Tag Archives: Bobby Brown

Bobby Brown’s “Prayers of a One-Man Band” is a Cracked Pop Masterpiece

Bobby Brown

“So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.” So says Hunter S. Thompson, memorably summing up the demise of the spirit of the ‘60s in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. What Thompson couldn’t have known in the early ‘70s, though, was the way that broken wave of hippie aesthetics would distribute its flotsam and jetsam to unexpected places and times. Enter Bobby Brown (not formerly of New Edition, not Mr. Whitney Houston), an erstwhile utopian California mystic whose complete discography, three records recorded in Hawaii in the ‘70s and ‘80s, is both a perfect snapshot of the dimming sunlight of the hippie era’s psychedelic folk influence on pop and a deeply personal expression; his albums were mostly self-released. Austin Leonard Jones, fellow folk oddity and spiritual seeker, launched his new imprint Del Rio Records and Tapes, partly with the goal of seeing Brown’s cracked pop masterpiece, Prayers of a One Man Band, back in print.

Brown himself is a reclusive figure, living in a house he inherited from his father in Reno, Nevada (that breaking hippie wave washed that far), and we weren’t able to reach him directly for this writing. But, fortunately, Jones was forthcoming as to how he found Prayers in the first place and his quest to see it re-released, tracking down a figure that even the most informed obscurantist musical obsessives had assumed was unreachable.

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