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[Deathwatch] Danny Joe Brown, musician, 53



Posted on Sat, Mar. 12, 2005

DANNY JOE BROWN, 53

Molly Hatchet's former singer

BY OLIVIER STEPHENSON

Danny Joe Brown, former lead singer of the Jacksonville-based Molly
Hatchet band in the 1970s and '80s, died Thursday of renal failure at
home in Davie. He was 53.

A diabetic since he was 19, Brown had been hospitalized for the past
five weeks, according to his stepfather, Charlie Langley of Davie.

Bass player Riff West, who joined the band in 1981, said Brown was the
''epitome of the rock star,'' and endeared all who came into his
sphere.

Lead guitarists Dave Hlubek and Steve Holland formed the Molly Hatchet
band in 1971, according to the website www.nolifetilmetal.com.

The band was named after a legendary 17th Century axe murderess,
Hatchet Molly, who beheaded and mutilated her lovers, according to the
band's biography.

Brown joined in 1974. Other original members Duane Roland (lead
guitar), Banner Thomas (bass) and Bruce Crump (drums) joined in 1975.

The band's sound, he said, was immediately recognizable by Brown's
distinct voice -- a deep, raspy, throaty growl.

West, who knew Brown many years before they played together in the
band, said, ``Danny was the voice and soul of Molly Hatchet.''

The band followed in the tradition of what became known as ''Southern
Rock'' -- a mixture of blues, rock 'n' roll, country and gospel -- with
such groups as the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie
Daniels Band.

The group's first album, Molly Hatchet (1978) went quickly to platinum.
Its second album, Flirtin' with Disaster, was a bigger success, selling
more than two million copies.

The strain of constant touring finally took its toll on Brown. He left
the band in 1980, and was replaced by new lead singer Jimmy Farrar.

Farrar's voice, however, was less immediately identifiable, and the
band's commercial appeal began to slowly decline, according to the
website www.allmusic.com, a music reference source.

Brown formed the Danny Brown Band which produced the album, Danny Joe
Brown & the Danny Joe Brown Band in 1981. Herejoined the Molly Hatchet
band in 1982, but the group's ensuing album, No Guts . . . No Glory,
was a flop.

Molly Hatchet took a hiatus in 1985 and returned four years later with
its album Lightning Strikes Twice. The album did not do well, and the
group disbanded shortly afterward.

A touring group that still plays throughout the South was formed in the
mid '90s with none of the original members.

A major stroke ended Brown's career in 1998.

Born in Jacksonville on Aug. 24, 1951, Brown graduated from Terry
Parker High in 1969. Shortly after graduating, he enlisted in the U.S.
Coast Guard and was stationed in New York for two years.

Once he left the Coast Guard, Brown's focus turned solely to music,
according to his second wife, Crystal Brown of Orange Park, Fla.

Before moving to South Florida, Brown resided in St. Petersburg, Little
Rock and Orlando, his wife said.

In addition to his stepfather and wife, he is survived by sons Jake
Brown, Matthew Brown, both of Atlanta, Ga.; Danny Joe Brown Jr. of
Davie; stepson Aaron Morgan of Jacksonville; daughters Ashley Brown,
Rebeccah Brown, both of Orange Park, Fla.; brother Michael Brown of
Davie; sister Lyndia Mitcham of Little Rock; and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at Panciera Memorial Home,
4200 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood.

A funeral service will be held 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Cooper City Church
of God, 9191 Stirling Rd., Cooper City.