Long Time Coming (Blind Pig)
Vocalist Nappy Brown's recent CD is appropriately titled, as it's been years since he released an album. But Brown is back, following the encouragement of Muddy Waters Blues Band's Bob Margolin to tour and record again.
Long Time Coming includes many well-known musicians, including guitarists Margolin, Junior Watson, Kid Ramos and Sean Costello, selected for the project because the producer felt that they could do justice to Brown's musical style.
Brown gained popularity in the mid-1950s, when he combined his gospel background with rhythm and blues and became one of the originators of soul music. Several of his hits on the Savoy Records label are included here, such as "Don't Be Angry," considered his breakthrough song from 1955, and given an upbeat early R&B sound with Watson on the current version. Also re-recorded is a swinging number from the same era, "That Man," which presents an entertaining, rhythmic storytelling style similar to The Coasters. "Night Time is the Right Time," another of Brown's signature songs, became popular only after Ray Charles covered it. The new take certainly deserves to be a hit, as Brown's band mates know how to back him and allow the emotional phrasing from his stunning voice to be at the forefront.
In fact, all of the numbers show the power and expressiveness of Brown's vocal range and the importance of testifying the blues in order to be soulful. Nominated earlier this year for several blues awards, Long Time Coming has led to a resurgence in Brown's career. Unfortunately, his summer tour has been canceled, as Brown is seriously ill and has been hospitalized in his native town of Charlotte, N.C. Hopefully, Brown will fully recover and enjoy the much-deserved recognition that he experienced too briefly half a century ago.