Tommy Brown (born May 27, 1931, Atlanta, Georgia, United
States) is an American R&B singer, who achieved most 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
Well, when the bar starts jumpin' you can hear the cats
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 June 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 the early 1950s, Brown was called up for military
service, and when he returned he moved to United Records in Chicago. 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.
After a later career as a social care worker, he
returned to performance in 2001, subsequently appearing in clubs and at blues
festivals around the world.
Recorded in Atlanta on January 24, 1951.