Bob Brown‘s story is a fascinating one. In the late 1960’s, Brown, a young burgeoning musician at the time, linked up with Richie Havens, eventually signing with Haven’s Stormy Forest record label. In 1970 and 1971, Stormy Forest released The Wall I Built Myself and Willoughby’s Lament. Soon after, Stormy Forest closed up shop and throughout the ’70s Bob struggled to make traction with other labels, leading to a final live performance in the early 1980s.
But the story continues on, as Bob’s music becoming something of a cult touchstone. Although his sole two albums failed to make much of a commercial impact at the time, over the years the albums have become highly sought after by vinyl collectors and lyrical cosmic folk listeners. 2016 was momentous one for Bob Brown as the Tompkins Square record label, known for their crate-digging and hidden gem polishing, reissued The Wall I Built Myself and Willoughby’s Lament, giving them their much deserved and first wider release in over 40 years.
I openly admit that I actively keep up to date with what Tompkins Square Records is working on, so I was pleased that Josh Rosenthal of the label contacted Folkadelphia to host Bob Brown and his collaborator Wall Matthews, both of whom live in the Washington D.C. metro area, for an in-studio performance. Bob has not lost any of the magic that you hear on his recordings; each song is truly a painting of poetry and melody come together. I do hope that the muse has once again visited Brown and we won’t have to wait another bunch of decades for more of this fantastic music – here’s to LP #3!