Lattimore Brown was a fixture on the "chitlin circuit" of the early and mid-'60s, and worked right into the subsequent decade -- he enjoyed some success as a recording artist, mostly reaching audiences in and around the Gulf Coast, and was seen regularly on the soul showcase The !!!! Beat. Born in Memphis, Brown spent a good deal of his youth in the 1950s as a denizen of Beale Street, in gambling joints and, more importantly, the nightclubs in the city's red-light district, absorbing the music around him -- which was mostly blues. He broke into recording on the Excello label in 1960, cutting a pair of singles for the label's Zil imprint, "It Hurts Me So" b/w "Got Plenty of Troubles" and "Chick Chick Chicky Chick" b/w "Always My Love." Neither one was an especially big seller, but both were played heavily on local radio and paved the way for his first modest success, "Somebody's Gonna Miss Me" b/w "Darlin' Dear." Issued on Excello's own imprint, it did well enough to earn Brown a spot performing on the same bills with established labelmates Roscoe Shelton and Earl Gaines. In 1962, he jumped to the Nashville-based Duchess Records label, but a trio of singles there failed to generate any notable sales. It was Roscoe Shelton who led Brown to the newly founded Nashville-based Sound Stage 7 label in 1963. He recorded well over a dozen tracks during this period, in Nashville, in Memphis at Stax (where he cut several with Booker T. & the MG's), and at Muscle Shoals, but none of his music had any national chart impact. Perhaps his most widely heard record from this period was the single "I Knew I'm Gonna Miss You," which was cut with an uncredited Shelton sharing the vocals. Brown's biggest hit came later in the 1960s, when he released the Otis Redding tribute single "Otis Is Gone," which had some modest chart success. Despite his lack of national sales, however, Brown was able to generate a full LP of his own, entitled This Is Lattimore's World, at the end of the 1960s, which enjoyed sufficient sales and had enough impact to propel his career right into the next decade. He was dropped from the Sound Stage 7 roster in 1970 when the label's management decided to focus on more contemporary soul sounds, and jumped to Renegade Records soon after (which, bringing his career full circle, was distributed by the Excello label). He cut a pair of singles by way of Muscle Shoals before moving on to Ace Records. Brown's final two sides, "You Don't Know Like I Know" b/w "Warm and Tender Love" (the A-side cut as an unofficial duet with Bobby Marchan), were released by Ace in 1975. That was his last bid for recording success, though he continued working with guitarist Larry Davis throughout the decade. Brown retired from music in 1980. Ironically, in the first decade of the 21st century, there was more of his music in print at once -- and in more different media -- than ever before in history. In 2005, Bear Family Records issued on DVD the complete run of The !!!! Beat, a mid-'60s syndicated television R&B and soul showcase, on which Brown had appeared in the company of such luminaries as Joe Tex, Etta James, et al. And in 2006, Australia's AIM Records issued Little Box of Tricks, a 17-song CD collection that assembled virtually all of Brown's mid- to late-'60s sides for Sound Stage 7. On March 25, 2011, Brown was struck by a car and killed as he crossed the street near his home in Pensacola, Florida. ~ Bruce Eder
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