Mel BrownMel (* 1939 in Jackson, MS) was a guitarist, bassist and pianist. Mel's early idols were blues guitarists B.B. King and T-Bone Walker. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked mainly as a session musician from the late 1950s, worked on recordings by Bobby Darin, Bill Cosby, but also on T-Bone Walker's album Funky Town. In late 1960 he went on tour with the formation The Olympics; then he played in the backing band of singer Etta James for two years; later he also played in the band of Oliver Nelson, Jimmy McGriff or with West Coast bassist Leroy Vinnegar. He also played in various local blues bands.
In the summer of 1967, Impulse! Records released a first blues-funk album under his own name (Chicken Fat), which featured Gerald Wiggins, Herb Ellis, Arthur Wright, Ronald Brown and Paul Humphrey. In 1971, Brown joined singer Bobby "Blue" Bland's band, contributing to his California album (1973). In 1979, Brown performed at the San Francisco Blues Festival. During this period, Brown also worked with blues legends such as John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins; he stayed with Bland until 1982.
Brown worked in a blues band in Austin, TX in 1983 in the house band at Antone's club; later he accompanied musicians such as Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Clifton Chenier. In 1986 he became a member of Albert Collins' band the Icebreakers and contributed to his album Cold Snap; after that he continued to work at Club Antone's in Austin.
In early 1990, Brown moved to Kitchener, Ontario/Canada, where he formed his own band, The Homewreckers. The result was the album Neck Bones & Caviar (1999). The following year he was awarded the Prix Big Bill Broonzy and the W.C. Mobile Award winner. In 2001 and 2002 he received the Juno Award. In 2006, Brown recorded his last album (Blues: A Beautiful Thing). In 2007 he received the Living Blues Award for best guitarist. In April 2008 he was on stage for the last time; he performed with Buddy Guy at the Kitchener Ontario. Mel died in March 2009.
It's a Sin To Be Rich
Verve Records 314 517 514-2
recorded May 1972 in Los Angeles, CA/USA
Lightnin' Hopkins, guitar, piano, vocals
John Lee Hooker, guitar, vocals
Mel Brown, guitar, piano, organ
Jesse Ed Davis, guitar
Luther Tucker, guitar
Charlie Grimes, guitar
David Cohen, guitar
Clifford Coulter, piano, melodica, bass
Michael White, violin
Joe Frank Corolla, bass
Lonnie Castile, drums
Bruce Walters, drums
Jim Gordon, drums
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