HEY LOCO FANS – Happy Birthday to Willie Lee Brown! He performed and recorded with other notable blues musicians, including Son House and Charlie Patton, and was an influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Brown is considered one of the pioneering musicians of the Delta blues genre.
Brown was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1900. He learned to play the guitar as a teenager. He played with such notables as Charley Patton, Son House and Robert Johnson. He was not a self-promoting front man, preferring to “second” other musicians. Little is known for certain about the man whom Johnson called “my friend Willie Brown” (in his “Cross Road Blues”) and whom Johnson once indicated should be notified in event of his death.
Brown played with Patton on “M & O Blues” and “Future Blues”, recorded for Paramount Records in 1930. Both songs appear on the album Son House & the Great Delta Blues Singers 1928–1930 and are also included in the JSP box set of Patton’s recordings. At least four other songs Brown recorded for Paramount have never been found.
There has been speculation and some dispute about whether Brown played backup on “Rowdy Blues”, and “Mississippi Bottom Blues”, 1929 songs credited to Kid Bailey, or recorded it himself using the name of Kid Bailey. Brown died of heart disease in Tunica, Mississippi, in 1952, at the age of 52.