Thursday, July 6, 2017

Joe Brown and the Bruvvers

Joseph Roger "Joe" Brown was born in 1941 in Lincolnshire but despite his rural birthplace was always an ebullient cockney character with wit and talent which made his between numbers banter almost as enjoyable as the songs and instrumentals he played. Joe’s early days saw him play in the pubs of the East End of London in a skiffle group called the Spacemen Skiffle Group and he relished his days at Butlins Holiday camps entertaining the campers. The cheeky pseudo- Cockney was very popular and later he made a living from working as a session guitarist, appearing in support of performers such as Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. He also appeared on the same bill as Johnny Cash, Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, when they toured the UK. Spotted as a future talent by Jack Good, Joe Brown became a regular on Good’s Boy Meets Girl's show in 1959.

The following year he played lead guitar on Billy Fury's acclaimed 1960 album The Sound Of Fury and in the same year formed his own backing group, The Braver. Larry Parnes, rock impresario signed Joe to his stable of rockers which included Billy Fury and Marty Wilde. Joe was musically talented and proficient on a number of musical instruments, including the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, mandolin and fiddle. Despite early chart success with A picture of you (written by Bruvver, Peter Oakman)and "That's what love will do" Joe seemed to fade with the introduction of the Beatles and Co.

In 1963 he appeared in "What a crazy world we are living in" playing Alf.

Joe enjoed acting and began to diversify making several appearances in the West End stage. Joe starred opposite Dame Anna Neagle in Charlie Girl in 1965. In the early seventies he formed a country band, "Browns Home Brew" with his wife Vicki Brown (previously with the Vernon Girls) and Joe Fagin (Auf Wiedersehen, Pet) and toured the UK college and rock club circuit.

Joe also became a popular choice for pantomime and dabbled with acting appearing in six movies as well as TV presenting with his own children's television series, Joe & Co, on BBC TV. He was back in the West End in 1986 with Cyd Charisse in 1986. In 1991\2 started working with American acts writing songs for the country market when he signed with Warner Chappell based in Nashville. He released his first solo “Come on Joe” album in 1993. His son Pete Brown produced the album which features the touring band The Bruvvers: Neil Gauntlett (guitar \ vocals), Phil Capaldi (drums\ vocals) and Rico Nilo (bass \ vocal). In 1998 Joe collaborated with writer Roger Cook and ace musicians features Sam Bush (fiddle & Mandolin) , Kenny Malone and Joe Allen (rhythm), Micky Raphael (harmonica) and session guitarists, J.T.Corenflos and Troy Lancaster as well as original Bruvver Neil Gauntlett (guitar) to produce another Nashville album. The first single from the album was On A Day Like This, which went to No 1 in the Country Music Radio Airplay chart. A second single That's The way The World Goes Round reached No 2 and the third single, one of Joe's own compositions, You Were Everywhere made the top twenty.

Joe continues to perform and has written a musical play with Roger Cook. Most recently he enjoyed a tour with his old friend Marty Wilde and has both new fans as well as those who remember him as cheeky performer in the 60s. Joe was a great friend of George Harrison and was the Beatles’s best man at his second marriage in 1978. He also performed “I'll See You in My Dreams" on ukulele at the Concert for George in 2002.

In 1972 The Bruvvers recorded “New Orleans” under the name "Harley Quinne" and had a top twenty hit in the UK. The Bruvvers continue to entertain with regular UK and European gigs.

Worth a listen:

I'm Henry The Eighth (1961)
What A Crazy World We're Livin' In (1962)
A Picture Of You (1962)
It Only Took A Minute (1962)
That's What Love Will Do (1963)
Sally Ann (1963)
All Things Bright & Beautiful (1977)
I'll See You In My Dreams (2004)

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