Sunday, July 05, 2009

All the Chapel Bells Were Silent to Hear the Browns Sing

Category: Review

Some events transcend description. Some songs are that way as well. At midnight on July 4th the two met when the Browns reunited.

The Browns were the hosts of the Midnite Jamboree, the post-Opry show held at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop's Texas Troubadour Theater in Nashville. For an hour they held the audience spellbound with a set of timeless songs.

Jim Ed opened the show with one of his biggest solo hits, "Pop a Top." Two granddaughters joined him on the stage to perform "Lookin' Back to See," which wa the first hit in the Browns' career.

After the traditional Jimmie Rodgers song and commercial, Maxine and Bonnie joined their brother on the stage for eight absolutely superb songs.

Yes, they're older. Maxine walked with a cane, the result of suffering broken bones. "The best part about broken bones," she joked, "is I got a permanent screw." A totally unexpected and a slightly off-color joke drew a huge laugh from the audience -- and her siblings.

Age has not diminished those incredible harmonies, however. They began with "Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)" and followed with their version of the late Hank Locklin's hit "Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On" (their cover was a top 25 hit for them in 1960) and "I Heard the Bluebirds Sing."

Maxine, Bonnie, and Jim Ed chat
between commercials on the
Midnite Jamboree in Nashville

Following the second commercial (the second commercial is always for an Ernest Tubb album) the Browns performed two gospel numbers, "He Will Set Your Fields on Fire" and "Family Bible." The first was from their early career, while the latter was more recently recorded.

Jim Ed explained that at one point the Browns' career was, in essence, over because of his Army service and the end of their Fabor Records contract when Jim Reeves (who played guitar on an early Browns session and remained friends with the trio for the rest of his life) offered to intervene on the siblings' behalf for an RCA record deal. The first song they recorded for RCA was the Ira and Charlie Louvin composition "I Take the Chance." That great song was the next on their itinerary. "The Old Lamplighter," their first hit of the 1960s, followed.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop owner David McCormick presented the Browns with plaques to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the recording of "The Three Bells." Prior to the show cakes in the shape of three bells, each with a likeness of one of the siblings, were served to the audience. After the presentation, the Browns performed the song with the same masterful harmonies that made the song a timeless classic half a decade ago.

Performing the classic "The Three Bells"

At one point in the show Maxine explained that the threesome rarely had the opportunity to rehearse, which, according to them, caused one to be flat and one to be sharp. "I don't know where I was," Jim Ed added.

Where they were was at the helm of a magical evening that everyone present or listening on the radio was thankful to be part of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an amazing experience. I would have loved to have been there.