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Jack Brown - Tells It Like It Is 1970

On: Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jack Brown
Birth name
Official Site
This album features spoken material by Jack Brown, a 30 year drug addict who spent 17 years in prison (including 3 years in solitary confinement and 4 years on death row.
Jack Brown did 17 years in six different prisons including Leavenworth, San Quenton, and Alcatraz.  After being pardoned by California Governor Pat Brown, he devoted his life to speaking about his time in prison and his addictions. He spoke mainly at schools, clubs and churches.  On this recording, he talks loudly to a group of school children about his days of being incarcerated. Some of the wholesome family stories that he recalls are:
  • Throwing six gallons of coffee on a fellow inmate who was harassing him.
  • Getting set on fire by the Birdman of Alcatraz.
  • The “real” Bonnie and Clyde.
  • Getting into a knife fight with a guy he cheated out of $1,700 in a poker game.
  • Watching 38 men walk past his cell in the solitary block on their way to the electric chair.

This was an utterly fascinating record to listen to.  The kids laugh at inappropriate times which adds an uncomfortable element but the stories that Mr. Brown tells give you a pretty good idea of how difficult life was in some pretty notorious prisons.  I doubt that I’d have lasted until lunch of the first day.  He’s pretty brash and brutally honest about his past.  Personally I could do without the “finding God” sermon at the end but I suppose that’s the whole point of the album. This isn’t exactly the pick-me-up you need to listen to on the way to work in the morning unless you enjoy graphic stories of getting 232 stitches without pain-killers and then getting sprayed down with a fire hose in sub-zero temperatures. Where was the ACLU?  This guy makes the Shawshank Redemption look like Weekend at Bernie’s.  And imagine holidays at the Brown house.  ”Grandpa, tell us again about the time you shived the guy for stealing your pudding”. Didn’t Norman Rockwell paint that one?  Excerpt Source: Vinyl From Hell

*Cover on far right is from an unrelated artist/release "Wendy Darling - Half-Told Bedtime Stories"

QCR Records 90854

Scared Straight Hoo-Hah

1 comments on "Jack Brown - Tells It Like It Is 1970"

jlc76 said...

I'd love to know how this guy's story ended. I'm wondering if he fell off the wagon in a very hard and public way at some point.

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