Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ella Brown R.I.P.

I've just found out that Ella Brown Avery died on June 11th. I presume this was a result of the cancer she'd been battling for some time [my apology if that info is incorrect, I haven't seen an actual obit].

Now, I'm not a good enough writer to do justice to this woman, a woman who by all accounts was a very wonderful person, but I would like to say just one thing.....I think Ella Brown's solo recordings are some of the most beautiful ever made. So beautiful, they often make me cry.

While there are plenty of songs that affect me deeply, I can't think of any other artist that manages to make me tear-up so consistently. Every one of her four 45's carries at least one unforgettable song, any one of which would have been enough, all by itself, to make me a rabid fan.

My sincerest condolences to Jackie Avery and the rest of the family.


  1. Wet Willie Backup Singer Ella Brown Avery Dead at 62

    Posted: Jun 15, 2010
    Ella Brown Avery, 62 died on Friday, June 11, 2010 in Warner Robins, Georgia after a long illness. Ella sang backup for Jimmy Hall as one half of "The Williettes" in the band Wet Willie, performing alongside Hall’s sister Donna.

    Besides her work with Wet Willie, Ella Brown recorded a number of solo releases recording for Charles Adams in Macon as well as some solo sides at Capricorn Records.

    Ella’s Capricorn 45’s were leased out by husband Jackie Avery to Lee Lavergne’s Church Point, Louisiana based Lanor Records. The cream of these recordings is said to be her cover of Dan Penn’s “A Woman Left Lonely.”

    During her time at Capricorn Ella made a lot of uncredited appearances as a background singer - but one she did get a credit for was "Snake In The grass" a cut on The Devil And Other Blues Demons album Eddie Kirkland.

    “I liked Ella before I even met her or knew she could sing,” famed Capricorn producer Johnny Sandlin told GRITZ. “She made you feel good just being around her. She was a great background singer who brought a light to the sessions and she was one of the nicest people I've ever known.”

    Another legendary Capricorn producer, Paul Hornsby added “She sang a lot of pretty notes on several of my records. She was great.”
    "Ella was a great addition to our Wet Willie lineup bringing to it her soulful voice, positive attitude, and a wonderful sense of humor," Jimmy Hall tells GRITZ. "She made everyone laugh when we needed to and will always be remembered for her duet with me on " Mama Didn't Raise No Fools" which was inspired by Otis Redding's duet with Carla Thomas."
    Donna Hall Foster told us, "Ella was my soul sister - We grew up together on the road with Wet Willie, blending our voices and sharing our secrets and dreams. We have lost a great talent and a stellar spirit."

    Another golden voice in the history of Southern Rock has been silenced, but the music of Ella Brown Avery will live on.

    Keep it Real. Keep it Southern. Buffalo


    1. Great article on Ella, Buffalo.........I am listening to her spirit in the NEW vibe on Wet Willie's NEW CD "Miles Of Smiles" (2012) - her presence is very much felt!!! ~D

    2. This is so sweet made me cry I was just thinking of her once again I'm her goddaughter and yea u are correct it was the cancer and I always try to see what stuff about her is on the Internet

    3. If you click on "Ella Brown" and "Jackie Avery" in the side bar, there is another of Ella's recordings....and both sides of one of Avery's two 45's. All of which are very difficult to find.

  2. Thanks for posting that, Gyro...

  3. Sad news. As is often the case I have Sir Shambling to thank for turning me on to Ella Brown. I really love her Adams sides but have never been able to pick them up at the right price. I bought both her Lanor releases a couple of years ago direct from the current owners of Lanor Records studio and all its inventory. I'm guessing they had never made it into a shop and may never have ever even been distributed. I kinda like the thought that these records were, effectively, new but at the same time nearly 40 years old!

  4. Darcy...yep until fairly recently you could order quite a lot of the Lanor catalogue for $4 a pop. The copies are still plentiful around here, I think I paid 4 or 5 dollars for mine.

    The Adams releases are another matter entirely. I've been looking for those suckas for at least two years with no luck. I can't even find a beat up copy. They are literally in the top three of my want list.

    Last fall, a copy of "I Love You Baby" was up for auction, I stupidly played it cautious and was outbid. As far as I can tell, It's the only copy to have ever been offered on Ebay. Stupid ,stupid,stupid, it didn't even sell for all that much money considering what I'd now pay.

    When I wanna make myself feel bad I pull up the info on that auction on Popsike...and sigh.


  5. Ha! I was doing the same on that auction. As you say $69 seems reasonable in hindsight. Of course I always console myself in these situations by thinking the winner would have gone much higher anyway :)

    We know who we will be bidding against next time one comes up then!

  6. You might have seen a copy of "Right or Wrong" just went through eBay. I missed it as work had taken me away from the wonders of the internet. $4500 (!!) - or best offer :) It was VG- and sold (to you?) I am assuming for a lot less than the guide price.

  7., certainly not me. At this point in time, the most I've ever paid for a record is $75.

    Would that I had that kind of money, but still, I can't imagine they actually got $4500 for it. It occurs to me that maybe the $4500 was a mistake?, and the listing has been pulled for correction? Even $450 seems an awful lot to me.

    Funny that I missed it, I check Ella Brown at least once a week. The listing must not have been up very long.

  8. I'm confused - I thought it had sold but it's still up, finishing in a couple of days. There is a sound file but it sounds like it was played on a portable, in a toilet! I can just make out all the crackles. The seller does point out that the $4500 is not really serious and s looking for offers. Too crackly for me.

  9. That is bar-none the stupidest listing I've ever seen.

    Almost the worst audio clip I've ever heard too. The guy who posts clips from 45's that are recorded at about 60 rpms beats him hands down.

    If I make an offer it'll be very low. I'm pretty skint atm. Feel free to beat it if you like...