In 1968, "Papa" Joe Brown, along with son, Barry, and daughters, Lawanda and Tracey, Ron Sparling and Dave Dennison, formed the six-piece band, "Family Brown". The group’s first record release, "R.R. #2", on the MCA label, was a national hit. That early recording success eventually led to a deal with RCA which yielded 16 albums and over 40 Top Ten singles. Family Brown also had several releases in the U.S. which cracked Billboard’s Top 40.
In tandem with their recording career, Family Brown hosted their own successful television show for 13 seasons. The show was syndicated across the country and gave exposure to many Canadian country artists as well as established Nashville stars. The group also made numerous appearances on shows such as Tommy Hunter, Grand Ole Opry, Hee Haw, and the Nashville Network’s New Country and Nashville Now. Family Brown also hosted their own television shows for BBC-TV in England and Ireland.
In 1978, the group expanded with the addition of steel guitarist/fiddler Gary "Spike" Spicer. The group’s dynamic stage show kept them performing before packed houses across Canada and on extensive tours in the U.S. and England. In 1985, the band decided on a change of direction, and the four Browns continued on with a new back-up band and Ron Sparling retaining his position as Manager. The next year, the band recorded a new album in Texas with Willie Nelson guesting.
On May 30, 1986, "Papa" Joe Brown passed away suddenly, after a show in Chesley, Ontario. After much soul-searching, the three Brown siblings decided to continue on, with the addition of Tracey’s husband, Randall Prescott, son of Hall of Fame member, Irwin Prescott. The band recorded two more albums for RCA before they disbanded in 1990. Over their 22-year career, Family Brown garnered more than 50 awards from the Canadian Country Music Association and the Juno organization, culminating in their induction into the Canadian Country Music Association’s Hall of Fame and the Ottawa Valley Country Music Hall of Fame.