Kansas City Frank Melrose in “Pass the Jug”
Ink on paper
4 vertical pages, 6 panels each
signed: “© 1978 R. Crumb”
paper (each page): 10.5" x 14"
size of inked area: 8" x 12:
frame (each panel): 16.5" x 20.5"
condition: Excellent. Professionally framed to gallery standards, UV filtering Acrylite® OP-3, archival mat
First appeared in Coevolution Quarterly #18 (Summer 1978). Reprinted in Best Buy Comics (Apex Novelties, February 1979; 2nd edition: Last Gasp Eco-Funnies, 1988), R. Crumb Draws the Blues (Last Gasp, August, 1993), and The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 12 (Fantagraphics, 1987).
Provenance: from the collection of the late Jay Kennedy, comics editor, scholar and collector, and the author of The Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide (1982).
Note: Better photos will be available after Thanksgiving.
Kansas City Frank Melrose
Franklyn Taft Melrose (1907-1941) was an American jazz and blues pianist, who recorded as Kansas City Frank. On 1924 he left home and began drifting around, playing and settling for short periods in St. Louis, Kansas City and Detroit. He played occasionally in Chicago with Jelly Roll Morton. All hot Chicago jazzmen knew him.
His frequent trips to Detroit and Kansas City are impossible to follow during the late ’20’s and early ’30’s. An impulse and a few dollars would take him whisking off to another city alone and without bothering to report his move to anyone. Sometimes he went in answer to a letter or telegram offering a job. His brother Lester lined up a recording date, the performance of which were put in Brunswick’s race series. Lester chose the nom de stylus of ‘Kansas City Frank’ to give the labels a strong race savor. The appellation struck.
He died on Labor Day, 1941, being found dead in the road after apparently being killed in a fracas in a club in Hammond, Indiana. He died impoverished, with hardly a lot of the public recognition due to him.
© Bruce C. Kennedy Photography