Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RIP Ernie "Sugarlips" Brown

Ernie “Sugar Lips” Brown

On December 11th 2011,  we lost a true treasure of the blues community.  Ernie “Sugar Lips” Brown passed away at his home in Freeport, IL.  Sad as it is, this was only about a week after Carol Coleman, his long time companion and caregiver passed away.

We all will miss his unique style of harmonica playing  which truly came from the depth of his heart.  Ernie played with great feeling and ventured outside the box to create his own sound and mood.  He was capable of playing all genre of music including country, rock and his beloved blues.  Over the years, Ernie played with many musicians and bands.  Besides playing with the Mississippi Band and Port Bluez, Ernie was well known for being with his namesake band, Ernie and the Po’ Boys.

Ernie Brown was the most kind, gentle, soft-spoken person that I have ever met.  He never complained about the fact he could not see you or said bad things about people that he had dealings with.  He also had a great love for his family members and Carol.  He will be missed by all of them.
The past few years, “Sugar Lips” was unable to perform on stage or even play his beloved harmonicas. This had to be hard for him to bear after all the years of music in his life. He even had me get a harmonica rack for him to try which did not work out well. One day Ernie told me “I’ve had my time in the sun and other musicians will carry on.”  I think that he was okay with that.

I want to give a special thanks to Ernie for putting up with me in my endeavor to learn how to play the harmonica.  This truly had to be a challenge for him.  We had many hours together playing harmonica and talking.  Thank you Ernie, you will be truly missed by me and all the people that got to know you.  

Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis-Crossroads Blues Society

Ernest “Sugarlips” Brown Home Going Celebration
December 20th 2011  - 4:00PM till 9:PM
Stephenson County Farm Bureau - 210 West Spring St. Freeport, IL
Catered food will be served, live music and many pictures and memories of “Sugarlips”
No smoking or alcohol allowed
Dishes to pass would be appreciated also.
Contact Kaitlyn Peters 1-815-656-0392


Kat said...
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Byron Crossroads Blues Festival said...

A note sent to our Treasurer Al McNary:

Thanks for getting the word out about Ernie's passing. Ernie was a great friend and brother! After coming to Freeport he became a friend to my Father, I came to know him through my older sister and brothers. His musicianship was always astounding and he impressed more people with his playing and showmanship than we will ever know. He was always professional and extremely creative. I learned a lot about "playing" from him and even more about "LIFE". To me being around Ernie was always a humbleing experience because he transcended his disabilities in such an adept manner. He had a great sense of humor and there just wasn't enough of Ernie to go around. My only regret is that we didn't have the recording gadgets early on that we have now; Ernie blew some notes out of his harmonica that i sorely wish I could listen to and play right now. There were countless times that we got together and played music together; but never had the chance or ability to record or preserve. Although I knew his health was failing, my heart desired that he would be able to stand up and play his mouth harp forever. That might sound funny but knowing someone like Ernie is a rare experience and I will always treasure his memory.

Steve Cole

Byron Crossroads Blues Festival said...

Hey my friends,

The Stephenson County Farm Bureau, 210 W Spring St. Tue. Dec. 20th, 4pm – 9pm is the time and location of a memorial service/benefit for Ernie Brown. His granddaughter, Kaylan Peters (815-656-0392), is organizing the event and looking for help organizing and paying for the event. The neighbor across the street, Francis Ammons will cater the food. I volunteered to provide a PA system and bass amp. A drum set and keyboard would be good additions to help provide for jamming and musical tributes.

For those of us that have been blessed with sharing life and music with this unparalleled local legend and extraordinary human being, let’s celebrate his home going with class and gusto! Please share this info with others.
Your Brother Clyde Cole 815-238-2460

Kat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kat said...

Any donations would be much appreciated and are to be sent to Burke-Tubbs Funeral Home.

Brown Family
Our Heartfelt Thanks To All

kirk b johnson said...

Ernie brown was the best man that knew how to make a harmonica say ur name that was when I was 3r4 years old he use to stop over and have coffee in the morning with my mother 1day he stop over and my cat was playing with a mouse he toss the mode up in the air and it land in his coffee cup we laugh about it and he said he don't like meat with his coffee it was a toy mouse but had a great personalty. We all going to miss him but he will always be in are hearts love u Ernie brown.

Johnny Law said...

Dear Mr. Ernie Brown's friends and family, As though many years have come and gone between us, one of the most exciting times in my life was meeting Ernie and playing in at the front room of a friends house in the early 70's. Once I started playing, Ernie jumped in playing his magic machine they call the harp. We smiled at one another endlessly recognizing our abilities and able to communicate in an home-style blues fashion that only the few of us attending could measure the reality of our musical encounter and adventure. I wish to this day I had been in contact throughout the years, but unfortunately I had not for geagraphical reasons only. Hopefully he had remembered our day* Since Ernie and I made contact, my passion for the blues as a guitarist flourished into the blues genre meeting and playing with other artists such as Eddie Kirkland who also passed away this year. Thank you Ernie for sharing your wonderful life so we could learn to appreciate and value all you've done giving us your heart, inspiration and your soul so your music and the life you gave will live on for ever. With all my heart, I thank you Ernie Brown for the memories. May you rest in peace and take to heaven what you've given us here on earth. Peace, Johnny Law