As a boy in Kingston, Jamaica, Roger Lewis remembers watching bands like The Mighty Vikings and Byron Lee and The Dragonaires perform at the University of the West Indies. Lynford “Hux” Brown was guitarist for the Vikings.
“Not everyone (musicians) was friendly but Hux was different; he was always accommodating and willing to help young people,” said Lewis, longstanding rhythm guitarist for Inner Circle.
Brown died from an apparent heart attack on June 18 in Oakland, California where he lived for over 40 years. He was 75.
He had a storied career as a session musician that encompassed rocksteady and reggae. That career included stints at the rival Studio One and Treasure Isle, as well as with producers Derrick Harriot and Leslie Kong.
The diminutive Brown played on time-honoured songs like “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon, “The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff and celebrated flautist Herbie Mann’s “Reggae II” album.
Hux Brown was probably best known for his long association with Toots and The Maytals. His distinctive sound can be heard on songs like “Monkey Man”, “Pressure Drop” and “Funky Kingston” which remains part of the group’s live set.
Bass player Jackie Jackson knew Brown for over 50 years. They played on countless sessions together as members of The Supersonics Band at Treasure Isle and for Kong who produced The Maytals hits.
“Hux was the guitarist’s guitarist. The guitar was in his hand night and day… he was a serious musician,” he said.
Rad Bryan, another stalwart member of the Maytals band, agrees. He believes Brown’s working relationship with Trinidadian guitarist Lynn Taitt during the 1960s made him a rounded musician.
“Lynn had a whole heap of licks and being around him you would have learned a lot. Hux had the ability to find lines and create incredible stuff,” said Bryan.
Originally from Portland parish in eastern Jamaica, Brown moved to Kingston in his teens. In the late 1970s, he married Bobbie, an American woman, and settled in Oakland.
He left the Maytals almost 20 years ago and was known to play the odd gig around his hometown.
Interestingly, Brown never received a national award from Jamaica. Last November, he, Jackson, Bryan and Maytals drummer Paul Douglas were recognised by Kool FM radio station in Kingston for their contribution to reggae.
It was the last time Jackson and Bryan saw their friend.
“Hux was one of a kind, one of the kindest persons I ever met,” said Bryan. “He was more than a bredrin, he was like mi brother.”