So I went shopping for my birthday last weekend with some birthday money. Got a few shirts and that was nice, but I really wanted a nice looking messenger bag…maybe one that will even hold records! Both of the bags I found looked awesome, but were going for about $700.
$700 for a shoulder bag!?!?
That don’t even make sense! I could get a 24 inch LCD screen for less and that would be much more functional! Luckily I made a pass through Urban outfitters and they had the new Lasonic MP3 boombox that I had been drooling over online. It was $200, but fuck it…that’s the price you pay for awesomeness of this caliber! And for the price of that stupid bag I could get three of these bad boys!
What does any of this have to do with Charles Hilton Brown and his amazing 1974 album “Owed to Myself?”
Not a damn thing.
But I just had to tell someone about my boombox.
That and there isn’t a lot of info on Charles or his album out there. What information I do have comes from the blurb on Dustygroove and the minuscule liner notes. From what I can tell Charles spent some time in England where he met up with a scathing Afro-Funk band called Assagai and they decided to record a album that Charles felt was “Owed” to himself.
I found a note somewhere that it was recorded in Italy as well…and that would make sense, since it was reissued by Italian super label Schema.
His deeply soulful sound is reminiscent of Otis Redding mixed with Tom Jones…and the results are just magnificent. Whether he is covering classic tunes like ‘Ain’t no Sunshine’ or ‘Love Train’, or plowing through silky smooth originals like ‘Tell Me Once Again’ (first track below) Hilton Brown delivers like UPS on this rare slice of funky soul.
Also notable are Assagai’s sick instrumental jams ‘Maddox’ (second track below) and ‘GRF.’ Check out the samples below for some of that sweet sweetness!
Who was Charles Hilton Brown? No one seems to know…and he never released another album again.
But thank God he released this one!