Roy Brown

TrackSingle
Good Rocking TonightDe Luxe 1093
Roy Brown BoogieDe Luxe 3189
Judgement Day BluesDe Luxe 3212
Boogie At MidnightDe Luxe 3300
Hard Luck BluesDe Luxe 3304
Travelin' ManKing 4602
Money Can't Buy LoveKing 4609
Bootleggin' BabyKing 4704
Let The Four Winds BlowImperial X5439
Love For SaleFriendship 701

Roy Brown photo 1

Good Rockin’ Roy Brown

 

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Roy Brown playlist

 

DAVE STEPHENS’ NEW ORLEANS SCENES

#16 ROY BROWN

 

Ask anyone who thinks that they know a bit about fifties rock and roll whether they’ve heard of Roy Brown and the chances are that they’ll say yes, wasn’t he the guy who had the original of Good Rockin’ Tonight which Elvis cut as one of his brilliant series of Sun records that introduced him to the world at large. Ask whether they’ve ever heard the record or are aware of any other records made by Mr. Brown and you’ll probably get a shaking of the head.

Between 1947 and 1957, Roy Brown hit the US R&B Top Ten 12 or 14 times depending whether you count both sides of singles or not. And Good Rocking Tonight (with a g instead of an apostrophe) didn’t quite make the ten but it did chart twice. Another point of interest, or maybe lack of interest given attitudes by record labels on this side of the pond in the late forties and early fifties, is that none of these records were released over here. Indeed, only two singles from Roy were released in the UK during the period covered. So that person you accosted asking impertinent questions might not have had such a bad excuse for totally failing your incisive supplementary.

Roy was a jump blues singer. Look up what Wikipedia says on Jump Blues and you’ll get:

Jump blues is an up-tempo style of blues, usually played by small groups and featuring horn instruments. It was popular in the 1940s and was a precursor of rhythm and blues and rock and roll.”

Which is fine but over the following decade, jump blues was largely superseded by R&B and rock and roll, not to mention the electrified form of country blues which was emerging from places like Chicago. Consequently, when British fans turned their attention to blues in the early to mid sixties, jump blues and Roy Brown hardly got a look-in. All of which might just give that person another excuse.

Coming to it stone cold, Good Rocking Tonight sounds as if it comes from another era altogether. It’s only the fact that there’s an impression – false as you subsequently realise – that Roy sings it all over one chord which makes it sound different to most other jump blues records. But there’s a pumping beat albeit without a guitar in sight – it’s all riffing horns – and the references to rocking aren’t exactly infrequent; Roy’s heard the news that there’s gonna be good rocking tonight and he’s pretty excited about it. There was the usual semi-obligatory effort to equate rocking with dancing but if you chose to interpret what was gonna happen behind the barn in another way, well I guess that was up to you.

If this is really the first time you’ve heard the record then the other thing you’ll marvel at is that wonderful voice. I’m frequently tempted to use the word ‘plummy’ but whether that word does it any justice I’m not sure. It’s big, it’s fluid, and instantly recognisable. And as we get some way into the story you might hear it becoming more adaptable than you might have initially thought.

Both the date and the place of Roy’s birth are shrouded in some confusion and that’s because of alternates proffered by the man himself. He was actually born in 1920 in Kinder, a small town in Louisiana. Roy’s version substituted 1925 and New Orleans. In one of his early singles, Mighty Mighty Man which was self-written as most of them were, he sings the line “Yes, I’m a real young man, a brand new twenty-five” when in fact he was 27, suggesting that he had something of a thing about age. In terms of location, he did cut his De Luxe singles including Good Rocking Tonight at Cosimo Matassa’s studio in New Orleans but he’d travelled around a bit before he got there.

Like many from the south he moved to L.A. in the early forties initially working as a professional boxer. But winning a major singing competition in the city in 1945 (performing songs from his favourite, Bing Crosby) seemed to open up the possibility of an alternate career. He moved back south, travelling first to Houston where he failed an army medical, due to flat feet we are told (source: John Broven in his book “Rhythm And Blues In New Orleans”) and then on to Galveston, Texas where he got work in a club singing the hit parade. As the months moved on his repertoire changed to encompass jump blues material from the likes of Wynonie Harris and Louis Jordan. I’ll let John Broven and Roy himself pick up the story:

“Roy Brown left Galveston in a rush after “I had an affair with my boss’s girlfriend and they caught me” and headed for New Orleans, where he recorded Good Rocking Tonight.”

