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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Roy Brown - Hard Luck Blues

Volume One
Side One
1. Hard Luck Blues
2. Good Rockin' Man
3. Ain't It A Shame
4. Love Don't Love Nobody
5. I've Got The Last Laugh Now
6. Trouble At Midnight

Side Two
1. Boogie At Midnight
2. Travelin' Man
3. Ain't Got No Blues Today
4. Wrong Woman Blues
5. Queen Of Diamonds
6. Worried Life Blues

Volume Two

Side One
1. Ain't No Rockin' No More
2. Letter From Home
3. Beautician Blues
4. Long About Sundown
5. Bar Room Blues

Side Two
1. Train Time Blues
2. Sweet Peach
3. Double Crossin' Woman
4. Lonesome Lover
5. Big Town

Ripped from vinyl @ 320 kbps. No Password

Download from here:

It's time to post another of those Gusto double LP sets which I used to pick up cheaply in a Glasgow department store way back around 1978 or 9. And it’s also time to pay tribute to one of the major figures of vintage R&B, Roy Brown. He was the original good rockin’ man, being the composer of “Good Rockin’ Tonight” which he pitched unsuccessfully to Wynonie Harris in 1947. Roy was signed by DeLuxe Records of New Jersey and recorded the song himself, achieving a substantial R&B hit in 1948. However a cover version by Harris outsold the original and to add insult to injury Harris had another R&B hit with a cover of the B side of Roy’s disc, “Lolly Pop Mama.”

Roy’s singing style was very different from that of Harris and the other blues shouters of the time. His vocals were much more overtly influenced by gospel, indeed Roy’s earliest musical performances had been with a gospel group, and he was more of a blues “crier” than a shouter. His passionate, torridly emotional delivery was a big influence on B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Clyde McPhatter and any number of singers whose style is retrospectively considered to be an early manifestation of soul singing.

He was also a big influence on Elvis Presley who recorded a version of “Good Rockin’ Tonight” for Sun Records. I’ve always found it interesting to compare “Hard Luck Blues” with “Heartbreak Hotel.” The songs are similarly structured and surely Elvis’ emotional delivery of a tale of woe is largely inspired by Roy’s overwrought performance on the even more desolate “Hard Luck Blues.”

Roy had a string of big R&B hits between 1948 and 1951 and it should be remembered that not only did he sing on the mix of poignant blues and wild rockers which constituted his chart topping oeuvre, he wrote them too. He was backed by some of the best jump bands around, including his own Mighty Mighty Men and the Tiny Bradshaw and Griffin Brothers outfits. But from 1952 onwards there were no more hits on the DeLuxe label which had been bought out by King Records in 1948.

It has been said that Roy’s successful lawsuit which he took out against King over royalty payments had something to do with the situation, but despite the dispute King continued to record and release very strong material by Roy. It may be that like many of his contemporaries, Roy was a victim of changing fashions within the R&B world, with a younger generation preferring vocal groups to aging blues singers.

His last hits were for Imperial Records in 1957 with covers of Buddy Knox’s “Party Doll” and Fats Domino’s “Let The Four Winds Blow.” There was a brief and fruitless return to King and Roy’s singing career gradually faded. He continued to record and perform intermittently throughout the 60’s and 70’s and unlike so many other performers of post war rhythm and blues he was able to take advantage of the revival of interest in vintage R&B which started to take hold in the late 1970s /early 1980s. Tragically he died at the young age of 55 in 1981. Had he lived longer he would assuredly have spent many years touring the blues and rock’n’roll festivals where he would have received the acclaim of new generations of fans.

