Don Crawford

“My songs are are all about the things we’ve all felt.”

– Don Crawford

Don Crawford (Donald Sears Crawford, September 1, 1935-July 6, 2003) was an actor, musician and writer. Often simultaneously. Don was born in Berkeley, California to parents Charles Edward Crawford and Leila Irene Sears.

Don’s father Charles Crawford was born October 1, 1901 in Anniston, Alabama. Charles enlisted on May 8, 1920 in New York (Troop E, 1st Cavalry). Research suggests Charles married Glady Gwendolyn Wysinger on March 2, 1925. He was then 23 and living at 622 E. 10th in Oakland, California. After a divorce, Charles married 19 year-old California native Leila Irene Sears in Alameda, California on October 24, 1933. Leila gave birth to Donald Crawford two years later on September 1, 1935. At that time the Crawford family was living in a duplex at 321 Carrison St. in Berkeley, California, Unit B. By 1940 the Crawford’s moved to 1502 Julia St. in Berkeley. Rent was $30 a month. Charles worked as a Clerk and with the National Fire Insurance Company. On February 14, 1942 at age 40 he was registered for the WWII draft. It appears Don’s parents might have divorced. The 1950 Census shows William J. Anderson married to Irene L. Anderson and living at 1221 Carrison St. in Berkeley. Donald S. Crawford is noted as the step-son of the head of the household. Don’s father Charles died in San Francisco on October 10, 1966.

According to a 1968 article in the Wisconsin State University paper, The Pointer, Don’s “show business career began at 8-years old when he appeared in a Chinese Mandarin Drama presented by a Negro Baptist Church in Berkeley.” He began performing professionally when he was 14. He spent five years as a jazz bass player and studied acting and performed as a member of a little theatre company in San Francisco. Don graduated from Berkeley High School in 1953.

Berkeley High School
Don Crawford senior photo. Berkeley High School 1952.
Don Crawford (center top, white shirt and leaning over)
Senior Publicity Committee. Berkeley High School. Yearbook photo, 1952.

At 17, Don was a bass fiddle and classical music major at San Francisco State College where he also played in the Symphonic Band, the Orchestra and the String Orchestra. Earning his way through school, he played jazz and sang folk at night. By 1957 Don was an aspiring actor and folksinger. In 1958 Crawford gave up acting to become a folksinger full-time.

In 1959 Don decided to hit the road. For four years he worked the folk club circuit throughout the U.S. and Canada, playing the Purple Onion and Hungry i in San Francisco, the Bitter End in New York City, and The Exodus in Denver, among many others.

Don Crawford may have been married to a woman named Loretta Anderson in the early 1960s. They had a daughter in 1962. She is noted on the back of his 1971 album, Another Shade of Black. Research suggests she may also be the image on the front of the album.

From reverse side of album, Another Shade of Black.

Don married musician Carol Hedin in 1966, but eventually ended in divorce. He later married Luella Murgatroyd on December 4, 1981 (-1993) in Alameda, California. Research finds little on Don Crawford’s life after 1975. However, it does show he spent much of that time continuing to live in the San Francisco Bay area. Don Crawford died on July 6, 2003 in Mountain View, located near the south end of the Bay. He was entombed in Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alta, California. He was 67 years old.

“Don Crawford is an able songwriter, an articulate guitarist and a gentle man.” – Billboard Magazine, 1970.


12-11-1959 Aspen Times. For more on the Limelite click here.


Don Crawford inside The Exodus
2-28-1960 Denver Post
3-11-1960 Aspen Times
3-25-1960 Aspen Times
from A New History of American and Canadian Folk Music By Dick Weissman (2019)
5-31-1960 Denver Post
6-7-1960 Denver Post
6-10-1960 Denver Post
7-15-1960 Denver Post

“Met Jesse Fuller in Denver at The Exodus. Jesse was playing downstairs. Upstairs was Don Crawford. Learned the way he does songs — mixed his style in with mine at the time.” – Bob Dylan.

Marta Westerman Remembers Don Crawford at The Gourd

Don Crawford at The Gourd in Oklahoma City, c1960. Photo courtesy of Marta Westerman.

Me and my best friend Carolyn Fuchs started going down to The Gourd in 11th Grade. I was already into folk music, had all the Kingston Trio albums and was in a group with Paula Riggs and Arlene McCarroll, if any of my brain cells are still firing, and a friend who played the banjo. But The Gourd took it up to a whole new level. It changed my life...but most magnetic of all was Don Crawford. He played the twelve-string, said that Richie Havens copped his style. Oh the naughtiness. That was before I moved out, too, because I remember telling my mother I was spending the night at Carolyn’s, then I stayed out late with Don. Not often, once or twice or three times, maybe, just the two of us. I remember one night in his old Porsche, parked out by Lake Hefner. He put his head in my lap and said something about pearls, something beautiful. Don would come out to Bob and Marion’s with the in-crowd a lot. One of our favorite games was sitting in a circle and naming a category, and everyone would say what each person would be within the category. For example, cars. You would be a Cadillac. You would be a Chevy truck, that kind of thing. Another was each person wrote a line, then folded the paper so that the next person couldn’t see, and then we’d read it all together. About as good as e.e. cummings. We made those games up, but I think they’ve entered the Zeitgeist. Don finally said, “You gotta shit or get off the pot,” and had a fling with someone else. You can read between those lines. – Marta Westerman

The Gourd
10-14-1960 Denver Post
10-31-1960 Denver Post


1-8-1961 Denver Post
3-11-1961 Toledo Blade
5-28-1961 Denver Post
7-26-1961 Variety
12-8-1961 Denver Post
12-24-1961 Denver Post


3-9-1962 Valley Times Today
12-8-1962 Vancouver Sun


In 1963 Don became disenchanted with show business and returned to Berkeley to study journalism.

