By Robert M. Marovich

JGM was saddened to learn from Kim Ruff-Moore and Jeffery Moore Sr. (New Consolers) that Arthur Crume of the Soul Stirrers passed away on December 12, 2023. She said that he died in Savannah Memorial Hospital after a brief illness.

Born in Swift, Missouri, on July 6, 1929, Arthur Lee Crume was the sixth child of a family born to Dillard Sr. and Lonia Crume. The family ultimately grew to a total of eleven children—three girls and eight boys (some sources cite only two girls, possibly omitting Bernice, who died from injuries suffered in a fire the year Arthur was born).

Arthur started singing at an early age and at thirteen joined his brothers in a group called the Crume Brothers. The Crume Brothers, by now living in Chicago, consisted of six of the eight male siblings. Although the group initially sang unaccompanied, they became famous for incorporating electric guitar in their music in the early 1950s when LeRoy and Arthur taught themselves to play the guitar. It is said that the Crume Brothers were the first quartet in Chicago to incorporate the electric guitar in its accompaniment.

Not only did the Crume Brothers sing and record gospel music, including for their own label, Crumco, but they also cut R&B discs for Vee-Jay Records in 1958, Peacock in 1962, Atco in 1965, and Chess/Checker in 1968.

In addition to working with his brothers, Arthur began playing guitar for and singing with other gospel groups around Chicago and elsewhere. Among these groups were the Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Pilgrim Jubilees, the Swan Silvertones, the Sensational Nightingales, and many years with the Highway QCs (his brother Ray preceded him in the QCs). Starting in 1965, Arthur joined the Soul Stirrers, where his brother Leroy had held court since 1955, when the Stirrers were on the top of the quartet world with dynamic lead vocalists Sam Cooke and Paul Foster. Arthur’s first recording session with the Stirrers was in November 1965, when the group released a holiday single called “Christmas Joy.”

Eventually, brothers Rufus and Dillard Jr. joined the Stirrers; it was as if the Crume Brothers morphed into the Soul Stirrers. With lead vocalists such as Willie Rogers, Martin Jacox, and brother Dillard, the Stirrers didn’t call on Arthur for solos, but he more than held his own in the background harmonies and kept the rhythm going with the guitar. In 1974, Arthur became the manager of the Soul Stirrers and eventually surpassed everyone, save J. J. Farley, in terms of the number of years of membership in the quartet.

Arthur Crume worked with Donna J. Bosn to write his memoir, The Perfect Song, published in 2010. The impact of the Crume brothers on Black music is worthy of its own study.

We extend our sympathies to the Crume Family as well as Arthur’s friends and many fans.

Arthur has gone, but do not fear; he is with God, and God is near.

Homegoing Service Information:
Springfield Missionary Baptist Church
151 Oak Street
Reidsville, GA
11:00 am Saturday

December 23, 2023

The New Consolers and members of the Nightingales are confirmed to sing. Many of the old Soul Stirrers member will sing and many other legendary gospel artists are being confirmed to pay tribute in a concert-style Life Celebration.

Representative for the family:
Carolyn Crume Blackshear
Industry Rep for family: Jeffery Moore
Former Soul Stirrers Member


  1. Elder Lee Williams aka The Sheriff December 14, 2023 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for publishing this, Bob. No matter at what age, I always learn something new each day.

    • Bob Marovich December 14, 2023 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      You are welcome, Sheriff. That makes two of us!

  2. Joe Peay December 15, 2023 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Bob, I don’t know which brother was playing for the Soul Stirrers in the middle 50’s but the last time Sam Cooke was with the group in Pittsburgh they were singing at the Schenley High School Auditorium. The guitarist was playing so sweet the audience made him play an encore. I enquired and was told his name was Crume. I was in high school and after the program I tried to talk to Sam but the women crowded me out. This was 1955 or 56.

    • Bob Marovich December 15, 2023 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      Hi, Joe – that would have been Leroy Crume. He started with the group in the mid-50s.

  3. Michele Marotta December 15, 2023 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Bob, thank you for publishing this. Please give my condolences to the family on my and the rest of my family’s behalf. I remember him for
    When o was very young.

    • Bob Marovich December 18, 2023 at 11:57 am - Reply

      Thank you, Michele – I certainly will.

  4. tlover tonet December 16, 2023 at 4:20 am - Reply

    I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for posting. “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” by M. Kathleen Casey.

  5. Michelle Lee December 18, 2023 at 11:31 am - Reply

    RIP Grandpa

  6. Linda Emory-Kelly December 19, 2023 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Rest In Peace Poppa! I Miss And Will Forever Love You!

  7. Linda Emory-Kelly December 19, 2023 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Poppa I Will Forever Love And Miss You!
    My heart is broken!

  8. Debra Crume-Lofton December 23, 2023 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Bob. I’m Debra. Arthur oldest child. Thank you all for your support and prayers.

    • Bob Marovich December 23, 2023 at 8:59 pm - Reply

      You are most welcome, Debra. My deepest sympathies to you and your family. Your father is gone, but do not fear; he is with God, and God is near.

  9. Gayle Shetterly January 15, 2024 at 4:53 am - Reply

    Cancer truly sucks,Talking to you last week and having you ask me how I was feeling shows what a heart you had caring about what I was going through, all the while fighting the fight. I miss you Dean and I’ll never forget the end of the conversation when you said Love You Buddy . Love you too buddy!!!

Leave A Comment

Written by : Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.