Crawford first performed at club gigs from Cincinnati to Saint-Tropez, but made her name in mid 1970s in New York, where she sang with jazzmen George Benson and Cannonball Adderley. She signed with Columbia Records and released her first single, "Knock On Wood" / "If You Say the Word" in 1972. Adderley invited her to sing on his album, Big Man
(1975). During a brief tenure at Columbia Records, Crawford recorded "Don't Get Caught in Love's Triangle".In 1978, Crawford performed on the second solo album of former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. She sang vocals on "Hoping Love Will Last", the opening song on side two of Please Don't Touch
.She led R&B veterans the Crusaders on the transatlantic hit "Street Life" (1979). It was featured in the soundtrack for the films Sharky's Machine
and Jackie Brown
, and appeared in commercials in the early 2000s. She later recorded for Warner Bros. Records. Crawford was named the 'Most Outstanding Performer' at the 1980 Tokyo Music Festival.Her follow-up solo efforts included "One Day I'll Fly Away" (1980); "You Might Need Somebody" (1981); and "Rainy Night in Georgia" (1981); which all became soul standards. The album, Secret Combination
(1981) stayed on the UK Albums Chart for sixty weeks, after which her profile dipped, despite a return to the UK Top Ten with "Almaz" in 1986. She continued to record for Warner Bros through the 1990s, but was unable to score either a big R&B hit or major crossover success.Naked And True
(1995) brought Crawford back to her roots: it included George Benson's "Give Me the Night", and confirmed her soul heritage by featuring Funkadelicists Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell and the Fred Wesley Horns. She enjoyed her highest profile of the decade when rising starlet, Shola Ama, had a worldwide hit with her 1997 cover of "You Might Need Somebody".Crawford recorded a live session with Joe Sample on July 24, 2007, at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road
. The episode she shared with David Gilmour and Amos Lee was screened on the Sundance Channel in the US and Channel 4 in the UK.She has sung with Bootsy Collins, Johnny Bristol, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Rick Springfield, Steve Hackett, and Joe Sample amongst others.