7-26-1963 Denver Post

Journalism Samples: Daily Californian

9-25-1963 Daily Californian
10-30-1963 Daily Californian
11-1-1963 Daily Californian
11-1-1963 Daily Californian
11-8-1963 Daily Californian
11-20-1963 Daily Californian
12-27-1963 Denver Post


5-22-1964 Daily Californian
7-7-1964 Daily Californian
5-22-1964 The Daily Californian
6-30-1964 Denver Post


7-30-1965 Denver Post
8-3-1965 Denver Post
8-17-1965 Denver Post
8-20-1965 Denver Post

In Los Angeles in early October 1965 Don recorded harmonica on Lightnin’ Hopkins album Lightnin’ Strikes, released in 1966. Don plays on “Mojo Hand,” “Little Wail,” “Hurricane Betsy,” and “Shake Yourself.”

10-28-1965 @ The Ice House



Don marries Carol Hedin in 1966

Cover image of Carol Hedin, Broadside 1965.
Broadside 1965 cont.
Washington Folk Strums
1966 poster from book The Afterthought West Coast Rock Posters & Recollections from the ’60s by Jerry Kruz, 2014.
7-24-1966 Denver Post
Don Crawford’s 1966 debut album cover image. Photo was taken by James O’Mara behind The A GoGo club at 1206 Wharf St. (Vancouver) owned by Tony Else and Dick Woods. Info courtesy of Reid Hudson.
Billboard Magazine 1966

“You can’t really make it out but the now defunct Blue Bridge is in the background of Don Crawford’s album cover (photo by James O’Mara). Picture was taken behind The A GoGo club at 1206 Wharf St in 1966 owned by Tony Else and Dick Woods. Dennis (Eddis) Scherk on drums and myself on bass were Don’s Victoria rhythm section known as The Right People. – Reid Hudson

Reid Hudson, 1966


Moose Fever (1967)

‘Moose Fever’ cover of CBC Times featuring Don Crawford and Margot Kidder. Photo: Franz Lindner, CBC Vancouver Still Photo Collection. Scheduled air date: March 20, 1967

Moose Fever is a drama written by Montreal playwright Paul Wayne. It was produced and directed by Len Lauk for the CBUT drama anthology, Studio PacificMoose Fever tells the story of Larry Fraser (Don Crawford), a 35-year-old railroad porter who, while resting in his apartment one afternoon, is startled by a young woman who is attempting to enter his room through the window. After helping her in, he learns that her name is Bonnie Merrick (Margie Kidder) and that she and her father occupy an apartment in the building directly across from Larry’s. She also confesses that she has been secretly watching him for two weeks. At first, Larry is slightly amused by the young woman’s intrusion, but his amusement later turns to annoyance and finally terror as she relates events from her past and her actions of the previous day.” – found here.

Margie (Margot) Kidder and Don Crawford on the set of the CBUT’s ‘Moose Fever’, March 1967. Photo: Alvin Armstrong, CBC Vancouver Still Photo Collection.
Margie Kidder and Don Crawford on the set of ‘Moose Fever’, March 1967. Photo: Alvin Armstrong, CBC Vancouver Still Photo Collection.


Toronto 6-15-1968 RPM Weekly



Waterloo Lutheran University Winter Carnival 1969

Winter Carnival, 1969
Winter Carnival, 1969
Winter Carnival, 1969

1969 Film: The Cube

Don Crawford as “Black Militant” in film The Cube (1969)
On set photo from The Cube (1969)

1969 Film: Change of Mind

Don Crawford as “Callicot” in the film Change of Mind (1969)
12-10-1969 The Beacon


1970 Album
Billboard, 8-22-1970.


1971 Album
Billboard, 5-22-1971
5-30-1971 Denver Post
Chinook, Volume 3, Number 45, December 2, 1971
1971 Album


The Citadel, October 30, 1972.
Don Crawford – The Session WSIU-TV (1972)

Folk-rock singer Don Crawford will appear on “The Session,” the PBS series of popular music. Crawford, a native of San Francisco is known as a singer of folk songs, rhythm and blues oriented music and is also an actor, monologist and composer. A professional performer since the age of 14, he is adept at six and twelve string guitar and is an accomplished jazz bassist. Among others, he has performed with musicians John Handy, Paul Horn and Gerald Wilson. For “The Session,” Crawford performs “I I See You Inside My Mirror,” “The Colorado Sweet / Suite,” “Gonna Buy You A Music Box,” “Lady Anne,” “4th Of July Party Song,” “For All The Ladies,” and “All Because Of You.”




11-14-1974 Denver Post
Colorado Daily – University of Colorado Boulder, Volume 23, Number 114, November 22, 1974



Discography here.

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