Joe Brown

It's All Over ~ GAYE 3033No I haven’t gone mad. This isn’t a summary of the career of the UK’s “chirpy cockney” guitarist and singer who was so popular in the early 60s. Instead this is a page dedicated to the writer / producer / singer Joe Brown who came from Georgia and who made several fine – but rare and obscure – 45s in the late 60s and 70s.

Due to their rarity it is a pretty difficult job to sort out Brown’s singles into the correct order and to date them. But Brown’s first release would seem to be his only 45 on the fabled Gaye label. This release’s number makes it a late number for the label, and it is a really rare one, arguably the most difficult to find in the Gaye catalogue. The top side Listen“It’s All Over” is a very good, if primitive, deep soul ballad featuring a classic arpeggio led accompaniment with strong albeit mixed down horns. Brown’s vocal is very good indeed especially his extended falsetto burst towards the run out groove. This is raw stuff all right, underproduced like so many little label releases but with more than enough going for it to make it a track that every deep fan should know about. The uptempo flip “Promise Me” with its Otis R echoes, sadly isn’t in the same class but may well be strong enough for the dance fans to enjoy it.

It's All Over ~ MASTER W 1006Brown went on to record several 45s for the Master “W” label starting with a recut of “It’s All Over” under the name the Exploders. This version wasn’t quite up to the standard of the original but is very welcome all the same. The personnel on the disc is listed on the label as:-

Joe Brown – vocal
David Smith – drums
Richard King – bass
Robert Lee Williams – lead guitar

Brown second Master “W” 45 “E.T.H.E.L” was an almost rockabilly toe tapper , but the flip, which also credited his wife (?) Virginia Brown, “I Love You One Thousand Times” was a poor effort at a duet. Sadlt their voices didn’t mesh together at all well, and the song lacked a proper melody.

Bad Things Happen In Georgia ~ MASTER W 1040Virginia Brown also appeared on the Soul Eldorados 45 on Master “W”, both sides of which were penned by Joe Brown. Hard not believe that Brown himself, although uncredited, isn’t the vocalist on the gospel feeling “Bad Things Happen In Georgia” or on the similarly sanctified “Lonely Prisoners” with its plodding slow beat.

Brown’s final Master “W” is the one that fetches the really high prices. Listen“Mr Magic Man” is a tasteful melodic slowie with a spare and well organised arrangement that is a real winner, despite the usual determinedly low fi production. The flip credited to Renee Love “Sunshine” is in a similar easy paced groove but without quite matching the top side’s melodic craft.



Vibration ~ FFAGiven the credit to “the Soul Eldorados”, I would presume that the strange two part “Vibration” on the terminally obscure FFA label was released some time around the time of the final two Master W 45s. Aurally that stacks up as well. Part 1 is a funky uptempo number, the first Brown recorded in that vein, but the ListenVibration Pt 2 is a rather meandering downtempo ballad. Almost a completely different song – which does reveal a certain charm after a couple of plays.

Joe’s first single on his own (?) Atlanta Soul imprint couple a remake of the funkier first part of “Vibration” with a fine ballad Listen“I Love My Baby”. The wah wah guitar is properly well down in the mix in favour of prominent bass and drums. Joe’s lovely vocal is amongst the very best he ever recorded, and the occasional horn and vocal harmonies are spot on. The second Atlanta Soul 45 “Disco Disco Girl” was as poor as the title suggest, and the flip “Money”, a rather boring funk track, was credited to one J Owens.

We Can Work It Out ~ ATLANTA SOUL 121841By the of Brown final Atlanta Soul, the rhythm section was renamed as “Black Funk”, and the name change certainly revitalised the music as Listen“We Can Work It Out” was much more like it being a well structured ballad on which Joe was memorably emotional, especially on the lengthy middle rap. The flip “Rap Off” was as its name might indicate pretty dire.

And that 45 was a rather good way for Brown’s recording history to conclude.

Special thanks to Brian Poust.


ListenIt’s all over / Promise me ~ GAYE 3033 (1967)
E.T.H.E.L. / I love you one thousand times (as JOE & VIRGINIA BROWN) ~ MASTER W 1016 (1967)
ListenMr Magic Man / Sunshine (by RENEE LOVE) ~ MASTER W 14045 (early 70s)


No woman / It’s all over ~ MASTER W 1006 (1966?)


Bad things happen in Georgia /Lonely prisoner ~ MASTER W 1040 (early 70s)


Vibration / ListenVibration Pt 2 ~ FFA (early 70s)


ListenI love my baby / Vibration ~ ATLANTA SOUL 121251 (mid 70s)


Disco Disco Girl / Money (by J OWENS ~ ATLANTA SOUL 125402 (mid 70s)


ListenWe can work it out / Rap off ~ ATLANTA SOUL 121841 (mid 70s)




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