Charles Brown

Charles Brown was a legendary performer.  He began as a contemporary of Nat King Cole and had a number of hits in the 1940s.  Never as well known by the general public as he is by fellow musicians, his influence has been acknowledged far and wide.

The major influence of ... Ray Charles, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino.

His mastery of so many styles of blues is staggering to those of us lucky enough to have seen him.

    -- Bonnie Raitt

Although he appeared on the bill of the "Biggest Show of Stars of 1957," the truth was that Charles Brown's style of performing was in eclipse.  His career received a shot in the arm a few years ago when his management was assumed by guitarist Danny Caron and Bonnie Raitt began to sing his praises and share the stage with him.  Indeed, the picture shown below is from the cover of a currently available CD that includes two numbers with Miss Raitt.

Charles Brown was a remarkable performer with a charming and magnetic personality that was simply irresistible.  Your humble scribe first saw the gentleman at the very show advertised on the poster which brought you here.  I had the pleasure of spending time with him again aboard the S.S. Norway during the inaugural Norwegian Cruise Lines "Blues Cruise" in December 1995.

I am sad to report that Mr. Brown passed away January 21, 1999, at the age of 76.  Among honorary pallbearers at his funeral were Blues giant Jimmy McCracklin, band leader/performer Johnny Otis, and "Little Richard" Penniman.  I am reminded that "Dark Night" was one Charles Brown's biggest hits.  Every night hereafter will be a little darker for those who had the opportunity to meet him and to be touched by this great and gentle man.

Those seeking to enjoy the mastery of Charles Brown and his style of rhythm and blues, touched with the class of a top-notch jazz combo, should seek out one of his many CDs currently available.  For a representative sampling of the entire breadth of his repertoire, I recommend the disc entitled "These Blues" (Verve 314 523 022-2) which includes 11 great numbers.  Another CD of interest, "All of Me" (Bullseye Blues 9501) includes one duet with Ruth Brown as well as another with Dr. John.

Recordings by Charles Brown are not easy to find, but the Internet's leading music shop usually has them.  Clicking on the CD NOW image will take you directly to a list of available Charles Brown recordings.  And if you buy something, there is a small rebate to yours truly that will help defray the expense of maintaining this site.

Go back to the Rhythm & Blues Revue page.

This page created and maintained by Jim Lowe
First appearance: September 25, 1997
Last updated: January 26, 1999

© 1997, 1998 and 1999 by James R. Lowe, who reserves all rights to the content of this page not successfully claimed by others.