Sunday, 27 May 2018

Bobby Brown "‘Prayers Of A One Man Band’’ 1982 US Psych Pop


Bobby Brown  "‘Prayers Of A One Man Band’’ 1982 US Psych Pop
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Perhaps because they were recorded in the mid-1970s, the first two Bobby Brown albums (no I’m not talking about Whitney Houston’s former husband), are the ones that seem to get all of the attention and coverage. That’s unfortunate since 1982’s “Prayers of a One Man Band” may be the best and most enjoyable of Brown’s albums. Like the others, this was a one man project with Brown responsible for writing, performing and producing all 12 tracks. It was also released on his own Destiny label with most copies being sold at his impromptu performances. In addition to a priceless picture of Brown’s homegrown multi-instrumental contraption, his considerable charms including a multi-octave voice, a knack for penning catchy (if goofy) songs (check out 'The Boy a Sailor’ and 'Hawaii Net I’ll Miss You’, and a likeable counter-cultural outlook on life were all on display. Musically the set sounded a little fuller and more sophisticated than the two earlier releases (perhaps a reflection of the fact it was recorded across nine separate studios). The other difference I detected is Brown’s mix of personal insight and social and political commentary shifted towards a more activist stance including commentary on animal rights ('If the Angels Cry’), environmental ('Sweet Clean Air’), social and political issues. His voice certainly remained an amazing instrument, capable of replicating Beach Boys-styled harmonies and even turning in a wild Tony Joe White swamp rock segment (check out 'Jungle Cowboy’). Besides, how could you not get a charge out of somebody who was willing to dedicate an album to: “To the people that watched me ad-lib these songs into their shape on the street corners of the world, a lot of your energy went into helping me select and refine my music and message. To say something that tries to improve the condition of our world may come off as sounding preachy, but if the magic and your love can be found in my attempt, it comes off as right by me. Thanks for thousands of perfect moments.”…by…RDTEN1….~


“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
“I discovered the album crate digging in Los Angeles,” says Jones. “I was intrigued by his handwritten instructions on where to find him in Laguna Beach, as well as his apparent friendships with Carl Wilson and Fleetwood Mac. He seemed to be straight out of a Thomas Pynchon novel, a new age yodeling cowboy drifter sailing into the heart of the sun. I also really loved his percussion.” 
Prayers of a One Man Band is the third and final of Brown’s self-released albums, and is the poppiest and most accessible of his works—if by accessible you mean “sounds like Harry Partch remaking Burt Bacharach’s soundtrack to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” 
Brown’s first album, 1972’s The Enlightening Beam of Axonda, was an extension of his dissertation work at UCLA, and also coincided with a time when he was in personal contact with Philip K. Dick. As Jones relates, “Apparently the two used to meet and exchange ideas. Shortly after Axonda was released, Dick also began to have visions of an “information-rich beam of pink light” that eventually led to his spiritual awakening (or mental breakdown) and the publication of his classic novel VALIS in 1982. There are indeed many similarities to Axonda and VALIS, though I suspect a lot of Californians were experiencing beams of spiritual light at that particular point in time. Perhaps they know something we don’t….Shannon McCormick…..~


I predict this album will become a big lost-classic sensation when the right people discover it. This is the hybrid of Bobb Trimble and Pet Shop Boys that hipster 80s ironic pop revivalist fantasies are made of. It’s totally from another planet, but it’s also a pretty straight pop album for the most part. Listening to this guy’s two albums from the 70s was a total chore, slogging through really shitty music to hear a really cool singing voice and some eccentric charm, but this album is a pure joy from start to finish. I went back for second helpings immediately. Those 70s albums find Bobby Brown in a more introspective, folk-scene-inspired approach to singing, but this album finds him in a more extroverted, confident approach that often recalls the yodelling of early Country music. This set of a dozen three-minute outsider synth pop nuggets is the stuff legends are made of…..by….herkyjerky…~


Originally self-released by Bobby in 1982, 'Prayers Of A One Man Band’ sees light for the first time in 33 years. A multi-instrumentalist, inventor, mystical physicist and world traveler Bobby Brown has charmed everyone from Kenny Loggins to Philip K. Dick. 'Prayers Of A One Man Band’, now available publicly for the first time places him along side the likes of The Beach Boys, Harry Partch, and Lindsay Buckingham as a true California visionary!….~






Tracklist 
A1 The Boy A Sailor 3:11 
A2 Steamboat Mama 2:50 
A3 Sail On 3:02 
A4 Lady Tennessee 3:00 
A5 Jungle Cowboy 3:10 
A6 Hawaii Nei I’ll Miss You 3:40 
B1 The Peaceful Ko 'Olaus 2:56 
B2 My Dog The Outlaw 3:19 
B3 If The Angels Cry 3:12 
B4 Sweet Clean Air 3:52 
B5 I’m Bolieve 2:58 
B6 The Cry Of The Wild 2:44 

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