Before we zero in on that record, there’s a question that needs an answer. Was “Good Rocking” his first record or not? Some – not all – discographies, including the singles list provided in the Wiki entry, show another Roy Brown record appearing before “Good Rocking” with that single being Deep Sea Diver/Bye Baby Bye on the Gold Star label with both dated as 1947 and no month given. But try as I might, I initially found nothing about how that record came about. Gold Star Records operated out of Houston but drew in talent from a wide area of East Texas and South West Louisiana. In the footnotes there’s some conjecture – and I should state that it’s only conjecture – that the record was cut when Roy was in Houston or Galveston but was released in summer 1948.

However, belatedly, I did find within the entry on Roy Brown in “The Encyclopedia of Popular Music” written by Colin Larkin and reproduced at Oldies.com the following couple of sentences: “He returned to Louisiana in 1945 and formed his first jump band, the Mellodeers, for a long-term residency at the Club Granada in Galveston, Texas. There he worked for some time with Clarence Samuels as a double act, the Blues Twins, and was illicitly recorded by the local Gold Star label.” Quite what Larkin means by “illicit” I don’t know but would hazard a guess that the result was only released after Roy had signed his contract with De Luxe Records and had achieved some chart success.

Well, they call me Deep Sea Diver ‘cause I can dive so far down
Every time my baby wants a diver she always hunts her daddy down

Apart from the appearance of double entendre again, the record showed three things: that Roy and possibly the Mellodeers backing him were perfectly capable of putting together a professional sounding jump blues performance; that Roy’s voice was something out of the ordinary; and that the composer/lyricist, who isn’t named on the record but one would assume was Roy since he wrote almost all the tracks he cut from the late forties ‘til the early fifties, had the ability to concoct themes and phrases which could capture the listener’s interest not only because of their salacious nature but because of vivid images e.g. “Daddy if you were the devil I’d marry you and live deep down in hell”. And there was a fourth thing I didn’t mention; Roy’s propensity to open his records (and often, individual verses) with a drawled “well”. As he did on Good Rocking Tonight, which also demonstrated that ability for illustration within his lyrics:

Well, Sweet Lorraine, Sioux City Sue
Sweet Georgia Brown, Caldonia, too!
They’ll all be there shouting like’a mad
Like, “Hoy, sister! Hoy, sister! Ain’t you glad?
We heard the news
There’s good rockin’ tonight

Roy wrote the song while he was still in Galveston. After he’d moved to New Orleans and found himself in need of cash, he attempted to sell his handiwork to Wynonie Harris when he was performing in town. He got turned down but Roy wasn’t about to stop trying and had another go when another blues singer (and pianist), Cecil Gant, was in the Crescent City. Unlike Harris, Gant was so impressed that he rang Jules Braun of De Luxe Records in New York and had Roy sing the song to him, reportedly at 4:00 in the morning NYC time (source: Wiki). The unconventional approach worked and in July 1947, Roy, backed by drummer Bob Ogden’s band, cut “Good Rocking” plus its flip in Cosimo’s first studio which operated under the name J&M Recording Service “located on the edge of the French Quarter and a short distance from the main Canal Street drag” (source: John Broven).

Roy’s record was something of a sleeper. It eventually clambered up to its high point of number 13 in the R&B Chart in June 1948. What that did do though was trigger Wynonie Harris and his label (King) to wake up and his version appeared in spring that year. It stormed to the top spot in the R&B Chart but by that time Roy had already hit just that position with Long About Midnight, his fifth De Luxe single, which was a slow blues, demonstrating that there was an audience out there for this sort of material too. He also had, if not quite the last laugh, at least a mild snigger with his own “Good Rocking” which, after a reissue, had a second flurry of chart success reaching #11 in 1949.

I’ve jumped ahead and not talked about that flip I referred to a para or so earlier. From the same school of songwriting as “Good Rocking”, Lolly Pop Mama didn’t mince its words – “She said “hurry daddy, bring my lolly pop””. Musically, it was up tempo 12 bar blues with riffing horns backing up that need to get there and do the bidding of his “big fat mama”. Putting the lyrics to one side, musically the number was more typical of approx three quarters of Roy’s De Luxe output than the A-side. Totally dominated by brass sections with trumpets or saxes often soloing in addition to the multi-instrument riffing. Pianos appeared occasionally but guitars didn’t really show with any frequency until the early fifties.

