Music: Prison Records

Like an old fighter, Sonny Brown struts across the green grass at Tehachapi, grinning in the morning sun behind bopster shades. A blue knit cap rides his head like a fez. Sonny always wears the cap; it sets him apart from the retinue of convicts who surround him.

Sonny (William) Brown is a jailbird, too, but he is not bound for chow. He is going to the gym to cut an album. Though Sonny has been in prison for all but 42 months of the past 20 years, he is, at age 42, at the...

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