Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Browns

The BrownsBefore Jim Ed Brown had a solo career he was big brother in The Browns. He was also kid brother in The Browns, who were a sister-brother-sister group, who had 7 hits in the top 100 between 1959 and 1961, inclusive. They are not all here, though this LP covers their career from 1954 until 1965.

Family groups are an interesting subset of pop music groups. There was The Carter Family with its revolving cast of Carters; The Everly Brothers, The Osmonds, The Jackson Five, The Simon Sisters, TV family The Partridge Family, and faux families The Walker Brothers and The Righteous Brothers and The Thompson Twins. Songs like a blog post to me…

I remember that I looked around for this album, or one like it, for quite a while before I found this second-hand copy. It’s the original RCA The Best Of The Browns.

The Browns:

The Three Bells – The life cycle in three minutes or less. You’re born, you get married, you die. What else is there? A number 1 hit in the fall of 1959..
You Can’t Grow Peaches On A Cherry Tree – So many songs about how “we belong together;” not so many about how we don’t. This is a touching song of incompatibility. From 1965.
The Old Lamplighter – Some complain about the dark, and some bring light. From the spring of 1960.
I Heard The Bluebirds Sing – Birds so often get into the act in love songs – songbirds particularly. It was Conway Twitty that asked is a blue bird blue… From 1957.
Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair) – The girl wished for ribbons and got them, by magic. All the stores, after all, were closed and shuttered. I like Belafonte’s version. From the winter of 1959/1960.
Then I’ll Stop Loving You – Oh, how love will last forever. A bit of whimsy here, and you know how often love doesn’t last, But sweet love songs like this keep us believing. From 1964.
Send Me The Pillow You Dream On – A hit for Johnny Tillotson, and for Dean Martin. Not, notice, the pillow you sleep on, but it’s dreaming that’s the focus. From the winter of 1960/1961.
Here Today And Gone Tomorrow – They bring out the fiddle on this, and steel guitar, to sing of love’s inconsistency from day to day. From 1955.
Looking Back To See – We hear Mr. B tell us how cute she was, and how sweetly dressed, and “how she was stacked.” Honest. A song about playing emotional footsie. One of the Ms. Browns takes a rare lead vocal. From 1954.
Shenandoah – An old American folk song, and a song of longing. They’re not bad, but I like the way Harry Belafonte does this
I Take The Chance – A song of illicit love. The chance they are taking here isn’t just the obvious, but they confront the reality of how being unfaithful renders your loyalty suspect even to your new lover. Ineresting… From 1956.
They Call The Wind Maria – This is from Paint Your Wagon, and it’s Maria with a long I. This gets the full cowboy-on-the-prairie treatment…

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