Charles Brown was the pioneer originator of the immensely
influential postwar California blues style.
Though identified with his classic “Driftin’ Blues,” he was not
committed to just the blues, and was
comfortable as a popular crooner as well. His efforts as a
vocalist, pianist, and composer helped create
the music that would become rhythm and blues, and he was
one of the principals in bringing about a
shift in the mainstream of African-American music, one that
would bring vocalists to the forefront and
largely eclipse the instrumental art of jazz. Brown was a
premier entertainer in the 1940s and 1950s,
influencing a host of later performers including Ray Charles.
Brown was born on September 13, 1922 (some sources
give the year as 1920), in Texas City, Texas