Monday, March 17, 2014

Forgotten Gems: Lucy Brown-Lucy Brown

Released in 1991 on Megaforce/Atlantic Records, with producer Joe Blaney (Soul Asylum, Jack Bruce, Children, Bernie Worrell, Donna the Buffalo, The Beautiful, etc.) twisting the old knobs (or whatever you choose to call it kiddos!), "Lucy Brown" was the first major label release from the D.C. interracial "funk/metal" band of the same name. Originally formed in 1987, with lead vocalist/bassist Scott Llewellyn, guitarist Luis Peraza Jr. and drummer Chris Neuberg (reportedly) all serving as the founding members, Lucy Brown first hit the scene in 1988 with an entirely different self-titled affair. From what I've been able to gather (or per Wikipedia if you will!) that release was issued thanks to the Washington, DC-area label T.O.G. Records. Whether the bands first LP was/is as straight-up dope as this one happens to be is anyone's guess (or at least my guess as this is the only Lucy Brown album that I've had the pleasure of adding to my personal collection!), but for my money this little beauty (released during the heyday of the whole funk rock/funk metal explosion when bands like 24/7 Spyz, Living Colour, Red Hot Chili Peppers and (of course) Faith No More where busy ruling the top of the charts!) is TOTALLY where it's at! Unlike those mentioned acts Lucy Brown was more rock then metal. As the site AllMusic puts it (and they really hit the nail on the top of the head with this one!) Lucy Brown drew from "everyone from Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to Sly Stone and Funkadelic" with equal access given to punk, classic rock, pop, soul and (naturally) funk! With this 1991 album the band added on a baritone lead singer in Gene Hawkins (R.I.P.) and with Llewellyn being able to full concentrate on (slap-heavy, drop-dead groovy!) bass riffs the band cut their path through and album that is more slick and damn stylistic then anything from the camps of 24/7 Spyz, Living Colour or Faith No More! While bassist Scott Llewellyn would leave the band in 1992 (he was replaced by Jon Papazoglou) Lucy Brown would muster one more (supposedly excellent!) recording in the form of a 1993 EP ("Five Dogs Dead") the group's long-term plans were derailed by the passing of Gene Hawkins in 1994 (his life was sadly cut w-a-y too short as a result of a heroin overdose). This 11-track LP stands as a monumental piece of funk-heavy rock and roll and as a lasting legacy to a band that (unfortunate as it may just be) few have ever heard of. Easily picked up on Amazon or Ebay from less then $10 (a total steal if you ask me!) "Lucy Brown" is a rock-steady, soulful, funk-filled and downright emotional ride which, for those looking to add something more dynamic to their life (only without necessarily indulging in thrashing guitars), seems like a surefire winner!

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