Tommy Brown (singer)

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Tommy Brown
Also known as Tommy "Weepin' and Cryin'" Brown
"Little" Tommy Brown
"Cryin'" Tommy Brown
Born(1931-05-27)May 27, 1931
Lumpkin, Georgia, U.S.
Died March 12, 2016(2016-03-12) (aged 84)
Genres Blues, R&B
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1949 - 1977, 2001 - 2016
Labels Regent, Dot, Savoy, United, Groove, Imperial
Associated acts The Griffin Brothers

Thomas A. Brown, known as Tommy Brown (May 27, 1931 March 12, 2016) was an American R&B singer who achieved most of his success in the early 1950s, particularly on records with The Griffin Brothers.

Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.

The Griffin Brothers were an American rhythm and blues band from Norfolk, Virginia, sometimes credited on record as the Griffin Brothers Orchestra. They made successful recordings with singer Margie Day, and had a no.1 hit on the Billboard R&B chart in 1951 with "Weepin' and Cryin'", featuring Tommy Brown.


Life and career

Born in Lumpkin, Georgia, Brown formed a small band with himself as the drummer in the 1940s, and worked in clubs around Atlanta. In 1949 he recorded "Atlanta Boogie" on the Regent label, a subsidiary of Savoy Records. [1] The track contained early references to rock and roll  :

Lumpkin, Georgia City in Georgia, United States

The city of Lumpkin is the county seat of Stewart County, Georgia, United States. The population was 1,369 at the 2000 census.

Drummer percussionist who creates and accompanies music using drums

A drummer is a percussionist who creates music using drums.

Savoy Records American record label

Savoy Records is an American record company and label established by Herman Lubinsky in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey. Savoy specialized in jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel music.

Well, the whole town's rockin' just about the break of day
Well, when the bar starts jumpin' you can hear the cats all say
Well, let's rock'n'roll, well, let's rock'n'roll
Yes, let's rock'n'roll till the break of day... [2]

In 1951 he moved on to Dot where he was teamed with the Griffin Brothers, an R&B orchestra led by brothers Jimmy Griffin (trombone) and Ernest "Buddy" Griffin (piano) from Norfolk, Virginia. They had toured widely with Amos Milburn, Paul Williams, and others, and recorded as the backing band for Margie Day on two R&B Top 10 hits, "Street Walkin' Daddy" and "Little Red Rooster".

Dot Records record label

Dot Records is an American record label founded by Randy Wood that was active between 1950 and 1979. The label was reactivated in 2014 through a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group and the Republic Records unit of Universal Music Group. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the label was discontinued in 2017.

James Arthur Griffin was an American singer, guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work with the 1970s soft rock band Bread. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1970 as co-writer of "For All We Know".

Norfolk, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 242,803; in 2017, the population was estimated to be 244,703 making it the second-most populous city in Virginia after neighboring Virginia Beach.

In August of that same year Brown was featured singer on the R&B Top 10 hit "Tra-La-La", credited to the Griffin Brothers Orchestra, and later in the year the combination reached #1 on the R&B chart with "Weepin' and Cryin'", credited to The Griffin Brothers Orchestra featuring Tommy Brown. [3]

In early 1952, Brown joined the United States Marine Corps, and when he returned in October of the same year, he moved to United Records in Chicago. While Brown was away, his previous label released in March 1952 the "No News From Home" single, which was recorded from earlier sessions. [4] He played for a while in Bill Doggett's band, and claimed to help write Doggett's hit "Honky Tonk". He also recorded with Walter Horton during this period. [5] Over the next decade he recorded R&B for a number of smaller labels, before starting to perform and record as a comedian in the 1960s and 1970s. He released two live albums for his comedy act, 1967's I Ain't Lyin' and I Ain't Lyin' Vol. 2 a year later. [6]

United Records record label

United Records was a record company and label founded in Chicago by Leonard Allen and Lew Simpkins in 1951. United issued records by such artists as Tab Smith, Jimmy Forrest, Gene Ammons, Memphis Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, the Four Blazes, the Moroccos, Robert Anderson, and the Staple Singers.

Chicago City in Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, and the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, which is often referred to as "Chicagoland." The Chicago metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States; the fourth largest in North America ; and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.

Bill Doggett American jazz and rhythm and blues pianist and organist

William Ballard Doggett was an American jazz and rhythm and blues pianist and organist. He is best known for his compositions "Honky Tonk" and "Hippy Dippy", and variously working with the Ink Spots, Johnny Otis, Wynonie Harris, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Jordan.

In 1977, Brown returned to Atlanta to run the Landmark Personal Care Center. After fans sought a return in his musical career, Brown made a comeback in 2001, recording and performing around the world in blues festivals. His past recordings have also been reissued on compilation albums. [7] On May 6, 2015, Brown was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis. [8]

A compilation album comprises tracks, which may be previously released or unreleased, usually from several separate recordings by either one or several performers. If by one artist, then generally the tracks were not originally intended for release together as a single work, but may be collected together as a greatest hits album or box set. If from several performers, there may be a theme, topic, time period, or genre which links the tracks, or they may have been intended for release as a single work—such as a tribute album. When the tracks are by the same recording artist, the album may be referred to as a retrospective album or an anthology.

Brown died in 2016, aged 84. [9]

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  1. "Tommy Brown's Collectables". Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  2. Atlanta boogie - Lyrics from Tommy Brown Archived 2007-05-28 at the Wayback Machine .
  3. "Tommy Brown - Biography". Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  4. "Weepin' and Cryin': Tommy Brown". Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  5. Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 119. ISBN   1-85868-255-X.
  6. "TOMMY BROWN". Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  7. "Tommy Brown: bio and stories". Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  8. "Finally, Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis Gets a Home". Retrieved June 27, 2015.[ permanent dead link ]
  9. Mo Barnes, "Atlanta early R&B legend Tommy Brown dies", March 14, 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016