b. Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp, 12th October 1929, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 20th September 2008, Mercy Hospital, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Nappy Brown was born Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp in North Carolina in 1929.
Nappy was the son of Kathryn Culp and Sammie Lee Brown.
When his mother, Kathryn, passed away, a young Nappy was brought up by Fred and Maggie Culp.
Fred and Maggie Culp attended Gethsemane AME Zion Church in Charlotte.
Nappy attended school in Charlotte, North Carolina.
As with many singers at this time, he started out singing Gospel Music.
Nappy sang with the Selah Jubilee Singers.
When Savoy Records came knocking in 1954, he sang secular music for the label.
I Wonder b/w That Man – 1954 / Don't Be Angry b/w It's Really You - 1955
At Savoy, Nappy released several successful singles, including ‘Don't Be Angry’ b/w ‘It's Really You’ (number 2 R&B, and number 25 pop in 1955), ‘Pitter Patter’ b/w ‘There'll Come A Day’ (number 10 R&B, in 1955), and ‘It Don't Hurt No More’ b/w ‘My Baby ‘ (number 8 R&B, number 89 pop, in 1958).
nappy brown sings - 1955 / that man - 1961
Over this period, Nappy carved out a large reputation on the R&B circuit, sometimes touring with the Alan Freed Revue.
The emergence of the Black artist, within the Rock N’Roll genre, brought the R&B performers to the attention of White audiences.
Nappy, along with the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Fats Domino became household names around the World.
Elvis Presley used to attend Nappy’s shows, when he performed in Memphis.
when I get inside - 1977 / tore up - 1984 / just for me - 1988 / deep sea diver - 1989
After a period during the Seventies, when he performed with the group Napoleon Brown and the Southern Soul Sisters, Nappy went through something of a renaissance in the Eighties.
Persuaded by Bob Margolin, (one time guitarist for Muddy Waters) Nappy returned to the music industry.
He toured Scandinavia in 1983, signing with Landslide Records the following year.
apples and lemons - 1990 / aw shucks - 1991 / who's been foolin' who? - 1997 / long time comin' - 2007
At Landslide he released the album ‘Tore Up’ with The Heartfixers.
He released several further albums in the following years.
His final album, ‘Long Time Coming’, was released in 2007.
On the 1st of June 2008, after a performance at the Crawfish Festival in Augusta, New Jersey, Nappy fell ill.
He was hospitalized, and passed away in his sleep on the 20th of September 2008 at the age of 78.
Nappy Brown was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2002.
E-mail received on the 22nd of September 2008 from Steve Hecht:
Sunday, September 21, 2008 7:37 PM
Subject: Nappy Brown Passes On
On Saturday night at 10:30 pm Nappy left us. He went peacefully in his sleep. A service is planned for Saturday.
Nappy Brown, was one of the last remaining classic R & B vocalists and blues shouters, is featured on the cover and in the lead article in a recent issue of Living Blues magazine.
The seven page article chronicles Brown's life from his birth in 1929 in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as his highly successful singing career which began with a series of hit recordings in the mid 1950s.
During his heyday, in the mid to late 50s, Nappy was a prolific recording artist for Savoy Records and a much-in-demand stage performer, often playing every night and touring all over the country.
During that period he traveled and performed with Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Little Richard, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, and T-Bone Walker.
He provided ground-breaking hit songs for other artists, one of his biggest being "Night Time Is The Right Time" which was recorded and made famous by Ray Charles in 1958.
Nappy Brown was active as a performer until the end, performing until his illness was too much.
His last CD was recorded with a group of younger musicians with an abiding knowledge of and respect for Nappy's music and the era of its greatest success.
Guitarists Sean Costello and Junior Watson, among others, provided superb backing for Nappy on Long Time Coming, his first studio recording in many years, which was released by Blind Pig Records on September 25, 2007.
Said an exultant Nappy at the end of the recording sessions, "This is the best record I have done since 1955."
Steve Hecht, Piedmont Talent Inc. Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Nappy Brown Sings (London Records 1955)
The Right Time (London Records 1958)
Thanks For Nothing (Elephant V Records 1969)
Tore Up (Alligator Records 1984)
Something Gonna Jump Out The Bushes (Black Top Records 1988)
Apples & Lemons (Ichiban Records 1990)
Aw, Shucks (Ichiban Records 1991)
I'm A Wild Man (New Moon Records 1994)
Don't Be Angry (Savoy Records 1995)
Who's Been Foolin' You (New Moon Records 1997)
Long Time Comin' (Landslide Records 2007)