Nappy Brown Biography

Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp, 12 October 1929, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Brown began his career as a gospel singer, but moved to R&B when an appearance in Newark, New Jersey, led to a recording contract with Savoy Records in 1954. A deep-voiced, highly individual R&B singer, he had a number of hits during the 50s, including ‘Don’t Be Angry’ (1955), the Rose Marie McCoy /Charlie Singleton song ‘Piddily Patter Patter (Pitter Patter)’ (a pop hit in Patti Page’s cover version), ‘It Don’t Hurt No More’ (1958), and ‘I Cried Like A Baby’ (1959). He also made the original version of ‘The Right Time’, a 1958 hit for Ray Charles (as ‘(Night Time Is) The Right Time’). A prison term kept Brown inactive for much of the 60s. He returned to music with an album for Elephant V in 1969 and recorded gospel music in the 70s with the Bell Jubilee Singers for Jewel and as Brother Napoleon Brown for Savoy.

In the 80s, Brown was rediscovered by a later generation of blues enthusiasts. He performed at festivals and recorded for Black Top and Alligator Records, with guitarist Tinsley Ellis and his band the Heartfixers accompanying him on 1984’s Tore Up. Brown also appeared on a live album recorded at Tipitina’s in New Orleans in 1988. He continued recording in the following decade, although his most recent albums have not managed to recapture the power of his work of the 50s. Brown's final performance came at in May 2008 at the annual Blues Music Awards; he passed away in September of that year at age 78.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.