Sunday, November 28, 2010

Good Rocking Roy Brown

Roy Brown was one of the giants of the post-war rhythm and blues era and while he was initially influenced by Bing Crosby, his vocals were among the earliest to show strong gospel influence. His crying vocals presaged others like Billy Wright, B.B. King and others. His “Good Rocking Tonight” was the first of a number of major hits he had and wrote. Wyonnie Harris would even have a bigger recording with “Good Rocking Tonight,” and Elvis would also record it. He wrote many other great songs and one “Mighty, Mighty Man” would lead to his backing band be known as “The Mighty Mighty Men.” A later reworking by Brown of “Good Rockin’ Tonight” as “Rockin’ at Midnight” was reworked by The Honeydrippers, a Robert Plant project, while Brown’s “Hard Luck Blues” also became a blues standard with Howlin’ Wolf recording it two decades later. A pioneer of New Orleans Rhythm and Blues as well as post war R&B, Roy Brown’s The following review (of a CD I purchased) appeared in the May/June 2006 Jazz & Blues Report (issue 282).

The late Roy Brown was one of the legends of rhythm and blues who left an impressive body of blues that foreshadowed modern soul and urban blues with his high-end blues crying and shouting style. English Ace Records has inaugurated the initial release in its The King & Deluxe Acetates Series with Good Rocking’ Brown, which provides at least one version of every surviving acetate that Brown recorded for Deluxe No. 1 1947. 17 of the performances are previously unissued and include unused tracks and alternate takes.

In fact the CD opens with an alternate take to Browns celebrated Good Rocking’ Tonight, along with unused or alternates of such celebrated tracks as Mighty Mighty Man, Deep Sea Diver, Miss Fanny Brown, Special Lesson No. 1 and ‘Long About Midnight. He was backed by some terrific jump blues bands. Copiously annotated (although one wished Ace would include discographical details) and with very good sound, this terrific disc will be of great interest to those who are fans of jump blues and this great blues pioneer.

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