Tommy Brown (born May 27, 1931, Atlanta, Georgia, United States) is an American R&B singer, who achieved most of his success in the early 1950s, particularly on records with The Griffin Brothers.
Brown formed a small band with himself as the drummer in the 1940s, and worked in clubs around Atlanta. In 1949 he recorded "Atlanta Boogie" on the Regent label, a subsidiary of Savoy Records. The track contained early references to rock and roll :
Well, the whole town's rockin' just about the break of day
Well, when the bar starts jumpin' you can hear the cats all say
Well, let's rock'n'roll, well, let's rock'n'roll
Yes, let's rock'n'roll till the break of day...
In 1951 he moved on to Dot where he was teamed with the Griffin Brothers, an R&B orchestra led by brothers Jimmy Griffin (trombone) and Ernest "Buddy" Griffin (piano) from Norfolk, Virginia. They had toured widely with Amos Milburn, Paul Williams and others, and recorded as the backing band for Margie Day on two R&B Top 10 hits, "Street Walkin' Daddy" and "Little Red Rooster".
In August of that same year Brown was featured singer on the R&B Top 10 hit "Tra-La-La", credited to the Griffin Brothers Orchestra, and later in the year the combination reached # 1 on the R&B chart with "Weepin' and Cryin'", credited to The Griffin Brothers Orchestra featuring Tommy Brown.
The Griffin Brothers disbanded in 1954. Buddy Griffin later recorded with Gloria Swann, as the duo Buddy and Gloria who had an R&B hit with "I Wanna Hug Ya, Kiss Ya, Squeeze Ya", while Jimmy Griffin joined Atlantic Records. They both did not achieve the same hits as previous, and were dropped from their respective record labels.
In early 1952, Brown was called up for military service, and when he returned in October of the same year, he moved to United Records in Chicago. While Brown was away, his previous label released the "No News From Home" single, which was recorded from earlier sessions, in March 1952. He played for a while in Bill Doggett's band, and claimed to help write Doggett's hit "Honky Tonk". He also recorded with Walter Horton during this period. Over the next decade he recorded R&B for a number of smaller labels, before starting to perform and record as a comedian in the 1960s and 1970s. He released two live albums for his comedy act, 1967's I Ain't Lyin' and I Ain't Lyin' Vol. 2 a year later.
In 1977, Brown returned to Atlanta to run the Landmark Personal Care Center. After fans sought a return in his musical career, Brown made a comeback in 2001, recording and performing around the world in blues festivals. His past recordings have also been reissued on compilation albums.
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