Nappy BrownNappy Brown was a Gospel singer with a distinctive vocal delivery, stretching and rolling his lines and wailing “li-li-li-li” like a man possessed, but when he crossed over into R&B he had some big hit records, and his live performances were sensational. Nappy’s style influenced a lot of early Soul singers, and Elvis made sure he saw Nappy if he swung through Memphis. As one of the biggest R&B stars of the mid-50s, he toured relentlessly, often with Alan Freed’s Rock’n’Roll Revues. Then, after a long lay-off, Nappy was back with a raunchy stage act and a bag-full of new tunes that he took on tour in The States and Europe with great success.

 

Born in Charlotte NC in 1929, Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp was raised in the First Mount Zion Baptist Church and Nappy obviously had ‘the goods’ as he performed with Gospel Groups like The Golden Bells, The Selah Jubilee Singers and finally The Heavenly Lights, who had a Gospel hit with ‘Jesus Said It’ for Savoy Records. Owner Herman Lubinsky was impressed and persuaded the young man to sign for Savoy and sing some R&B. Nappy’s hellfire delivery, idiosyncratic pronunciation and unquenchable energy were apparent in his debut ‘Is It True’, but when Sam ‘The Man’ Taylor added his driving sax riffs to Nappy’s ‘Don’t Be Angry’ in 1955, it went to No.2 in the R&B charts and crossed over into the Hot 100. Many hit singles followed, including ‘Little by Little’ and ‘Night Time is the Right Time’ which was also a big hit for Ray Charles. Nappy’s up-beat R&B held the seeds of Soul music that came along some years later, and the sheer excitement Nappy could generate on stage kept him busy in Rock’n’Roll shows and R&B tours.

Nappy rocks out on ‘Don’t Be Angry’;

Nappy Brown Discography
All Nappy’s Savoy hit singles are on this double disc CD, which has 36 tracks of classic R&B.

NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME


In the 60s, Nappy returned to his Carolina roots and Gospel music, touring and recording with The Bell Jubilee Singers. Billed as Brother Napoleon and the Southern Sisters, he cut a Gospel album for Savoy in the late 70s, but it was the roaring success of a tour of Scandinavia in 1984 that persuaded Nappy to come back to R&B. Recruiting his band The Heartfixers, Nappy recorded his comeback album ‘Tore Up’ for the small Landslide label, but it was picked up by Alligator and sold well. Back in the spotlight, Nappy would ‘come on’ to the ladies as he performed some highly suggestive material. Several albums followed as Nappy teamed up with guitarists Anson Funderburgh, Earl King, Ronnie Earl and Bob Margolin. He toured Europe in 2007 and his final album, ‘Long Time Coming’ won a Blues Music Award, and Nappy absolutely owned the stage at the ceremony. Sadly, within a few months, Nappy had passed away.