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Nappy Brown

Nobody sounded much like Nappy Brown during the mid-'50s. Exotically rolling his consonants with sing-song impunity (allegedly, Savoy Records boss Herman Lubinsky thought Brown was singing in Yiddish), bellowing the blues with gospel-inspired ferocity, Brown rode rock & roll's first wave for a few glorious years before his records stopped selling. But in the early '80s, Brown seemingly rose from the dead to stage a comeback bid. He became ensconced once again as a venerable blues veteran who'd stop at nothing (including rolling around the stage in sexual simulation) to enthrall his audience.

Napoleon Brown's sanctified screams come naturally -- he grew up in Charlotte, NC, singing gospel as well as blues. He was fronting a spiritual aggregation, the Heavenly Lights, who were signed to the roster of Newark, NJ's Savoy Records when Lubinsky convinced the leather-lunged shouter to cross the secular line in 1954. Voilà, Nappy Brown the R&B singer was born.

Brown brought hellfire intensity to his blues-soaked Savoy debut, "Is It True," but it was "Don't Be Angry" the next year that caused his fortunes to skyrocket. The sizzling rocker sported loads of Brown's unique vocal gimmicks and a hair-raising tenor sax solo by Sam "The Man" Taylor, becoming his first national smash. Those onboard New York session aces didn't hurt the overall ambience of Brown's Savoy dates -- Taylor's scorching horn further enlivened "Open Up That Door," while Budd Johnson or Al Sears took over on other equally raucous efforts. Novelty-tinged upbeat items such as "Little by Little" and "Piddily Patter Patter" defined Brown's output, but his throat-busting turn on the 1957 blues number "The Right Time" (borrowed by Ray Charles in short order) remains a highlight of Brown's early heyday.

After decades away from the limelight, Brown resurfaced in 1984 with a very credible album for Landslide Records, Tore Up, with guitarist Tinsley Ellis' band, the Heartfixers. Later, he recorded a fine set for Black Top (Something Gonna Jump Out the Bushes) with Anson Funderburgh, Ronnie Earl, and Earl King sharing guitar duties, and some not-so-fine CDs for other logos. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Long Time Coming

1. Keep On Pleasin' You

2. You Were A Long Time Coming

3. Don't Be Angry

4. Give Me Your Love

5. That Man

6. Right Time

7. Who

8. Cherry Red

9. Aw Shucks, Baby

10. Every Shut Eye Ain't Sleepin'

11. Bye Bye Baby

12. Take Care Of Me

x

Track List: Night Time Is The Right Time

Disc 1

1. Don't Be Angry (Original Version)

2. I Wonder (What's Wrong With Me)

3. Two Faced Woman (And A Lyin' Man)

4. That Man (Original Version)

5. Just A Little Love

6. Is It Really You?

7. Piddily Patter Patter

8. I'm In The Mood

9. Well, Well, Well Baby LA (Original Version)

10. Open Up That Door

11. I'm Getting Lonesome

12. My Baby (Original Version)

13. Goody Goody Gum Drop

14. A Long Time

15. Bye, Bye Baby (Original Version)

16. Am I

17. Love Baby (Original Version)

18. Pleasin' You

Disc 2

1. I'm Gonna Get You

2. I Cried Like A Baby

3. The Right Time (Original Version)

4. There'll Come A Day

5. It Don't Hurt No More

6. Baby-Cry-Cry-Baby

7. Love Locks

8. Down In The Alley

9. Baby, I Got News For You

10. Little By Little

11. The Hole I'm In

12. Skidy Woe

13. I've Had My Fun

14. Didn't You Know

15. Coal Miner

16. The Lock On The Door

17. So Glad I Don't Have To Cry No More

18. Any Time Is The Right Time

x

Track List: Deep Sea Diver

1. Mary Lue

2. Things Have Changed

3. Bye Bye Baby

4. Don't Hurt No More

5. Deep Sea Diver

6. Baby It's All Over

7. You Must Be Crazy

8. Wella Wella Baby Le

x

Track List: Just For Me

1. Night Time

2. Bye Bye Baby

3. Things Have Changed

4. Just For Me

5. We Need To Love One Another

6. What More Can I Say

7. You Must Be Crazy Woman

8. Deap Sea Diver

x

Track List: Something Gonna Jump Out The Bushes

1. Have Mercy, Mercy Baby!

2. Dirty Work

3. I'm With You All The Way

4. Something Gonna Jump Out The Bushes

5. You Mean More To Me Than Gold

6. Flamingo

7. My Jug And I

8. Life's Ups And Downs

9. Your Love Is Real

10. You Were A Long Time Coming

11. Nothing Takes The Place Of You

12. I'm Walking Out On You

x

Track List: Don't Be Angry

1. Is It True

2. That Man

3. I Wonder

4. Two Faced Woman

5. Just A Little Love

6. It's Really You

7. Don't Be Angry

8. Land I Love

9. I'm In The Mood

10. Open Up That Door

11. I Want To Live

12. Skiddy Woe

13. I'm Getting Lonesome

14. I Cried Like A Baby

15. Bye Bye Baby

16. Little By Little

Comments

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Nappy passed away on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008, at the age of 78. He had remained in his hometown of Charlotte, NC.

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