Roy Brown Boogie, a minimalist title if ever I heard one, shows the band’s talents to the full, with variations on the basic riff appearing on almost every run-through of the 12 bar verses after a suitable piano intro with the left hand moving apace. The guitarist is even allowed to show what he can do every now and again. And from the manner in which the last word of the title appears within Roy’s lyrics on this and other records, it’s evidently yet another take on the sexual metaphor role.

A more stripped back version of the basic approach can be heard on Boogie At Midnight, a #3 R&B Chart hit for Roy in ’49. For much of the number the brass riffing disappears completely and is replaced by strong handclapping, a tinkling piano and a solitary sax (who might have been alone but certainly makes up for it) plus shouted responses from male vocalists every now and again. The latter was a not infrequent trope on jump blues records but Brown’s arranger doesn’t overuse it on his records. Add in the way in which the almost disguised switches of chord occur within the basic 12 bar structure and you have a record that sounds at the same time both more modern and more primitive than most of his other discs.

The public liked the idea of Roy boogieing at midnight and awarded him a number 2 R&B Chart placing.

I’ve made brief mention of slow blues. His most famous platter in this vein has to be Hard Luck Blues. While the title and lyrics might not have veered far from blues cliché, it was the combination of Roy’s voice and its juxtaposition against a sophisticated arrangement which made the whole thing such a triumph; it puts me in mind of some of those great orchestrations that Joe Scott provided for Bobby Bland later on in the same decade and into the sixties. I’m also inclined to pose the question: would Bland or Jackie Wilson or Clyde McPhatter have their places in blues and soul history, were it not for Roy Brown and records like this.

Well, rocks is my pillow, the cold ground is my bed
The highway is my home so I might as well be dead
I’m walkin’ and walkin’, seems I have no place to go
My mother’s dead and gone, father drove me from his door

That record gave Roy his second number one in the nation’s R&B Chart and was an excellent start to 1950.

More evidence of Roy ‘preachifying’ – he uses the couplet “Well, I’m gonna get religion, learn how to pray / I need help bad, lord, and that is the only way” in Hard Luck Blues – is present in the more sprightly and riff driven Judgement Day Blues, the theme of which was more akin to those sometimes used by country blues singers rather than the more urban variety. If the spoken approach utilised by Brother Brown part way through brings thoughts of rap to mind, then I’d draw the reader’s attention to a 1948 record, Whose Hat Is That, in the last quarter of which a cuckolded Roy’s singing ascends (or descends) into rap.

Before leaving the De Luxe phase I would mention one of the hits from 1950. Love Don’t Love Nobody which demonstrated a hitherto underused talent for philosophising from our Roy. Couple that with at least a hint at a melody – perhaps more of a melodic vocal riff on the title line – and there was a suggestion of Roy moving more into pop territory, though I hasten to add that this didn’t come to pass (or did it? see later).

In 1953, De Luxe was taken over by King Records of Cincinnati – for a little more detail, see footnotes. Roy’s first record for the label, Hurry Hurry Baby sounded very much like business as usual: an excellent jumper with the boys wielding the brass very much to the fore as per De Luxe. Travelin’ Man, the slow blues on the flip, differed though. It wasn’t merely that a guitar (from unsung session man Jimmy Davis) opened proceedings and featured strongly throughout, it was the added acid in its tone in contrast to the lighter jazzy feel of the De Luxe players. I am generalising, but this particular track didn’t sound at all like a De Luxe record.

The same guitarist featured on Roy’s second King disc, Money Can’t Buy Love (and it’s not known whether Macca ever heard this track prior to writing the Beatles number with such a similar title). On the Brown slab of moralising, the guitar enters approx a minute in and anchors a riff which differs entirely from the New Orleansy kind of thing the horn players had been cooking on seconds before.

The flip of Money Can’t Buy Love, a little thing called Grandpa Stole My Baby showed Roy adding another string to his bow. As the title implied it was a novelty affair given a typical bouncy arrangement (and the implied tribute to the old fellow’s virility was arguably preferable to the more self-centred rumpy pumpy affairs which were by now largely disappearing into the past). Four months later, another version of Grandpa Stole My Baby appeared from white artist, Moon Mullican and it was a decent cover, plus proof if anyone needed it that white artists were covering black artists’ material before Messrs Presley and Boone. It probably wasn’t a coincidence that Mullican recorded for King at the time so one would hope that Roy got the composer credits.

