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Hash Brown & The Browntones

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Biography

The Browntones concept was the brainchild of Dallas bluesmen Brian “Hash Brown” Calway and Shawn Pittman in 1998. The basic idea was to put together a band to play harp driven blues. Pittman subsequently moved to Austin, but the Browntones concept was kept afloat by Hash Brown using different musicians. Money problems meant that there was a hiatus after the first recording session in June 2000, but fortunately things picked up, allowing things to be completed in May 2002, albeit using another version of the Browntones. The end result is “Have Some Fun!”

The album opens nicely with “Blues for April Green,” which defines the style of the Browntones. There are subtle shades of SRV, Fab T-birds, and maybe even a little early Bluesbreakers about the way they play. It all fits nicely together, with Brown leading from the front on harp and vocals. The band then shift up a gear for the first swamp blues influenced number, “Ain’t No Way.” The second, “Hot Dog,” is a risque blues with shades of Slim Harpo in the harp playing.

For someone who is best known as a guitarist, Brown is a more than capable harp player. On “Celluphone Blues,” for example, which chugs along neatly, his playing calls to mind the great Snooky Pryor. He also plays chromatic harp on “The Woman I Love,” which has a nice walking bass line, courtesy of John Bradley. The harp also combines surprisingly well with Elliott Sowell’s guitar on the T-Bone Walker style “Poultry Queen Boogie.”

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