Well kids, this will be the last post of the year 2008. I hope everyone had a great holiday. This year, the holiday in the Flea Market Funk household was really great. It was nice to have some time off from work to regroup, relax, watch some football on Boxing Day, and even go and kick a football about on a 65 plus degree day in December. We’re here for the music though, and today I’m throwing out a side, that to until recently, I discovered is kind of off the beaten path. Not to be confused with Chuck Brown from the Soul Searchers or the Blues singer Charles Brown, here is Charlie Brown with “(Funky) Sunny” on Contact/ Flying Dutchman Records from 1972.
Born in North Carolina, Brown was around music early. His father was a minister, so he grew up around religious music, and by the time he was a teen, he was into it full bore. Besides religious music he was inspired by Lester Young and Illinois Jaquet. His weapon of choice was the saxophone. He moved around a bit, and while living in Connecticut, he would play with various one off groups in New York City. His day job was in an electrical assembly plant (a job he had for 18 years and eventually became foreman), focusing on his music at night. Eventually, he came to a crossroads: stay with the stability of a full time job, steady paycheck, and taking care of his family. He took a chance, went to music full time. His chance would pay off, as producer Bob Thiele would discover Brown as he played with a group at Carnegie Hall. “I was struck immediately by the force of Charlie’s style and the funky quality of his playing”, said Theile. His first record, Why Is Everybody Always Pickin’ On Me? was released on Contact/ Flying Dutchman. This 1972 release was again produced by Theile and arranged by Horace Ott. Theile would assemble an all star cast with Gordon Edwards and Gerry Jemmott on Bass, Cornell Dupress, Bert Jones and Billy Butler on Guitar, Richard Tee on Organ, Neal Creque on Piano, Ralph MacDonald on Congas, and Pretty Purdie on Drums. Let’s not forget the nightclub opening from Frankie Crocker.
“(Funky) Sunny” is a great reworking of a classic covered by everyone, including the great James Brown. Charlie Brown, while a bit obscure, shines on this cover, proving that the guy really had some talent. Often compared to Hank Crawford during those Kudu Records years, I believe that fans of Soul Jazz will be happy with this offering from another discovery by the timeless Bob Thiele. Happy New Year to everyone in the FMF extended family, I’ll see you in 2009. Thanks for a great year, for real. Keep Diggin’!