Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Altyrone Deno Brown

Arrow Brown was quite the entrepreneur, a hustler whose house served as a harem for an uncountable number of women and created the long-gone Bandit Records out of Chicago, sometimes under rule of his pistol. The girls who were living in his house were taught to sing, and he seemed dead-set on making his son Altyrone Deno the next Michael Jackson. Altyrone Deno was only six years old when he cut “Sweet Pea,” his only song on The ABCs of Kid Soul, on the fantastic Numero Group label, who specialize in rescuing forgotten soul.

But for every Michael Jackson, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Altyrone Denos. Though the younger Brown would achieve some success as an actor and print model (he has a cameo in The Blues Brothers, and some sources claim he once won a Tony for an off-Broadway version of A Raisin in the Sun), he was last seen as a security guard in the 32nd largest building in the world, with a scrapbook of newspaper articles whose headlines once touted him as “Chicago's Answer to Michael Jackson.”

Passion can only fuel the American Dream so far, though, and for some reason, the elder Brown never seemed to tried to take his acts beyond the city lines, and boxes and boxes of records from the Bandit label were eventually thrown into an alley by a less-doted-on son of Arrow's. Indeed, “Sweet Pea” (12 plays and counting), does sound like a young MJ imitation, (not a bad thing), but the voice and production values are as raw as Altyrone's years.

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