Bob Brown The Wall I Built Myself on LP
1970 Debut Singer/Songwriter Recorded for Richie Havens' Stormy Forest Label / Reissued for the First Time with Notes by DC Journalist Leor Galil
Singer/songwriter Bob Brown recorded two rare albums - The Wall I Built Myself (1970) and Willoughby's Lament (1971) - on Richie Havens' Stormy Forest label in the early-70s. They are legitimately reissued on LP for the first time in 2016 with notes by DC journalist Leor Galil. Bob is still with us, and played the Tompkins Square 10th Anniversary show in October 2015.
In 1965, Bob Brown – hailing from Clinton, MD, with an arsenal of Dylan covers – began his annual hitchhikes to the Newport Folk Festival. With both a natural talent and a yen for self-promotion, he built a solid following in the D.C. area, opening for any folkie with a respectable following who happened to pull through town. A chance encounter with Richie Havens in Provincetown, MA, lead to a friendship, which culminated in a record deal with Havens' label, Stormy Forest.
At his core, Brown was a classic troubadour, but the band he put together was far more expansive. His debut LP, The Wall I Built Myself, was a freeform folk-rock record with jazzy elements. Its modest success earned fans and friends from the upper strata of the folk scene, including such luminaries as Tim Hardin and Eric Anderson. Brown's frequent tours with Havens blessed him with an audience, but he struggled to emerge from his mentor's shadow. Brown’s sophomore effort, Willoughby’s Lament, was more or less a flop, but it finally fulfilled the obligations of his contract with Stormy Forest.
Brown’s relocation to the Chelsea Hotel in Greenwich Village put him in regular contact with both the misfit and elite classes of the bustling scene. From his Chelsea room, he wrote diligently, demoing “Close Of The Day” for a third album with George Massenburg that never materialized. After a deal with Columbia fell through, Brown dove into a downward spiral, leading out of music and onto a path towards motivational speaking and writing the celebrated guide The Little Brown Book Of Restaurant Success.