Jewel Brown – Thanks for Good Ole’ Music and Memories | Album Review

Jewel Brown – Thanks for Good Ole’ Music and Memories

Nic Allen Music Federation

10 Tracks – 38 minutes

Jewel Brown has had a storied career. She was born in Houston, Texas on August 30, 1937. She started singing in church and played her first show at age 12. Her first recordings were cut when she was just a teenager. In the mid-50’s, she recorded a series of hit songs with Clyde Otis on Liberty Records. In the 60’s, she was appearing in jazz clubs across America, many of which were owned by Jack Ruby (yes, that Jack Ruby).

Her greatest fame came from an extensive run as the vocalist for Louis Armstrong and His All-Star Band from 1961 to 1968, which ended when Armstrong became ill. She continued to headline her own shows, primarily in Las Vegas into the early 70’s. She ceased performing at that time to take care of her aging parents. While she stepped away from show business, she started up several businesses and became a successful insurance agent, a career that she only gave up on retirement in 2000.

However, her musical legacy was not forgotten. In 2007 she was inducted into the Blues Smithsonian Hall of Fame. In 2013, she was nominated for the Blues Music Award for Best Contemporary Female Vocalist (The Koko Taylor Award). In 2015. In 2015, she received a Congressional acknowledgment for her contribution to the arts. And in 2020, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed December 12, 2020, as Jewel Brown Day.

Now at age 85, Jewel has her first songs with her name on them as the composer. Working with Nic Allen, the album’s producer, she co-wrote seven originals and performs three covers.

She opens with an update of the classic Harry Belafonte song “Have You Heard About Jerry”, here just referenced as “Jerry”, a tale of violence that occurred following an argument with his strong boss. The jazzy samba excellently introduces Jewell’s still strong vocals. The short “Pain & Glory” is an acapella testament about faith with a chorus of male gospel vocals. She asks “Why Did You Do That” on a tropical-tinged jazz number. The bluesy swing with male backing vocals declares that she avoids the foolishness of others and prefers to follow the path to the Lord.

The synth –driven “Which Way Is Up” shows she can still rock out. Here she notes that her “whole world was upside down”, but now she “knows what direction to go”. On the slow, sensual horn-driven “Nitches and Glitches”, she “will not take it no more” and is fed up with her former lover’s game playing as her male chorus urges her to move on.

“Flatitudeis about fake flattery. She rejects insincere comments and advises that a simple acknowledgment that her work is good is all that is needed. “I Love Sunshine, Even More Rainy Nights” is another slow, smoky jazz number in which she states that “rain puts her in the mood”. A sexy sax and smooth guitar accompany her vocals and provide a strong emphasis to the mood. Eddie Curtis, her ex, wrote “Song of The Dreamerabout getting back to her love and is another smooth love song.

“On The Road” is a passionate look back to her days of touring with Armstrong. She states that “I’m loving the beautiful view/I’m always thinking of you.” The song offers a reminiscence of her time away from home, her enjoyment of the tour, and her appreciation of Armstrong’s support acknowledging him as “giving me my art”.

The album ends with a bit of jump on “How Did It Go” as she notes that “you betrayed my trust”, so “go take a hike”.

Her web site cites her as “The Most Jazzy Blues Singer on Earth”, which is certainly an apt description of her performance on this album.  So, if you enjoy your blues mixed with soft jazz and period styled instrumentals, this is certainly well worth your listen.

Please follow and like us: