With Video - The popular folk singer-songwriter will dish up a buffet of tunes in a free concert at the Old State House, 25 The Green, in Dover Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Jerry “Crabmeat” Thompson of Middletown creates music you can call brain food.
The popular folk singer-songwriter will dish up a buffet of tunes in a free concert at the Old State House, 25 The Green, in Dover Friday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
The gig launches the 2017-18 Old State House music series, presented by First State Heritage Park in collaboration with Delaware Friends of Folk.
More than just a musician, Crabmeat is an author, English teacher, an instructor at the University of Delaware and he's even taught classes to prison inmates.
He took the time to talk answer a few questions about his career and his music.
What stories do you remember from teaching in prison?
It was the best class I ever had, because I could say anything to those guys [laughs]. You didn’t have to be politically correct. I taught ex-cons at a college in New Jersey, before teaching in the prison.
One of my good convict friends was back in the joint. Once in a while I’d see him on the [prison] yard. I had a big ‘ole Cadillac at the time. He says, “Crabmeat, you’re beginning to be a rich man. Are you a big capitalist now?” I grabbed him and was giving him noogies. Then I looked up and saw machine guns pointing at me [laughs].
What’s your newest song?
The one that pops into mind right now is a children’s song. I went to this luncheon with the Delaware Press Association, because sometimes I’m a journalist, and they’re real nice. I had lunch with a guy who was the publicist at the Brandywine Zoo. He said he had just gotten back from Chengdu in China, where the pandas lived. He brought back two little red pandas for the zoo. I said, “Do you want me to write you a song?” He said, “Yeah.” So I wrote him this song.
Who’s an artist you’d like to work with?
Rob Quist is a folk musician and songwriter who just ran for U.S. Senate from Montana. You might remember, his opponent punched out a reporter. Rob’s not that guy. He’s the one who ran against him. They slandered Rob all through the press. They said he played for a nudist colony in Idaho. Well, so what [laughs]. They brought up anything they could find in his dirty laundry....he’s been a musician his whole life. There’s a lot of dirty laundry. We don’t hide it, we get points for it.
Why do you want to play with Rob?
I know him and he’s a good guy. He has had some bad publicity, but any kind of publicity is good publicity. Some of my good friends have recorded with him and he’s written some very good songs. Stylistically, I think it would work.
What inspired your coloring book, “Stretch Saves the Inland Bays?”
In the 1980s, I recorded a song and it played on WSTW for years; and other people played it. The state used it on some of their videos. I got some gigs because of that. I went to the Department of Natural Resources [asking for money] and said, “I have a song about saving the bays. And you have an organization starting up that’s going to save the inland bays. I have some sketches of a coloring book.”
They gave me money to produce the book. Then they really liked it and paid me and two other guys to go around and sing “Save The Bays,” “Small Wonder” and distribute something like 20,000 copies of the coloring book around schools in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
They all said this is great, telling the kids about the environment. Then I did some Earth Day celebrations. That was many years ago, and people lost interest in Earth Day. It just faded. Then over a year ago, I got a call from Nancy Lucy in Bethany Beach.
She said, “Do you have any copies of that coloring book you drew many years ago?” I said I’d send you one, but I only have a couple copies and you could photocopy pages, but I’d rather redo the book. She said, “Fine, I’ll buy it when you release it.” Then I got enough money to publish the book through the Delaware Division of the Arts.