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One More for the Road

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Before this excellent 1986 comeback, Brown was mostly remembered for the string of elegant singles he minted from 1946 to 1952, including the standards "Black Night," "Driftin' Blues," "Merry Christmas Baby," and "Please Come Home for Christmas." One More for the Road captured the singing pianist's fusion of raw blues emotion and jazzy sophistication in peak form and marked a return to touring and recording that lasted until his death in 1999. Brown's near-spoken vocal style suggests a world-weary soul even as his fingers madly but gently trip across the keys in sparkling melodic improvisations. The combination is always graceful and timeless, but his performances of the T-Bone Walker inspired "I Stepped in Quicksand" and the smoky, rueful "I Cried Last Night" are particularly inspired. And versions of "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" and "One for My Baby (And One for the Road)" evoke the spirit of his early idol Nat "King" Cole.


Born: September 13, 1922 in Texas City, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

How many blues artists remained at the absolute top of their game after more than a half-century of performing? One immediately leaps to mind: Charles Brown. His incredible piano skills and laid-back vocal delivery remained every bit as mesmerizing at the end of his life as they were way back in 1945, when his groundbreaking waxing of "Drifting Blues" with guitarist Johnny Moore's Three Blazers invented an entirely new blues genre for sophisticated postwar revelers: an ultra-mellow, jazz-inflected...
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One More for the Road, Charles Brown
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