In or near New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Richard "Rabbit" Brown (c. 1880 - c. 1937) was an American blues guitarist and composer. His music has been characterized by a mixture of blues, pop songs, and original topical ballads. He recorded six singles for Victor Records on May 11, 1927, one of which, "James Alley Blues", is included in the Anthology of American Folk Music and has been covered by Bob Dylan, among others.
Brown was most likely born around 1880 in or near New Orleans, Louisiana. He lived in New Orleans from his youth on. He eventually moved to the Battlefield, a rough district of the city, where several events inspired some of the songs he later wrote. He mainly performed at nightclubs and on the street. A couple of his most popular songs were topical ballads, "The Downfall of the Lion" and "Gyp the Blood", which were based on events that occurred in New Orleans.
Brown died in 1937, probably in New Orleans.
An anthology of rural acoustic gospel music, Goodbye, Babylon, released in 2003, includes one of the two known recordings by an otherwise undocumented singer named Blind Willie Harris. This piece, "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow," was recorded in New Orleans in 1929, and in describing it, the authors of the CD liner notes pointed out its "strikingly similar" resemblance to the Brown's 1927 New Orleans recordings. Since then, more discussion has ensued among early blues and gospel collectors and scholars, leading some to state without equivocation that Harris was a pseudonym of Brown's, although no documents linking Harris with Brown have been found.
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