I’ve been sad and melancholy all day since hearing from his beautiful daughter, Valerie Brown, that my dear, dear friend, and larger-than-life hero Big Bad Bob Brown, Sonarman First Class, USS Pigeon, ASR-21, had since left us before I could find him and tell him how much he meant to me.
I’ve also been happy all day that I heard from Big Bad Bob Brown’s beautiful daughter, Valerie Brown, finally, with news of my dear friend, her dad! It made me remember a funny story about her dad which I will try to relate here.
I was/am a huge rock and roll crazy. Big Bad Bob Brown was a jazz afficionado. We still liked each others’ music, but each had our own leanings. I used to sit in my barracks room or in the sonar shack on the Pigeon blasting my favorite rock tunes. One of my all-time favorite songs is “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” by the Rolling Stones. The 8-minute tune features incredible guitar jams by Keith Richards and masterful guitar riffing by Mick Taylor. But right in the middle of the song, the two guitar gods step aside as saxophonist Bobby Keys steps to the mic and blows a mean 90-second long solo and the band melts away.
One day, I was playing this song in my barracks room and Big Bad Bob Brown comes bopping by. He passes the door, then pauses, and rewinds. He sticks his head into the room and says, “Hey, who the hell is that? That is SWEET!”
He was hearing the Bobby Keys sax solo.
He made me play it again, and again, and again! Just the sax solo. He liked the other guitar stuff OK, but the sax solo set him off big-time! He would stand there and groove to each loop of the solo…man, he loved that stuff!
So, Big Bob, in your honor, sir, here is the Bobby Keys sax solo from “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’?” at 3:00 of this clip. You can loop this endlessly for your groove satisfaction. Get the angels and Gabriel rockin’ up in heaven, too!
My love, gratitude and aloha to you, Sir Big Bad Bob Brown. It’s just not as cool without you around.