Born Napoleon Culp, he borrowed his father’s surname, Brown. He had a deep, raw voice and a powerful delivery derived from gospel. In songs like “Don’t Be Angry” and “Piddily Patter Patter” (also known as “Pitter Patter”) he developed a driving but still light approach with a basic blues band and lots of wordplay.
During his heyday, in the mid to late 50s, Nappy was a prolific recording artist for Savoy Records and a much-in-demand stage performer, often playing every night and touring all over the country. During that period he traveled and performed with Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Little Richard, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, and T-Bone Walker. He provided ground-breaking hit songs for other artists, one of his biggest being "Night Time Is The Right Time" which was recorded and made famous by Ray Charles in 1958.
Nappy Brown was active as a performer until the end, performing until his illness was too much. His last cd was recorded with a group of younger musicians with an abiding knowledge of and respect for Nappy's music and the era of its greatest success. Guitarists Sean Costello and Junior Watson, among others, provided superb backing for Nappy on Long Time Coming, his first studio recording in many years, which was released by Blind Pig Records on September 25, 2007. Said an exultant Nappy at the end of the recording sessions, "This is the best record I have done since 1955."