The rare, self-titled album from the first and only female Chair of the Black Panther Party has been reissued on vinyl by Motown/Universal Music Enterprises (UMe). Elaine Brown was originally released in 1973 on Motown’s Black Forum label, described by the company at the time as “a permanent record of the sound of struggle and the sound of the new era.”
The album’s nine songs were written by Brown, and produced by Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell, one-half of the Motown production team then known as The Corporation, who created the first hits for the Jackson 5. It was one of their first projects separate from the group.
Elaine Brown was arranged and conducted by Horace Tapscott, a pianist, composer and founder of the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. The album cover art was created by Emory Douglas, the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture. The album includes “Until We’re Free,” which was also the one and only single on Black Forum, issued in the spring of 1973. Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton wrote the album liner notes. Motown issued a total of eight Black Forum albums between 1970-73, including spoken-word titles by Dr. Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael.
Brown, who left the Panthers in 1977, became an advocate for prison reform. She is currently chief executive of the non-profit organization Oakland & the World Enterprises Inc., dedicated to launching and sustaining for-profit businesses for co-operative ownership by former prison inmates and others facing barriers to economic survival.
You can buy Elaine Brown on 150-gram vinyl here.