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Reverend Pearly Brown

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Reverend Pearly Brown (Abbeville, Georgia, August 18, 1915 - June 28, 1986, Plains, GA) was an American gospel singer and guitarist. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Reverend Pearly Brown was a street musician in Macon, Georgia.

Born in Abbeville, GA, blind from birth, he grew up in Americus, GA. He graduated from the Georgia School for the Blind. Pearly’s influences included Blind Lemon Jefferson and Blind Willie Johnson. From them, he adapted the bottleneck guitar style, using it in much of his repertoire. This consisted of traditional slave songs, old-time gospel, and folk music from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Always insisting he was not a blues singer, but a gospel artist, Pearly became known for his rich baritone voice and ringing guitar style.

Reverend Pearly’s career blossomed in the ’60s and ’70s. His first LP, “Georgia Street Singer,” was released in 1961.

Just a few of Pearly’s performances include: Carnegie Hall in 1965; the Newport Folk Festival in 1966; the Country Music Jamboree at Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee in 1969; and the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1974.

Pearly’s second album “It’s a Mean Old World to Try to Live In” was released in 1975 and a documentary film by the same name premiered in 1977.

Reverend Pearly died in 1986. His message of love and brotherhood left a lasting impression on untold numbers of fans, musicians and collectors around the world. “His music had the spirit of the blues and the power of the church,” Steve Leggett noted in ‘All Music Info’.

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