Ex musician, assembly line worker and alcoholic, John Coleman Sr. is a man with deferred and shattered dreams. Living in a Chicago housing project during the 60’s he is a father raising his eight-member family; four girls, two musical prodigy boys and a mentally unstable wife, in a drug, gang and gun infested environment among households with absent dads. During a competitive time of young musical prodigies, he fights for a pathway out of the projects through his talented sons. On a quest to find a way out, he drags his gifted boys on a whirlwind journey of hope, from talent shows to south side Blues clubs and observes their reputation growing with each performance. But along with the journey to see his boys “get great”, is his ongoing struggle with alcohol, his wife’s neurotic behavior and the fortified barrier of resentment from his jealous daughters all brought on by a family history of mental illness. Not only does John Coleman Sr. have to contend with the inner turmoil of his family, but a family tragedy shakes him to the core and threatens the sanctity of his high-spirited loved ones.
The ‘Great’ Kickin’dog is a Black experience during a turbulent time of civil rights in the 6o’s and free spirits of the 70’s embedded in the cradle of Chicago’s segregation. It is a coming-of-age saga of passion, perseverance and the courage to rise above; a compelling story of hope and the question of fate.
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Kenneth Allen Crutchfield, Sr. was born on the south side of Chicago into a family of musicians. During his formative years he worked as a professional drummer in Chicago then traveled globally after finishing high school. He received a Bachelors degree from the University of Southern California and a Masters degree from Queens College (CUNY) in New York City, both in music. He has written several plays, The Great Kickin’ Dog, Balloon on a String and Lorna’s L’Elegant Lounge; two musicals, All God’s Saints Go To Heaven-Not and Bones Brothers Brothel. All were produced in New York City as well as nationally. Ken is also a writer of prose and pens poetry as well. The ‘Great’ Kickin’ Dog’ is his first novel, loosely based on his family.