Piney Brown – How About Rocking With Me

15th December 2021 · 1950, 1950s, Blues, Jazz, Music, Rock'n'Roll

Here’s another one of those proto-rock’n’roll tunes from another of those under-appreciated musicians of colour, this time from 1950 by Piney Brown.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, the splendidly named Columbus S. Perry started singing there in his family’s gospel group.

A big-voiced blues shouter, he made his recording debut after moving to Baltimore in 1940 and had a string of singles over the next two decades, though his debut album was not released until 2004.

Perry took his stage name from a famous club owner in 1930s Kansas City who had been immortalised in Big Joe Turner’s tune Piney Brown Blues.

This one was released in 1950 and, like all his records, failed to become a hit, though he was a popular live attraction all over the USA, sometimes performing with the young guitarist Albert Collins.

In the early 1960s Brown returned to Birmingham to look after his mother, performing occasionally in and around Alabama and appearing on package tours with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. He also co-wrote the song The Popcorn with his more celebrated namesake James Brown.

Despite recording numerous singles over the years, his debut album, My Task, was not issued until 2004, and his final one two years later. He died in 2009, at the age of 87, in Dayton, Ohio, his home since 1963.