Fleming Brown

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Fleming Brown
Background information
Born (1926-12-19)December 19, 1926
Marshall, Missouri, USA
Origin Chicago, IL
Died 1984
Genres Folk
Occupation(s) songwriter
Instruments Guitar, banjo
Years active 1960s – 1970s

Fleming Brown, (December 19, 1926 – 1984), born in Marshall, Missouri. He was a banjo player and one of the early teachers at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. As an artist, Brown specialized in traditional songs of the Southern Appalachians. He was influenced by old-time banjo players such as Uncle Dave Macon and Dock Boggs. Brown supported himself as a graphic artist and as such never performed widely outside of Chicago.[1]

Brown learned the banjo from Doc Hopkins, an old-time singer who hosted a morning radio show on WLS in Chicago. He would have his lesson at the studio after the show daily. As a banjo player Brown traveled much learning technique from other banjo players like Doc Hopkins, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Grandpa Jones, Hobart Smith, Frank Proffitt.[1] In 1963 Brown recorded the banjo player Hobart Smith for a record released as The 1963 Fleming Brown Tapes.

In 1953 he joined the "I Come for to Sing" group with Studs Terkel, Larry Lane, Chet Roble and Big Bill Broonzy. Also in that year, he hosted a folk music radio show on Chicago's WFMT which was entitled "The Midnight Special" since it began at midnight on Saturdays.[2][3]

At the Old Town School, Brown mentored banjoist Stephen Wade who eventually took over teaching Fleming's class in 1974.

Fleming has performed at the Ashville, North Carolina, Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, and the University of Chicago Folk Festival.

Interviewed by Stephen Wade, Chicago, May 24, 1983. Published in BANJO NEWSLETTER V.XI, No.5, March 1984.


  • Newport Folk Festival Vol.2, Folkways FA 2432, 1961 [1 track]
  • Appalachian Banjo Songs and Ballads, Folk-Legacy Records FSI-1 CD-4, 1962
  • Little Rosewood Casket and Other Songs of Joy, Stephen Wade, Merrywand 1953, 1984


  1. ^ a b http://web.mac.com/markdvorak/iWeb/Site2/hallofhonormain.html, Old Town School Hall of Honor [1]
  2. ^ http://glenbard44.vacau.com/radio.htm, Studs Terkel interview with Fleming Brown [2]
  3. ^ http://www.midnightspecial.org/whatis.html, The history of the Midnight Special [3]

External links[edit]