Tommy Brown (singer)

Last updated
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.

Contents

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]

Related Research Articles

John Lee Hooker American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist

John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. The son of a sharecropper, he rose to prominence performing an electric guitar-style adaptation of Delta blues. Hooker often incorporated other elements, including talking blues and early North Mississippi Hill country blues. He developed his own driving-rhythm boogie style, distinct from the 1930s–1940s piano-derived boogie-woogie.

Louis Jordan American jazz, blues and rhythm and blues musician, songwriter and bandleader

Louis Thomas Jordan was an American musician, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", his highest profile came towards the end of the swing era.

New Orleans rhythm and blues

New Orleans rhythm and blues is a style of rhythm and blues music that originated in the U.S. city of New Orleans. Most popular from 1948 to 1955, it was a direct precursor to rock and roll and strongly influenced ska. Instrumentation typically includes drums, bass, piano, horns, electric guitar, and vocals. The style is characterized by syncopated "second line" rhythms, a strong backbeat, and soulful vocals. Artists such as Roy Brown, Dave Bartholomew, and Fats Domino are representative of the New Orleans R&B sound.

Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams was an African American jazz and blues saxophonist, bandleader, and songwriter. His record "The Huckle-Buck", recorded in December 1948, was one of the most successful R&B records of the time. In his Honkers and Shouters, Arnold Shaw credited Williams as one of the first to employ the honking tenor saxophone solo that became the hallmark of rhythm and blues and rock and roll in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Lucky Millinder American rhythm and blues and swing bandleader

Lucius Venable "Lucky" Millinder was an American rhythm-and-blues and swing bandleader. Although he could not read or write music, did not play an instrument and rarely sang, his showmanship and musical taste made his bands successful. His group was said to have been the greatest big band to play rhythm and blues, and gave work to a number of musicians who later became influential at the dawn of the rock and roll era. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1986.

Esther Phillips American R&B singer

Esther Phillips was an American singer, best known for her R&B vocals. She was a versatile singer and also performed pop, country, jazz, blues and soul music.

Music of Georgia (U.S. state)

Georgia's musical history is diverse and substantial; the state's musicians include Southern rap groups such as Outkast and Goodie Mob, as well as a wide variety of rock, pop, blues, and country artists such as Ray Charles, Otis Redding, James Brown, and The Allman Brothers Band. The music of Athens, Georgia is especially well known for a kind of quirky college rock that has included such well-known bands as R.E.M., The B-52's, and Pylon.

Dave Bartholomew musician, band leader, composer and arranger

David Louis Bartholomew is an American musician, bandleader, composer, arranger and record producer, prominent in the music of New Orleans throughout the second half of the 20th century. Originally a trumpeter, he has been active in many musical genres, including rhythm and blues, big band, swing music, rock and roll, New Orleans jazz and Dixieland. In his induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he was cited as a key figure in the transition from jump blues and swing to R&B and as "one of the Crescent City’s greatest musicians and a true pioneer in the rock and roll revolution."

Rock and roll emerged as a defined musical style in the United States in the early to mid-1950s. It derived most directly from the rhythm and blues music of the 1940s, which itself developed from earlier blues, boogie woogie, jazz and swing music, and was also influenced by gospel, country and western, and traditional folk music. Rock and roll in turn provided the main basis for the music that, since the mid-1960s, has been generally known simply as rock music.

Drivin N Cryin

Drivin' N Cryin' is an American hard rock/Southern rock band from Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

Joe Liggins American R&B, jazz and blues pianist

Joseph Christopher "Joe" Liggins, Jr. was an American R&B, jazz and blues pianist and vocalist who led Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers in the 1940s and 1950s. His band appeared often on the Billboard magazine charts. The band's biggest hit was "The Honeydripper", released in 1945. Joe Liggins was the older brother of R&B performer Jimmy Liggins.

Roy Milton American R&B and jump blues singer, drummer and bandleader

Roy Bunny Milton was an American R&B and jump blues singer, drummer and bandleader.

Jimmy Liggins American R&B guitarist and bandleader

Jimmy Liggins was an American R&B guitarist and bandleader. His brother was the more commercially successful R&B/blues pianist, Joe Liggins.

Sydney "Syd" Nathan was an American music business executive, who founded King Records, a leading independent record label, in 1943.

Billy Wright (musician) American singer

William Wright was a jump blues singer from the U.S. He is considered one of Little Richard's greatest influences in his formative years.

Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop song performed by Lionel Hampton

"Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" is a 1946 song by Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra. The song's lead vocals were performed by Lionel Hampton himself and the recording featured Herbie Fields on alto sax. The song went to number one on the R&B Juke Box chart for sixteen non-consecutive weeks and reached number nine on the national pop charts.

Floyd Smith (musician) American jazz guitarist

Floyd George Smith, sometimes credited as Floyd "Guitar" Smith, was an American jazz guitarist and record producer.

Margie Day, later Margie Day Walker, was an American R&B singer who had success in the 1950s and 1960s.

References

  1. "Tommy Brown's Collectables". tommybrownblues.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  2. Atlanta boogie - Lyrics from Tommy Brown Archived 2007-05-28 at the Wayback Machine .
  3. "Tommy Brown - Biography". allmusic.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  4. "Weepin' and Cryin': Tommy Brown". home.earthlink.net. 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". rockabilly.nl. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  7. "Tommy Brown: bio and stories". tommybrownblues.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  8. "Finally, Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis Gets a Home". nytimes.com. Retrieved June 27, 2015.[ permanent dead link ]
  9. Mo Barnes, "Atlanta early R&B legend Tommy Brown dies", Rollingout.com. March 14, 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016