Whether Roy himself was the instigator, or whether King had ideas on what he should be doing, we know not but the widening of his range extended to sequels to records cut by other artists. Mr. Hound Dog’s In Town and Caldonia’s Wedding both appeared in ’53. In both cases, particularly the first, close attention had been paid to the originals but I wouldn’t think Big Mama Thornton or Louis Jordan were too concerned.

For my last selection from Roy’s time with King – though he would return – I’ve gone for Bootleggin’ Baby, a typically exuberant performance that echoes the kind of thing that B.B. King was waxing over in L.A. for RPM, or even the axe dominated affairs starting to emerge from Texas from the likes of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Note the line: “I had a talk with my baby. Now she sells that kidney stew” from which one would have thought that that word pairing was a euphemism for bootleg liquor. But that doesn’t seem to be borne out by the net so I can only assume that Roy is up to his old tricks with words. (This is confirmed by the usage of the wording in Kidney Stew the signature recording from Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.)

Roy split with Syd Nathan of King because of disputes over money paid or, more likely, not paid. After a break, Imperial offered him a contract which took him back to New Orleans, only with Dave Bartholomew in the studio this time. The results were somewhat different than what one might have expected from the Brown incarnations at De Luxe and King. His first disc for the company was a cover of the recently released Party Doll from Buddy Knox. This is the original and this is the Brown cover. Critics tend to throw their toys out of the pram at the mere thought of this record: the sheer incongruity of a 36-year-old gent taking on a number which is indelibly associated with teen culture. However, I’m inclined to think that Roy’s previously unrecognised acting ability stood him in good stead. The following year – 1958 – he came up with an even better rockabilly impersonation on Hip Shakin’ Baby, a number written by the Burnette brothers, Johnny and Dorsey, in between Johnny’s time with the Rock and Roll Trio and his brief spell as a pop star. The record very nearly got one of my Top Ten placements.

But if there was a hypothetical slot in the Ten for Brown/Imperial/New Orleans, then I felt that it was almost my duty to award it to Let The Four Winds Blow cut by Roy in ’57; one of the rare records in his canon which sounded as if his claim to have been born in the Crescent City might have had some truth in it. The song was written by Domino and Bartholomew and recorded by Dave under the title Four Winds in 1955; Fats eventually got round to recording the song in 1961. If I was a tad undecided about the track’s inclusion, the horns in the break clinched it.

The record gave Roy his biggest success in the national pop chart, hitting #29, something that even Good Rocking Tonight hadn’t achieved. And Party Doll edged into #89 in the Hot 100 so Roy’s Imperial days weren’t entirely fruitless.

The stay at Imperial was cut short after Roy had communication from the tax man which prompted Lew Chudd, owner of the label, to drop him fearing the possibility of a company audit. Other than the tracks I’ve mentioned, most of his output from the stay fell under the heading of not overly memorable New Orleans style material but I’d make an exception for Sail On Little Girl, a Bartholomew co-write with Pearl King on which Roy’s restraint suggests butter wouldn’t melt etc. It’s one that’s difficult to categorise; even the New Orleans aspects are understated.

Syd Nathan took Roy back at King which resulted in the appearance of five singles which ran the gamut stylistically from teen pop like Schoolboy Rock to a rather pleasing ballad in Adorable One which would have had the descriptor ‘blues ballad’ but for the misery aspect being largely missing. There was a slow blues tucked away in the shape of Ain’t Got No Blues Today which amply redemonstrated the fact that Roy’s ability to deliver such material was up there with the best.

Several sides then followed from the Home Of The Blues label which operated out of Beale Street, Memphis. Best of the bunch, for me, were the soul blues Tired Of Being Alone which only missed out on a place in the Ten because of the presence of distracting male back-up singers, and its A-side, Rockin’ All The Time which largely did as stated on the tin. John Broven, in his estimable book, informs us that the “Mr. Bandleader” who Roy addresses in the song was none other than Willie Mitchell. Broven also tells us that Tired Of Being Alone sold 27,000 copies in Memphis alone but, since Home Of The Blues hadn’t set up any distribution outside the city, nothing further transpired in terms of sales.

The rest of the sixties weren’t good to Roy. While the occasional record saw release usually on an ever-so-tiny label he also found himself keeping the wolf from the door by working as an encyclopedia salesman back in California. Some of those records are so obscure that they’ve not even found their way onto YT. One that has and deserves our attention is Good Sweet Loving coupled with Separation Blues on the Tru-Love label in 1968. The A-side was a more than competent soul churner which didn’t sound at all out of place or time. Perhaps more of an effort should have been made to put Roy with a producer of such material; the song, unsurprisingly, was penned by the man himself.

