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Nappy Brown
Long Time Coming
Blind Pig Records
Running Time: 46:43

By Ben Cox

The title is very apt for Napolean Culp A.K.A. Nappy Brown. Brown was one of the big hitters on the rhythm & blues charts of the late fifties, producing hits for Savoy Records and helping Ray Charles a little bit along the way (Brown penned “The Right Time” which Charles copped into “Night Time Is the Right Time”). Brown also helped pen a few blues staples, too. The song “Little By Little” comes to mind. After 1962, Brown went into obscurity and has labored on in his home land of North Carolina ever since, doing tours with former Muddy Waters Band guitar player Bob Margolin here and there.

It was that relationship, along with the relationship between Margolin and Scott Cable that helped this disc come to our ears. Cable, wanting to channel Brown’s presence through modern day players, gathered a rather who’s who of young players and a few veterans, too to help mold this disc into one of the best soul-blues outings of 2007 and a large reawakening of the classic days of R&B. I wish a big congratulations to Blind Pig, as well, for putting out one of the best discs they’ve produced in two years.

Brown treats us with a few of his old hits, reworked with the help of Sean Costello, Junior Watson, John Németh, Mookie Brill, Jim Pugh, and The Mighty Lester Horns. The set list is a virtual run down of a classic R&B smorgasbord of original material that ranges from the swing made popular by the blues shouters, the soul ballads of Jerry Butler, to straight ahead blues (listen to the burning guitar of Watson on “Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleepin’”). Brown also tips his hat to his roots as a gospel singer on “Take Care of Me,” which the singer admitted he didn’t want to do but through Cable’s pressing did it anyway and the producer’s ear does not disappoint. Brown also gives beautiful readings of Eddie “Cleanhead Vinson’s classic “Cherry Red,” which was penned by another of Brown’s vocal idols Big Joe Turner.

For classic R&B fans as well as the soul blues crowd, this disc should be an absolute must-have. Traditional blues fans might appreciate the stripped acoustic of “Cherry Red,” which Bob Margolin gives guitar chops to. I would also expect to see this cross a few BMA ballots come February, too. CLICK HERE to read a biography of Nappy Brown on All Music GuideTo Purchase this CD - CLICK HERE

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