Artist picture of Oscar Brown Jr.

Oscar Brown Jr.

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Work Song Oscar Brown Jr. 02:31
Brother Where Are You? Oscar Brown Jr. 04:09
Forbidden Fruit Oscar Brown Jr. 03:31
Brother Where Are You Oscar Brown Jr., Matthew Herbert 04:03
But I Was Cool Oscar Brown Jr. 02:53
Sleepy Oscar Brown Jr. 02:29
Dat Dere Oscar Brown Jr. 02:50
Straighten Up and Fly Right Oscar Brown Jr. 01:41
Humdrum Blues Oscar Brown Jr. 02:01
Mr. Kicks Oscar Brown Jr. 02:03

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Singer, songwriter, playwright, poet and civil rights activist Oscar Brown, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 10, 1926. Before his recording career began, he worked for the radio program Negro Newsfront in Chicago and was acknowledged as the world’s first African American newscaster. He then went into real estate, public relations, politics and the U.S. Army. Leaving the army in 1956, he worked as a copywriter before becoming a radio DJ. In his spare time, he began writing songs based on his experiences with racism. His stint as a DJ didn’t last long and Oscar Brown, Jr. was fired due controversial comments he made about the Korean War. Mahalia Jackson recorded his composition “Brown Baby”, which inspired him to pursue a career as a songwriter. He collaborated with jazz artist Max Roach on the politically charged album We Insist! before signing with Columbia Records as a solo artist. He released his debut solo album, Sin & Soul, in 1960. Now regarded as a classic, the album contained original material plus songs that featured popular jazz instrumentals with new lyrics by Oscar Brown, Jr. He followed that album with Between Heaven and Hell (1962), In a New Mood (1962), and Tells It Like It is! (1963), which featured his song “The Snake”, which became a hit when it was recorded by Al Wilson. Due to poor sales and a lack of understanding between the artist and label, Columbia Records dropped him from their roster. During his time on the label, Oscar Brown, Jr. presented his first musical, Kicks & Co., in 1961. Throughout the rest of the 1960s and into the 1970s, he balanced his time between releasing albums on the Fontana and Atlantic labels and writing more stage musicals such as Summer in the City, Joy (which ran in 1966 and 1969), Big Time Buck White, and Slave Song. After a long break, he returned with the 1998 album Live Every Minute, his first in 24 years. Oscar Brown, Jr. died on May 29, 2005.