 8/17/1931 Bandit Cole Younger Edward L. Crain Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, composer, instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia W151732 10-in. 8/17/1931 Starving to death on a government claim Edward L. Crain Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia W151733 10-in. 8/17/1931 Cowboy's home sweet home Edward L. Crain Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar, composer  
Columbia W151734 10-in. 8/17/1931 The old grey-haired man Edward L. Crain Male vocal solo, with guitar vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Crain, Edward L.," accessed October 22, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104766.

Crain, Edward L.. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104766.

"Crain, Edward L.." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 22 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104766

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.