Charles Brown

Tony Russell 'Charles' Brown was a Texas bluesman whose soft, slow style had a big influence on the blues performances of the '40s and '50s. Born in Texas City in 1922, Brown received classical training on the piano as a child but moved through various jobs before finding his way to LA and beginning his music career in the 1940s. Once there he became a part of the club scene, joining up with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers as singer and pianist. The group signed with Exclusive Records and their recording of 'Drifting Blues' parked itself on the Billboard R&B chart and stayed there for six months. The song put Brown centre stage in the American music scene and the Three Blazers had a run of further hits with the likes of 'New Orleans Blues' (1947), 'Merry Christmas Baby' (1947) and 'More Than You Know' (1948). Brown's influence grew through the period and he had an impact on performers including Floyd Dixon, Ivory Joe Hunter, Cecil Gant, Percy Mayfield, Johnny Ace and Ray Charles. Brown began recording as a solo artist, signing with Aladdin and finding his way into the R&B top ten an impressive ten times between 1949 and 1952. With the rise of rock 'n' roll Brown's star faded somewhat, with his mellow sound failing to match the appetite for faster material. He continued to record, but it wasn't until the mid-'80s that he really began to make a dent once again. In 1986 he recorded 'One More for the Road' for Blue Side and began attracting attention once again. Bonnie Raitt took Brown on tour, introducing him to a new generation of fans and helping him launch into a fresh series of albums for the Bullseye Blues label. In the 1990s, finally now regarded as a blues pioneer, he continued to perform and returned to the studio one last time in 1998 to record 'So Goes Love' before his death on January 21st, 1999.

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Stations Featuring Charles Brown

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