[Blues-l] Tommy Brown Gets His Props

Jef Jaisun jef@jaisunphoto.com
Thu Feb 19 12:07:08 EST 2015

Tommy was part of the Bone Dog Records revue at 
Pocono Blues Fest about six years ago. Every one 
of their artists was superb, but Tommy was over 
the top. I was shooting in the photo pit when he 
did a fake fall-off-the-stage right into my arms. 
At first I wasn't sure he'd faked it, so I was 
concerned about him. When I realized what he was 
up to I laughed. Never seen it done better. It 
takes a real pro to pull that off so expertly.

It's nice to see him getting some overdue recognition.


At 08:52 AM 2/19/2015, you wrote:
> From Ronda Wenger by way of facebook:
>I love it when people are recognized while we 
>still have them with us and not when it's too 
>late. Nobody deserves this more....
>Congratulations Atlanta's Own Tommy Brown!
>Blues Foundation Announces 2015 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees:
>The Blues Foundation announces the selection of 
>three living performers to be inducted into its 
>Blues Hall of Fame. The three are Tommy Brown, 
>Eric Clapton and Little Richard. They join more 
>than 130 performers who have been inducted each year beginning in 1980.
>Tommy Brown, hailed during the 1950s as "one of 
>the most dynamic entertainers in show business," 
>has spent most of the past four decades out of 
>the performing spotlight, but his resume of 
>vintage records, onstage theatrics and a 21st 
>century career revival have brought him long 
>overdue recognition among current blues 
>aficionados. Brown was a friend of fellow 
>Georgia singer and 2015 Blues Hall of Fame 
>inductee Little Richard when both were starting 
>out, and he remembers letting Richard sleep in 
>his station wagon when times were tough. A young 
>James Brown picked up cues for his fabled stage show from both of them.
>Brown was born in Atlanta on May 27, 1931, and 
>began performing as a dancer when he was in the 
>first grade. He also worked as a drummer before 
>he became a stand-up singer. But he did much 
>more than stand, as the Atlanta Daily World 
>reported in 1953: ". . . he jumped off the 
>stage, fell prostrate on the floor, got up, 
>banged his head on the wall then fell down on 
>his knees and wailed the blues." Brown began 
>recording in 1950 and sang (and sobbed) on the 
>No. 1 R&B hit Weepin' and Cryin' with the 
>Griffin Brothers in 1951. The song evolved from 
>a real life experience, when he broke down while 
>singing onstage as he saw his fiance´ walk in 
>with another man. Humor was an important part of 
>his show, however, and in the 1960s he began 
>performing and recording as a comedian.
>After stays in St. Louis, Chicago (where he 
>teamed on shows with Otis Clay), and New York, 
>Brown settled back in Atlanta in 1977 to run the 
>Landmark West Personal Care Center, a business 
>his mother had founded. After fans sought him 
>out to interview him and book him on festivals 
>in the U.S. and Europe, he began traveling and 
>recording again in the new millenium. His 
>Classic Tommy Brown CD, on his own Chittlin' 
>Circuit label, reintroduced listeners to the 
>rocking, crying and shouting blues he waxed on 
>labels such as Savoy, King, United and Imperial. 
>"I'm looking to retire at 103." he says, "and 
>take up a new profession -- teach people how to love."
>And this from the Blues Foundation's site:
>2015 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees Announced
>Posted on February 17, 2015
>The Blues Foundation announces the selection of 
>three living performers to be inducted into its 
>Blues Hall of Fame. The three are Tommy Brown, 
>Eric Clapton and Little Richard. They join more 
>than 130 performers who have been inducted each year beginning in 1980.
>Eric Clapton has been tapped for induction into 
>the Blues Hall of Fame for his many musical 
>achievements as well as for his role as a 
>popularizer of the entire genre. He brought the 
>blues to audiences in his native Britain and 
>throughout the world, illuminating the work of 
>the original blues artists who inspired him.” 
>With his induction, Little Richard joins an 
>elite group of Blues Hall of Fame icons 
>including Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and Bo 
>Diddley who built upon rock ‘n’ roll’s 
>foundation in the blues. His earliest recordings 
>were in the blues vein and, throughout his 
>career, he continued to employ a blues format in 
>his work. In the early ‘50s Tommy Brown broke 
>through nationally fronting the Griffin Brothers 
>Orchestra with the #1 hit “Weepin’ & Cryin’.” He 
>brought his intuitive sense of showmanship to 
>the blues over a career that has now spanned over 75 years.
>This year’s inductees’ official biographies and 
>descriptions are available, as well as for all 
>Hall of Fame inductees, at http://www.blues.org/awards-search/?cat=hof
>Their induction will be held in conjunction with 
>the three days of events May 6-8 surrounding the 
>36th Blues Music Awards on May 7 and the public 
>Grand Opening of the bricks and mortar Blues 
>Hall of Fame on May 8 in Memphis, Tennessee. 
>With living musicians like B.B. King and Buddy 
>Guy, and legends like Muddy Waters and Koko 
>Taylor, the Blues Hall of Fame consists of blues 
>music’s best and brightest stars.
>The Blues Foundation is now in the final stages 
>of the renovations needed to showcase these 
>legendary performers and their work with Blues 
>Hall of Fame exhibits at its 421 S. Main 
>headquarters in downtown Memphis. The Blues Hall 
>of Fame will honor inductees year round, provide 
>interactive and educational exhibits, and create 
>a place for serious blues fans, casual visitors, 
>and students to congregate, celebrate and learn more about the Blues.
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