Jack Brown, Tells It Like It Is, QCA Records 90854, 1968?
I now I said yesterday that my last month would be dedicated to the best of affordable vinyl, so some of you might be surprised to see this and not Highway 61 Revisited featured today. The truth is that I absolutely loved this record. Yes, sure, I bought it for the cover, the plainness of it all giving the buyer no idea at all what this is even all about. It looked to me like the kind of homemade religious sermon record that sometimes pops up at Goodwill, but this is so much more than that.
It turns out that Jack is a reformed addict and felon who spent years in prison alongside some of the most notorious criminals in American history. If the sleeping habits of The Birdman Of Alcatraz are interesting to you, then by all means pick up a copy of this album. Jack has a gravelly voice and doesn’t seem to get it when the teen audience on the record laughs when he relays how he “smoked that Mary-Juana and sniffed that cocaine”. He matter of factly relays assaults, robberies and stabbings like he’s Grandpa Walton spinning a yarn. Jack really doesn’t care for the glamorization of Bonnie & Clyde, because in real life Bonnie was not attractive looking and Clyde was a practicing homosexual. Their killing spree across the Midwest is also an issue, but apparently not as much.
Jack really is worth listening to, and without this bizarre document he left behind, virtually no one alive would be able to know about it. Jack Brown is too common a name to research this one particular Jack Brown, and Wikipedia has nothing on the album or the man. Safe to say when I listen to this stirring tale that I am the only one on Earth to be having that singular joy. That’s a pretty good deal for $3.
Cost: $3, $186 Remaining