The tracks, recording dates and original release numbers:

1. Hard Luck Blues – Recorded in Cincinnati, April 19th, 1950. DeLuxe 3304 (no. 1 R&B 1950)

2. Good Rockin' Man – Recorded in Cincinnati, January 16th, 1951. DeLuxe 3319

3. Ain't It A Shame – Recorded in New Orleans, May 27th, 1954. King 4731

4. Love Don't Love Nobody – Recorded in Cincinnatti, June 15th, 1950. DeLuxe 3306 (no. 2 R&B 1950)

5. I've Got The Last Laugh Now – Recorded in Cincinnati, January 16th, 1951. DeLuxe 3323

6. Trouble At Midnight – Recorded in Miami, December 15th, 1953. King 4704

7. Boogie At Midnight - Recorded in Dallas, September 20th, 1949. DeLuxe 3300 (no. 3 R&B 1949)

8. Travelin' Man – Recorded in New Orleans, December  18th, 1952. King 4602

9. Ain't Got No Blues Today – Recorded in Cincinnati, May 7th, 1959. King 5333

10. Wrong Woman Blues – Recorded in Cincinnati, January 16th, 1951. DeLuxe 3313

11. Queen Of Diamonds – Recorded in New Orleans, May 27th, 1954. King 4761

12. Worried Life Blues – Recorded in New Orleans, September 2nd, 1954. King 4743

13. Ain't No Rockin' No More – Recorded in New Orleans, May 27th, 1954. King 5247

14. Letter From Home – Recorded in New Orleans, December 19th, 1952. King 4684

15. Beautician Blues – Recorded in Cincinnati, June 23nd, 1950. DeLuxe 3313

16. Long About Sundown – Recorded in Cincinnati, June 22nd, 1950. DeLuxe 3308 (no. 8 R&B 1950)

17. Bar Room Blues – Recorded in Cincinnati, June 22nd, 1950. DeLuxe 3319 (no. 6 R&B 1951)

18. Train Time Blues – Recorded in Cincinnati, June 22nd, 1950. DeLuxe 3318

19. Sweet Peach - Recorded in Cincinnati, April 19th, 1950. DeLuxe 3312

20. Double Crossin' Woman – Recorded in Cincinnati, June 23nd, 1950. DeLuxe 3311

21. Lonesome Lover – Recorded in Cincinnati, September 27th, 1951. King 4689

22. Big Town – Recorded in Cincinnati, January 16th, 1951. DeLuxe 3318 (no. 8 R&B 1951)

The musicians:

Roy Brown vocal on all tracks, accompanied by -

Teddy Riley (tp) Johnny Fontenette (ts) Edward Santineo (p) Louis Sargent (g) Tommy Shelvin (b) Frank Parker (d) September 1949

Boogie At Midnight

The Griffin Brothers Orchestra: Wilbur Harden (tp) Jimmy Griffin (tb) Johnny Fontenette (ts) Harry Porter (bar) Edward "Buddy" Griffin (p) Willie Gaddy (g) Ike Isaacs (b) Emmett "Nab" Shields (d) April 1950

Hard Luck Blues
Sweet Peach

Wilbur Harden (tp) Johnny Fontenette (ts) Leroy Rankins (bar) Edward Santineo (p) Edgar Blanchard (g) Ike Isaacs (b) Emmett "Nab" Shields (d) June 1950

Love Don’t Love Nobody

George Jenkins replaces Nab Shields (d), rest the same, June 1950

Train Time Blues
Bar Room Blues
‘Long About Sundown
Beautician Blues
Double Crossin’ Woman

The Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra: Leslie Ayers (tp) Red Prysock (ts) Orrington Hall (ts,bar) James Robinson (p) Edgar Blanchard (g) Clarence Mack (b) Calvin Shields (d) January 1951

Wrong Woman Blues
Good Rockin’ Man
I’ve Got The Last Laugh Now
Big Town

Teddy Riley (tp) Johnny Fontenette (ts) Alexander Nelson (bar) Charlie Nelson (p) Peter "Chuck" Badie (b) Wilbert Smith (d) September 1951

Lonesome Lover

Teddy Riley (tp) Victor Thomas, Sammy Parker (ts) Frank Campbell (bar) Jimmy Williams (p) Jimmy Davis (g) Tommy Shelvin (b) Ray Miller (d) December 1952

Travelin’ Man
Letter From Home

Joe Bridgewater (tp) Sammy Parker, Victor Thomas (ts) Jimmy C. Harris (p) Jimmy Davis (g) Clarence Jones (b) Albert "June" Gardner (d) December 1953

Trouble At Midnight

Philip Scott (ts) James H. Thomas (p) Edgar Blanchard (g) Tommy Shelvin (b) Frank Parker (d) May 1954

Ain’t It A Shame
Ain’t No Rockin’ No More
Queen Of Diamonds

Melvin Lastie (tp) Sammy Parker, Johnny Fontenette (ts) Salvador Doucette (p) Jimmy Davis (g) Tommy Shelvin (b) Placide Adams (d) September 1954

Worried Life Blues

Johnny Griffin, Ray Felder (ts) unknown (bar) Jon Thomas (p) John Faire, Fred Jordan (g) Edwyn Conley (b) Ron McCurdy (d) May 1959

Ain’t Got No Blues Today

Buying Roy.