In 1970, bandleader, performer and all-round music entrepreneur Johnny Otis laid on a show at the Monterey Jazz Festival which was subsequently released in double LP format as The Johnny Otis Show Live At Monterey! with the subtitle, “The Historic Rhythm & Blues Extravaganza That Rocked The 1970 Monterey Jazz Festival”. Within it were performances from Esther Phillips plus a number of gentlemen from a forties and fifties time capsule. As you’ll have guessed Roy was among them and his peers were Ivory Joe Hunter, Eddie Vinson, Pee Wee Crayton, Roy Milton and Big Joe Turner (and I’d heartily recommend the album). Roy performed that number, of course, with slightly surreal touches added by Otis himself on vibes.

The Monterey performance rekindled interest from old fans and brought Roy attention from a totally new generation, to such an extent that he found himself invited on tours again. ABC/Bluesway reissued an album entitled Hard Times (which had originally been cut in 1968) in 1973 and Faith Records released a set entitled Cheapest Price In Town in 1978. The Swedish label Route 66 issued two albums of compilations (Laughing But Crying and Good Rocking Tonight) of his De Luxe and King material in 1977 and 1978 respectively. And in 1981, a set was issued of live performances from Roy plus Lowell Fulson at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1980. (The Roy Brown only version of this set was released in later years with the content expanded.)

For my final selection I’m ignoring all that lot and going for a single which appeared in 1970 on a label called Friendship Records. Love For Sale was a slow blues structurally but lyrically was something else altogether: a reincarnated stud offering his services (and if you were under 25 you probably wouldn’t have to pay). Whether I should be supporting such a stance from a would-be toy boy in his fifties I don’t know but Roy was certainly back on form.

You pretty pretties don’t have to worry
Good Rocking Brown is back in town

There’s also a fine version of the number on the San Francisco set referred to above.

In April 1981, Roy returned to New Orleans to headline the Jazz & Blues Heritage Festival. Reportedly, he put on a great show: Colin Larkin calls his performance a “storming return” to the city. Within a month – 25th May 1981 – he died from a heart attack. The Reverend Johnny Otis conducted the funeral service (and yes, that was the same man).

I’m going to leave the final words to Mr Otis too. In reference to the line-up of ‘oldies’ that he’d put together for Monterey, he said:

“These men are national treasures and the way they’ve been treated is a national disgrace.”

 

 

FOOTNOTES

1. Those two Roy Brown singles released in the UK appeared on the London label, bless ’em. And London could hardly be blamed for missing the bulk of those top tenners since all bar one hit the US Chart between 1947 and 1951, and the London practice of issuing US singles to the UK and other countries only started in late 1954.

2. Gold Star Records was founded by Bill Quinn in Houston in 1941 and has continued to this day; it shouldn’t be confused with the Gold Star Studios in Hollywood. Even from its early days it covered a very wide range of genres including country, cajun and blues – Lightnin’ Hopkins was a significant artist recording regularly – and in later years, R&B and hip hop. The name of the Houston studio was changed to Sugar Hill Studios when Huey P. Meaux took over in the early 70s.

In terms of date for the Roy Brown single, Deep Sea Diver, which is numbered 636A, the 78rpm list for Gold Star provided by the 45worlds (45cat) service has big gaps – this single is missing – and doesn’t start until 1946. What it does show are two numbering series used simultaneously, one starting with 600 (or maybe 500 but there’s nothing shown before 614) and the other with 1000 (with the first shown being 1315). There’s a 634 dated Apr 1948 and a gap up to 637 which is dated Aug 1948. This strongly suggests that Deep Sea Diver was released in summer 1948. What it doesn’t tell us is when it was actually cut. The ‘A’ after the numeric digits suggests that something out of the ordinary happened when the record saw release; possibly it had been gathering dust in the studio but Bill Quinn decided to put it out after the delayed success of Good Rocking Tonight.

3. De Luxe (or, later, DeLuxe) Records was founded by brothers David and Julian (Jules) Braun in 1944 in New Jersey. Although their label name is less associated with New Orleans than, say, Specialty or Imperial, they were the first of the indies to travel to the city in search of the talent that they felt had to be there. In 1947, their trips yielded bandleaders Paul Gayten and Dave Bartholomew, and singers Annie Laurie, Roy Brown and, later, Larry Darnell. They recorded these artists in Cosimo Matassa’s studio in New Orleans.

