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Roy Brown

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Album Review

With his gospel-inflected vocals, full of melismatic swoops and sighs, and a penchant for speeded-up jump blues songs with strong sax lines, Roy Brown created the very template for early rock & roll in the late 1940s and early '50s. This first installment in Classics Records' chronological survey of Brown's recorded work includes both sides of his rare first single, "Deep Sea Diver" b/w "Bye Baby Bye," cut for the Houston independent Gold Star Records in 1947, and then moves on to feature his initial sides for the Braun Brothers' DeLuxe Records imprint, the first of which was the seminal "Good Rockin' Tonight," which Wynonie Harris turned into a huge hit with a cover version. Brown wrote nearly all of his material, and the nascent roots of rock & roll are clearly outlined in his songs. That he is so little known to the public at large is a complete shame, particularly since many music historians have cited "Good Rockin' Tonight" as arguably the first true rock & roll record. If so, then this is where it all began.


Born: 10 September 1925 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

When you draw up a short list of the R&B pioneers who exerted a primary influence on the development of rock & roll, respectfully place singer Roy Brown's name near its very top. His seminal 1947 DeLuxe Records waxing of "Good Rockin' Tonight" was immediately ridden to the peak of the R&B charts by shouter Wynonie Harris and subsequently covered by Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more early rock icons (even Pat Boone). In addition, Brown's melismatical pleading,...
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