Gary: “Well, tonight we will do what I am good at, go way back. Let’s take a look back 55 years to an R&B Blues singer who’s name was ‘Napoleon Brown Goodson Culp’ from an area I am familiar with, Charlotte North Carolina.”
Wow – what dancing!
Now, Nappy actually had only one hit on the charts , but I will also give you a couple other songs I really enjoy.
Nappy Brown is the stage name of Napoleon Brown Culp (born October 12, 1929, died September 20, 2008). Nappy Brown’s earliest musical influences were blues and gospel. As a youngster he performed in several gospel groups, including the Heavenly Lights.
Nappy’s singing eventually brought him in touch with Herman Lubinsky’s Newark, NJ Savoy label, which signed him in the early 1950s to compete with shouters like Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris and Big Joe Turner. Brown’s unique delivery featuring rolled consonants allegedly led Lubinsky to exclaim, “Well, what do you know, a coloured guy who sings Yiddish! This must be my lucky day!”
A big man with an incredible amount of energy, Nappy soon became famous for his wild stage antics. Touring with the likes of Little Richard and Jackie Wilson, Nappy always got the crowds involved in his performances, often getting in the audience down on his knees and singing or dancing with the ladies.
Between 1955 and 1959, Brown appeared over and over on Billboard’s R&B charts, with hits like “Don’t Be Angry,” which reached #2 nationwide. Other big songs for Nappy included “Pitter Patter” in 1955, “It Don’t Hurt No More” in 1958, and I Cried Like A Baby in 1959. But probably the song that had the biggest impact for Nappy was a tune he wrote and recorded, but is best remembered as a hit for Ray Charles—“Night Time Is The Right Time.”
In the early 1960s, Nappy continued to record and tour, but eventually ended his association with Savoy Records. Except for a lone album done in 1969 on Elephant Records, Nappy remained unrecorded for years. Settling down in a small town outside of Columbia, South Carolina, he concentrated his singing efforts towards gospel during the 1970s and early 1980s. But renewed interest in his R&B recordings abroad and the re-release of a number of his early songs on albums in Europe resulted in a highly successful Scandinavian tour in 1983.
Interest in his early recordings remains strong, as many of them have been reissued on CD. He regularly appeared at blues festivals, where his huge voice and slightly ribald stage antics never failed to bring down the house.
On June 1 2008 following a performance at the Crawfish Festival in Augusta, New Jersey, he fell ill due to series of ailments and was hospitalized. He died in his sleep on September 20 2008 at Mercy Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.