His peak years are well covered by 3 Chronological Roy Brown CDs on the Classics label:

Ace has two good CDs of Roy’s sides. "Good Rockin' Brown" is an in-depth look at his earliest sides and is mastered from the original acetates:

"Mighty Mighty Man!" covers his later King material after his hit making days had passed. There’s plenty of good stuff on it!

Sources: Bruyninckx Discography, sleevenotes to the Route 66 LPs "Good Rocking Tonight", "Laughing But Crying", "I Feel That Young Man's Rhythm." Wikipedia article on Roy Brown.


Anonymous said...

This file just doesn't seem to want to download. Maybe it's too big, haven't had this problem before.

I to am anonymous.

Anonymous said...

The band I was in backed Roy on his UK debut in 1978. We also recorded a session for the BBC at Maida Vale for Stu Colman's Rock 'n Roll Show. Treasure the recording of doing backing vocals on 'Boogie at Midnight' and bought the man a BBC coffee - still have the polystyrene cup !!

boogiewoody said...

I've just tried out both links. I was shocked at how slow the rapidshare download is and I just gave up on it after a few minutes. Normally rapidshare is ok if you're a member but I logged out and didn't like what I saw!

The zippyshare download worked very quickly, only taking less than 3 minutes. Have you tried the zippyshare link?

boogiewoody said...

Thanks very much for the Roy at the Beeb story! It's these kind of memories that make all the effort worth while.

GarColga said...

Wow this is good stuff really enjoyable thanks!

Larry said...

Wonderful set. I knew some of the musicians when I was music editor for the two Cincinnati newspapers (not at the same time).
Ed Conley, the bassist, was one of the sweetest people I've ever known. He worked at the post office most of his life.
Ron McCurdy was an Irishman from Belfast, again, a sweet human being and one of the funniest people I ever met. GREAT jazz drummer. Recorded with The Jazz Disciples for Prestige.

boogiewoody said...

Thanks for sharing the memories of these 2 musicians, Larry. An Ulsterman drumming on a Roy Brown session in Cincinnati - that's a surprise to me!

It is indeed a wonderful set! Volume 2 by itself stands up as a great selection. 10 tracks and every one a gem.

Anonymous said...

Further to Larry's post
Ronald D. McCurdy, 75, jazz drummer

Performed with locals, greats

By Allen Howard

If the drumbeat from Ronald Desmond McCurdy at many jazz places in
Cincinnati in the last 50 years sounded unusual - as if he were using
saucepan lids - that's the way he learned to play drums in Belfast,
Northern Ireland.

From that makeshift beginning as a toddler, Mr. McCurdy went on to
become a mainstay on the Cincinnati scene, playing drums at every jazz
place and with practically every jazz player in Cincinnati.

Mr. McCurdy died July 1 in Fort Worth, Texas of cancer. He was 75.

"His colleagues and friends admired him, not only as a passionate and
talented musician but for his wit, for his distaste for pretension and
all things phony, and for his large heart," said his wife, Amy
Culbertson, of Fort Worth.

Mr. McCurdy immigrated to Detroit in 1951 after his father died in
World War II. He played for dances at St. Andrews Hall, where Northern
Irish and Scottish families gathered in downtown Detroit.

Rock music was not his bag, said his wife. She said he thought it
killed jazz.

In the Army, Mr. McCurdy played in the 95th Army Band and other
military ensembles and orchestras.

He arrived in Cincinnati in 1955, at the height of the bebop era.

He was studying geology at the University of Cincinnati, but left in
1958 to join a band, formed by alto and tenor saxist Curtis Peagler.
That band included pianist Billy Brown, bassist Lee Tucker and William
"Hicky" Kelley, who played euphonium and normaphone.

