Recently I had an interview with Ward Brown also known as Brown's Bag. A few months ago I reviewed his second album 'Soul Satisfied' on SoulAndFunkMusic.com.
At this moment he's very busy recording his third album but fortunate he found some time to do the interview.
The Interview with Brown's Bag
In the eighties you were signed to Black Hole Records as a songwriter, for which artists did you wrote songs for?
The artist that I wrote for during the Black Hole Records era never got full release. Typically they were unknown artist attempting to break into the music industry using Black Hole Records as that vehicle.
What a shame because as I remember some of the artist were very talented. However, looking back I think that Black Hole Records found the same challenges as any other small independent label during the 80’s and those challenges led to their demise.
I do have much respect for them as when most of the independent companies in Chicago were closing the doors Black Hole did have the courage to stick around and attempt to break young black artist in the soul music genre. So, big props to them for that.
Not yet…..but with friends like you and the aggressiveness of my Record Company “SoulChoonz” I feel that I’m on task for that.
You also play drums in that period, for which artists/groups (in studio or Live)?
I played drums for most of the local acts around Chicago’s live music scene as well as Pop Staples and various other acts in studio situations. My musical ambition was to play drums for every act that came through Chicago that needed a drummer but somehow I always found myself in the studio engineering/mixing projects…funny…
You worked with Al Hudson and One Way in the ninetees, for which album, song?
Al Hudson and I did a track for Latanya called “Baby Be True To Me”. Here one of those situations where I wrote (along with another friend) the music, produced the music, engineered and recorded the sessions, etc., etc. I had a great time with Al. The track is found on Latanya’s “Latanya” CD. Al Hudson is definitely one of my soul music hero’s and a true friend.
Only Muddy Waters…saying “if you do it make sure you get paid for it”….hahahahahahahahaha. Very funny…..And, my friend Al Hudson saying “just keep doing what you are doing”.
(70’s) Ohio Players - I want to be free…. (Couldn’t sleep until I learned that drum solo)
(80’s) Barry White – Never Gonna Give you up…. (Saw him open his show with that track and I’ve been hooked every since)
(90’s) Morning After – Frankie Beverly and Maze…. (The title says everything)
You have no idea how tough that was…..hahahahaha
You are influenced by great artists such as Gladys Knight, the Philly sound artists Teddy Pendergrass, Gamble & Huff, McFadden & WHitehead, and Maze. You can hear that on Soul Satisfied. Do you still listen to these artists on daily basis (in your car/home)?
I’m very much influenced by Philly Soul…there is a distinct difference in the East Coast sound as opposed to other soul sounds across the world and I hear and love it.
Rather its groups like Frankie Beverly and Maze or full arrangements of Gamble & Huff the Philly sound is distinct from the moment you hear the first notes. I think all the people responsible for establishing the true Sound Of Philly did it masterfully. I’m a true fan and I listen and learn something new everyday.
Do you write first the Lyrics or Music and why?
I’m inspired to write using both techniques…sometimes a melody will just stick in my mind with no music at all, however the melody will be so strong that I’ll already know were to go with the music. Other times, I’ll sit with my guitar and find chord arrangements that I’ll want to write lyrics to and occasionally, my great friend (Lee Hurst) will have a musical idea that I’ll take and write to.
Currently, I’ve been most inspired to write lyrics and produce the music after…and I’m doing a lot of that for the next album. I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.
Which instruments are you using?
I think a track should sound good with a basic rhythm section..(Bass, Drums, Keyboards and Guitar) after that, Strings and light horns (where needed) on some tracks and that’s it. I try to use caution and not over-produce a track.
Are you a perfectionist (hmm that hi hat should have more reverb)?
Hahahahahahaha – Not hardly… I will say that with the next release, I plan to step up the song writing, production, musicianship…etc., etc.. I think every project should be better or at the very least as good as your last one. I’m taking everything I’ve learned with the previous releases, along with the discussion I’ve had with my record company, coupled with the reviews of “Labor” and “Soul Satisfied” to assure that the next release will live up to expectation.
“Soul Satisfied” took approximately a year to complete.
How do you like all those positive reactions and good reviews?
I’m such a people pleaser that I’m most happy to know that people that have heard and reviewed “Soul Satisfied” love it.
I’m very happy and I assure you that the next release will be just as special if not more. Trust me when I say, you’ve only seen the beginning of Ward Brown and Brown’s Bag and I certainly have something special for you in the near future. Keep your eye on “SoulChoonz” and me.
Thank you for that
Ward Brown, Brown's Bag
Thanks to SoulChoonz Records