Proudly Canadian: Charity Brown

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

When Charity Brown was only 15 years old she was already playing to coffee house circuit in Kitchener, Ontario under her real name, Phyllis Boltz.

Always influenced by the earlier days of rock ‘n’ roll and psychedelic singers like Gracie Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Charity sang with local rock bands, Landslide Mushroom and Inner Light, which led her to then joining the band Rain. They were booked regularly at High School dances and local events in Ontario.

Rain scored a Top-10 hit in Canada in 1971 with "Out of My Mind", written by Greg Hambleton and released on Axe Records. She left Rain in 1973 to focus on her solo career. Her Motown-flavoured brand of white soul was produced by Harry Hinde and was strong enough to secure her a contract with A&M Records. It was at this time she changed her stage name to Charity Brown.

Using old hits as a pathway to her new career direction, she had hits with “Jimmy Mack”, “You Beat Me to the Punch”, “Our Day Will Come”. Her two original studio albums with A&M produced four top ten hits in Canada, including the #5 hit "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)". "Take Me in Your Arms" was a Holland-Dozier-Holland composition that had been an R&B hit for Kim Weston in 1965 and the Isley Brothers in 1968. Charity Brown released her single in mid April, 1975 about a week before the Doobie Brothers released the same song in the US. The Doobie Brothers version peaked at #11 in the US but was overshadowed in Canada by Brown's release. The Doobie Brothers peaked at number 30 in Canada only after Brown's version began to leave the charts.

Charity Brown Kitchener Blues Festival 2007Charity Brown Kitchener Blues Festival 2007During the 1980s, Brown performed as a voice artist for Atkinson Film-Arts TV specials and programmes including The Velveteen Rabbit, Rumpelstiltskin, Dennis the Menace and The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin. She also made a guest appearance on The Alan Thicke Show and appeared with a number of top Canadian female recording artists on the CBC Television special Anne Murray's Ladies Night in 1979.

After a twenty-year hiatus from music, she began performing again in southern Ontario, including a performance at the 2007 Kitchener Blues Festival. She released an album of material recorded in 1979 but never before released. She also released a sampler called Wings of Time, featuring two original tracks.

Charity Brown was nominated for the Most Promising Female Vocalist award at the 1975 Juno Awards, the top music award in Canada. She was nominated again in 1976, 1977 and 1978 for Best Female Vocalist.

Charity Brown was truly the sound of 70’s both on AM and FM radio.

Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me For a Little While)