Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label was only our third release and, until now, it was only available on CD. True to it’s name, Bandit Records was a quasi-criminal enterprise run with an iron fist by Arrow Brown, a Chicago man who ran an entertainment empire from a ghetto commune he shared with a harem of lovers whose welfare checks funded his showbiz aspirations. He controlled the musicians, wrote and produced the songs, and named the groups after himself. The story runs the gamut, from child labor and polygamy to the kidnapping of CBS newsman Dan Rather.
Equally odd was Bandit’s roster: a collection of friends and family like his seven-year-old son Altyrone Deno Brown, or the Majestic Arrows featuring his daughter Tridia. Despite this less-than-conventional environment, Bandit managed a string of unique singles between 1969 and 1981 with lush, layered production that could be as gorgeous as it was over the top—even by that era’s grandiose standards.
Over the years, a clutch of new tracks and photos have surfaced, as well as previous unknown dimensions to the label’s story. With all this new material, we’d decided to finally unleash our ultimate version of the Bandit tale, a triple LP collection with an estimated 20,000-word booklet. Featuring the Majestic Arrows’ complete 1975 LP with replica hand-drawn cover as well as the collected works of the Arrows, Altyrone Deno Brown, Linda Balentine, Sandy Cleveland, the Wind, the Michigan Avenue Sound Orchestra, Johnny Davis, and the Chosen Few—even lo-fi practice tapes!—this release will be the definitive take on the Bandit saga. Look for it in 2012.
And while you’re waiting, check out this striking likeness of Arrow Brown done by Columbus, OH artist Rob Jones.
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