Tommy Brown (singer)
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|Also known as||Tommy "Weepin' and Cryin'" Brown
"Little" Tommy Brown
"Cryin'" Tommy Brown
May 27, 1931|
Lumpkin, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||March 12, 2016(aged 84)|
|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.
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. The track contained early references to rock and roll :
- 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...
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".
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. On May 6, 2015, Brown was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis.
Brown died in 2016, aged 84.
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- Atlanta boogie - Lyrics from Tommy Brown
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- "Weepin' and Cryin': Tommy Brown". home.earthlink.net. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 119. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
- "TOMMY BROWN". rockabilly.nl. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- "Tommy Brown: bio and stories". tommybrownblues.com. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- "Finally, Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis Gets a Home". nytimes.com. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Mo Barnes, "Atlanta early R&B legend Tommy Brown dies", Rollingout.com. March 14, 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016