Robert Brown aka Smoky Babe is a shadowy figure from the early days of the '60s folk-blues revival. The scant details of his life read like a prototypical country bluesman's bio; born in Itta Bena, MS, in 1927, raised on a plantation, had a hard life of sharecropping, picked up the guitar along the way, spent several years hoboing throughout the South, moved to the big city and found life no better there. He apparently only worked sporadically as a semi-pro musician for a spell in New Orleans in the '50s, returning to his adopted home base of Scotlandville to work as a garage mechanic at the time of his discovery. His brief recording career was limited to a pair of album-length releases recorded as "in the field" location sessions in 1960 and 1961 for the Folk Lyric and Bluesville labels. His few recordings display a strong rhythmic sense in his guitar playing with a strong thumping bass line with the occasional foray into slide guitar. His vocals were nothing less than rich, strong and authoritative. After a few years of playing at picnics and local parties for friends around Baton Rouge in the early '60s, he seemingly disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. His death in 1975 still remains unconfirmed at the time of this writing.
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