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... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Reverend Pearly Brown

I met Gary Harmon for lunch early last week. During our conversation he asked if I had any photos of the Rev. Pearly Brown, a blind street singer/preacher who was a fixture for years in downtown Macon. Then later in the week I met Jody and James Palmer at the Rookery for lunch. I was so happy to see the hustle and bustle at lunchtime in Macon's wonderful downtown. That brought back memories from my younger days, when everyone went shopping in downtown, no malls. Not a bad thing.

You always saw a man who was missing his legs from well above the knees. He pushed himself around on a small wheeled platform that resembled a mechanic's creeper. He had a sign and a tin cup for donations. The other regular was Pearly Brown. You would hear his rich voice and guitar well before you saw him.

Pearly was born in Abbeville in 1915, and raised in Americus. Supposedly be learned to play the guitar at age 7.  He sang a bluesie style of gospel music, and an awesome guitar. Rumor has it that he tutored Duane Allman and Dicky Betts on the slide guitar. He did do several albums, one was "Georgia Street Singer" and another was "It's a Mean Old World To Try To Live In."  You can check out his talent on You Tube.

Pearly was still on the streets when I began shooting for the Telegraph. He retired from the streets in 1979 due to poor health and died in 1986.

Play on,  Rev. Pearly, play on.

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