In 1947, Syd Nathan of King Records, Cincinnati, purchased a majority interest in De Luxe and, in 1949, moved the label to Cincinnati. In 1951, he bought out the Braun brothers though they didn’t concede without a legal battle.

4. Cosimo Matassa moved his studio service to Governor Nicholls Street in 1956 and named the new service “Cosimo’s”. The J&M operation had recorded some highly important records. Below are just a few:

Fats Domino – The Fat Man (1950 – Imperial)
Lloyd Price – Lawdy Miss Clawdy (1952 – Specialty)
Guitar Slim – The Things I Used To Do (1952 – Specialty)
Smiley Lewis – Blue Monday (1954 – Imperial)
Fats Domino – Ain’t It A Shame (1955 – Imperial)
Little Richard – Tutti Frutti (1955 – Specialty)
Bobby Charles – See You Later Alligator (1955 – Chess)

5. A contributor on the 78rpm portion of 45cat commented that “Roy Brown’s Hard Luck Blues must surely be the inspiration for Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel”. He (or she) has a point though it’s not overly apparent. However, blues songs often share similar melodic traits since the chord structure and stylistic approach do limit possibilities (and if no one had noticed, Heartbreak Hotel is a blues). I’d also comment that Charles Brown’s excellent Black Night (also cut by Bobby Bland) follows a similar melodic pattern, and it too was cut after Hard Luck Blues.

6. I mentioned B.B. King in the main text. He could well have been influenced by Roy and actually covered a Roy Brown record although it was outside the timeframe when that record was released so doesn’t fit with the precise definition of ‘cover’. The Brown record was Beautician Blues released in 1951. King’s version of the same song came out in 1964 and he, or more likely his record label, had the composer credits down as (King, Taub).

7. While Roy was in Memphis recording for Home Of The Blues, he met Elvis who, aware of our man’s financial problems, wrote him a cheque for $1,600 in recognition of his song Good Rocking Tonight (source: the John Broven book – and elsewhere).

8. In the essay on Roy Brown in Nick Tosches’ “Unsung Heroes Of Rock ‘n’ Roll” in reference to recordings made in the sixties, he mentions “… singles for local L.A. labels – Gert, Summit – and his own Tru-Love and Friendship labels.” Further on in the same para he says “In 1978 he issued an album, Cheapest Price In Town, on his own Faith label, It was one of the best and sleaziest albums of the year, but probably no more than a few thousand people heard it.”

The reason for my not mentioning the subject of label ownership by Roy in the main text is that I’ve not seen these statements confirmed elsewhere. However, all the labels covered in the para above only issued records by Roy which would seem to offer at least part confirmation.

 

Roy Brown poster

 

Roy Brown (1920-1981)

Roy Brown discography at 45cat

Roy Brown biography (AllMusic)

Johnny Otis Toppermost #636

Dave Stephens’ New Orleans scenes
#1 Fats Domino, #2 Chris Kenner, #3 Jessie Hill, #4 Barbara Lynn, #5 Benny Spellman, #6 Ernie K-Doe, #7 Irma Thomas, #8 Barbara George, #9 Earl King, #10 Smiley Lewis, #11 Professor Longhair, #12 Shirley & Lee, #13 Lloyd Price, #14 Dr. John, #15 Huey “Piano” Smith, #16 Roy Brown

 

Dave Stephens is the author of two books on popular music. His first, “RocknRoll”, is described by one reviewer as “probably the most useful single source of information on 50s & 60s music I’ve come across”. Dave followed this up with “London Rocks” in 2016, an analysis of the early years of the London (American) record label in the UK. You can follow him on Twitter @DangerousDaveXX

TopperPost #931

3 Comments

  1. Cal Taylor
    Jan 28, 2021

    Another top class Toppermost by Dave. Very comprehensive and has done Roy proud. As Dave said, only two releases in the UK (both in 1957) but doubtless Roy was a great R&B singer/songwriter as well as being one of the pioneers of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His influence should not be underestimated.

    • Dave Stephens
      Jan 28, 2021

      Many thanks Cal. Roy’s been largely ignored in the UK in spite of being in the history books for Good Rocking. I hope I did a little to correct that.

  2. Andrew Shields
    Jan 29, 2021

    Such a great voice and such superb songs. Thanks for another great piece

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