The Late Great Truly Funky Mel Brown
“Listen – Mel Brown – Swamp Fever – MP3″
“Listen – Mel Brown – Ode to Billie Joe – MP3″
“Listen – Mel Brown – Son of a Preacher Man – MP3″
So, we spent the last week marking the passing of the great Eddie Bo, and I get this week’s posts all ready to roll, and then my man Tony C drops me a line to let me know that the great Mel Brown had died.
Will it ever stop?
Of course it won’t. We’re in a period where classic artists of the 50s and 60s are passing at an alarming rate, and once again it behooves us here at the Corners to take a moment and recognize.
This is especially appropriate when we’re talking about Mel Brown, one of the funkiest guitarists to ever roll down the pike, who recorded a string of amazing albums for the Impulse label in the 60s, and the man behind one of my fave 45s, ‘Swamp Fever’.
Back in the olden days (of yore, natch) I used to have a fave digging spot out in the Pennsyltucky Dutch Country, which was sadly depleted a long time ago. However, back when I first made it out there (with my man Haim) one of the first very cool 45s I unearthed (also one of the first tasty breakbeats I ever found) was ‘Swamp Fever’. I’d never heard of Mel Brown, but the title, the fact that it was on Impulse and a cover of ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ on the flip made me put it on my ‘to be previewed’ stack. These were pre-portable days, but the store had a listening station so all was groovy.
This was especially so when I dropped the needle on ‘Swamp Fever’, which opens with a break, drops out into a couple more, and in between all that featured some very funky guitar from Mr. Brown.
It’s a 45 that I’m carried in my DJ box often and started me on the road to Mel Brown fandom.
Oddly enough, though I’ve gotten a bunch of his 45s over the years I have never scored one of his albums in the field.
Today I’m going to serve up both sides of the ‘Swamp Fever’ 45, and his very solid version of ‘Son of Preacher Man’.
I hope you dig the sounds, raise a glass in remembrance of Mel Brown, and we’ll be back on track by mid-week (assuming we don’t lose anyone else).