Mr. McCurdy was the only white member in the band which became
Cincinnati's premier jazz combo. The group became known as the Modern
Jazz Disciples and became the house group at Babe Baker's club on
Reading Road in Avondale

There, Mr. McCurdy, who became known as "Whitefolks," a name given to
him by musician Sonny Stitt, became a backup drummer for such notables
as Stitt, Cannonball Adderley, Johnny Griffin, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and
Ben Webster.

The Disciples cut an album for Prestige Records' New Jazz label at
Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey, a major coup in the 1950s. The
group recorded its self-titled album in 1959, and it received a 41/2-
star review in Downbeat magazine.

Mr. McCurdy backed many musicians as a house drummer at the Playboy
Club in New Orleans and Cincinnati.

He backed many performers and comedians, including George Carlin. Mr.
McCurdy played in the pit band at the Gayety burlesque theater
downtown with small groups, including a trio called Wee Three with the
late guitarist Cal Collins and bassist Michael Moore.

He also played with the Bill Walters Big Band.

"One of the proudest moments of his career was playing a concert with
Duke Ellington's orchestra in Dayton," his wife said.

Mr. McCurdy had a longstanding gig at the Carousel Inn, Sycamore
Township, with Frank Vincent and guitarist Kenny Poole, whom he
considered his musical soul mates.

"Simply put, he (Mr. McCurdy) had a wonderful sense of humor and he
was able to put it into his music. He was a great musician and music
was his first love," said Vincent, of Crescent Springs.

Mr. McCurdy also had gigs at Christie's in Woodlawn with a quintet
headed by Carmon DeLeone.

He loved bossa nova and Brazilian music and in 1995 formed a group
called Brazil with pianist Wayne Yeager, bassist Michael Sharfe and
singer Larry Kinley that played at the opening of the Aronoff Center
for the Arts.

Mr. McCurdy was a lifelong member of the Cincinnati Musicians union.
He was house drummer for Dee Felice Café in Covington from 1989 to

Mr. McCurdy is also survived by a daughter, Amy Cape, and a
granddaughter, Alexa Cape, both of Ruidoso, N.M.

A memorial service is 5 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Mickey Kaplan Performance
Studio, 1555 Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine.

Memorials can be sent to: the Civic Garden Center of Greater
Cincinnati. 2715 Reading Rd., Cincinnati, OH, 45206.

JOHN CLIFFORD ( the guy with the BEEB story)

Raggedy said...

Wonderful! I've never heard of this artist before. But I do love his music.
Yours is a great blog.

apollojams said...

Hi, BW. Somewhat off-topic [RB-wise], but has anyone figured out to download from RapidShare since they debuted their new 'look' a week or two ago? No matter what linx i input, they all re-direct to the same standard RS splash page, with nothing to click on [certainly not the file i went there to get], besides some generic links [ie., "about", "contact", etc.] Thankfully, you supply alt-linx [ZippyShare], but i have some RS-only links i want. Thanx in advance for your time and input.

boogiewoody said...

Hi Mr Jams

I clicked on the rapidshare link and this took me to a page with a blue box on the right hand side containing the words "upload share backup anywhere." Underneath it is a box with "to download" in it. I clicked on that and got taken to a page with the Roy Brown file on it. I clicked on the Hard Luck Blues file and "download selection" appeared. I clicked on that and it downloaded. I did this while not signed in as a rapidshare member, so I think it should work for you. Keep on boogying.

Anonymous said...

Wishing you all the best for the holidays, Boogiewoody!


Tanktop said...

Thanks Woody!
Not only do I relish this nice serving of 'Blues Cryin' by Roy, I appreciate the thoughtful and insightful write-ups that accompany these fine posts.
That Heartbreak Hotel/Hard Luck Blues comparison is really astute I think.
I always found it laughingly, cheesily bombastic, that climactic remark at the end about his "Mother's grave"...!

kanook said...

Top-Notch all the way! Thanks a ton.

Anonymous said...

What's happened? Are you coming back?

Anonymous said...

Even if you never post another song, just let us know that the Be Bop Wino is okay?


christophe said...

A great singer, a great time for music !
Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Thank you,Federal vinyl,Great.