Published in the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, July 18, 2014
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Bill Brown nurtured his sons from early ages in the ways of music. Older brother Cooper took up guitar, and Dillon, 2-plus years younger, chose drums so they could jam together.
When they were 10 and 13, their father started to help them play in bands, leading to getting them gigs and recording opportunities, Dillon Brown said. In their early teens, they formed Benefit of a Doubt, which had a decade-long run through late 2013.
“My brother and I — if we didn’t say it, we felt it — that we’d always play music together in remembrance of our dad, because of how much he influenced us doing that,” Dillon Brown said.
Versatile guitar ace Bill Brown and Don Shipps, a catalyst for so much Springfield music, died in a house fire 10 years ago next Wednesday breaking hearts across the local music community.
Brown was the central figure of the Misstakes, a band that toured widely in the 1980s. He played with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, the Bluesberries and Shipp’s Titanic Blues Band.
Shipps, who played bass, was a founding member of the 1970s funk group Granny’s Bathwater, which toured for a time as the backing band for Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas. Shipps took an omnivorous approach to music, embracing blues, funk, soul, R&B, rock and beyond.
Among the dark, decade-old memories, it’s worth recognizing that Brown’s and Shipps’ generous spirits live on through bandmates and especially through those they mentored and taught.
Nathan Bryce stands out as one of the talented players who benefited from Shipps’ guidance. The young Bryce, whose parents drove him to gigs, found Shipps at the Blue Monday Jam at the Stepchild Lounge. …
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