Maxine Brown

The pioneering Country Music star with "The Browns" – Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie

Maxine Brown – Your Recipes and News for January 2011


1. The Family Bible CD by The Browns – Available now
2. Recipes
3. Bill Mack writes about The Browns

New Family Bible Gospel CD by The Browns

This CD has been a top seller at Jim Ed’s website for years. If you love gospel music, don’t miss this. Listen now to three songs from this CD. Available in my online store.


Well, I promised you help with loosing weight after Egg Nog and Fried Turkey for Christmas. Now some of you may wonder about these fried vegetable recipes. Well, I’m wondering too. Ain’t life grand! Do you think I could get hired as a weight loss and fitness coach? Or, should I stick to singing and writing?

Every year we all make resolutions but the one in particular that each of us make is: “I must go on a diet and lose weight”. The following recipes will not only add joy, but vim, vigor and vitality to your life.

I am sure you have all heard the slogan, “everything I like is either married, immoral, or fattening”.

The Brown Family had fried Irish Potatoes every day of our lives. At harvest time we would dig them up, sprinkle with a little lime, then keep stored underneath our house all winter. In the spring and summer, we would have fresh vegetables such as fried Okra, fried Squash, fried Horse Corn and always fried Potatoes. Now days, you can buy these at your local grocery, all except the Horse Corn. Top all this with some fried Cornbread and some good fried Chicken. You will swear your in Hog Heaven. For desert, try the fried chocolate pies topped with vanilla ice cream, while the pie is still hot.

Mom used to say “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. One of my fondest memories is when we would gather around our big round table at super time and discuss the events of the day while partaking of all these delicious fried foods.

Try these recipes whether you are concerned about your weight or not. If you can keep from going back for seconds, you probably won’t gain any extra weight. That one little word (IF) is the key word but with vittles like this, who can help it? So go ahead and enjoy, we only live once.

Just a little reminder: If you cook this way every day, not only will you be looking for your local gym, but you will be shopping for a new King Size Bed, maybe Two!!! As far as the rest of that slogan……Married, or Immoral, NO COMMENT!!! Maxine Brown


This all depends on how much Okra or Squash you are cooking. Cut into one-half inch rounds. Mix a bowl of yellow corn meal with a dash of salt and pepper and about one or two tablespoons flour. Coat each piece. Fry in Hot Oil until nice and brown, turning frequently.


Select WHITE CORN that is milky and will easily cut from cob. (We always refer to this as “Horse Corn). Cut off cob by barely shaving the first layer, then scrap down and then up the ear. This gets out all the milk. Pour into a hot skillet. Sprinkle with a little salt and sugar. Cover with water. If the water cooks out, add a little more. This will stick easily so keep a close watch and stir often. Blanch until its very hot and steamy, but not boiling. Just as corn starts to bubble, remove from heat. Let cool. (Note: Sweet Yellow Corn can be cut off the cob and cooked the same way.)


(An excellent way to use left over mashed potatoes)

2 Cups Left-Over Mashed Potatoes
1 Small can English Peas, drained
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/4 Cup Pancake Mix, or Flour

Mix all ingredients together. Drop by Tablespoons into Hot Oil, or Bacon Drippings. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towel. (Note: crumbled bacon may be added to mixture if desired.)


Select about 3 large sweet potatoes. Wash & slice about 1/8 inch thick. Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy skillet. Sprinkle salt over potatoes. Arrange in layers, sprinkle sugar between layers. Cook covered, turning ever so often to brown and steam a little. Do not let stick to pan. When they are tender, remove from heat but keep warm until time to serve.


Scald about three cups cornmeal with enough boiling water to make a stiff batter. Add two tablespoons shortening or corn oil, one teaspoon salt, and stir well. Take a big handful of mixture and mold it with your hands to an oval shape. Fry in hot oil until brown on all sides. (Note: You can bake this in oven if desired. Use a very hot greased pan and leave your fingerprints on pone. Bake until its a golden brown.)

*FRIED CHICKEN (Maxine’s way)

Use as many Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast Tenderloins as you wish. Use a large bowl, or I use two grocery sacks cut in half and dump plenty of flour, salt and pepper into sack or bowl, mix well. Then put the chicken tenderloins into flour mixture and coat each piece. Fry in very hot oil until done and brown on all sides, turning often. (The secret to all fried chicken is that deep Iron Skillet).


1 Large Fryer (cut into serving pieces)
1 Teaspoon each of Salt and Pepper
Juice of one Lemon
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
Oil for frying, about 2 cups Crisco or Corn Oil
Flour, about 2 cups

Heat Oil until very hot. Put flour in a bag with salt and pepper. Mix Lemon Juice with Buttermilk and marinate in a bowl before dumping in the sack of flour mixture. Coat each piece. Fry in hot oil until nice and brown and cooked through and through. Make gravy if desired. Drain off all oil except about 1/4 cup, add more flour, salt and pepper & stir until its almost burned, then add desired amount of water or milk, and stir constantly until its thick and of desired consistency.



Stew dried fruit of your choice in small amount of water until tender. Let all water cook out, but don’t let burn. Add sugar to taste good and sweet. Add one stick butter or margarine to one package of fruit. Mash with a potato masher. Let cool before making pies.
Note: It takes one 7 oz. package dried fruit to make 10 pies.


1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup all purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

C. Combine sugar, flour and cocoa in small saucepan. Stir in milk and butter. Cook and stir until bubbly. Cook one more minute on low heat, stir in vanilla. Cool.

D. PIE CRUST (Using Biscuits)
Using one can biscuits, roll each one very thin. Fill one half of biscuit with Stewed Fruit, or Chocolate Filling. Flip over the other one half and crimp the edges to keep the fruit or chocolate from oozing out. Prick the top with a fork to let steam escape. Fry in Hot Oil on each side. Drain on paper towel.
Note: I like to buy frozen pie crust when they are on sale and keep in freezer until ready to make FRIED PIES. Let thaw. Cut with a biscuit cutter or large round glass which has been floured. Crimp, prick and fry the same way. These are very good and quick.

Bill Mack Writes About The Browns

Bill is such a close friend and has done wonders for The Browns over the years. Here’s a column from Bill appearing in the popular Truckers Connection magazine this month.


Close harmony has always played an important role in country music. This applies to all forms of music, of course.

Some songs wouldn’t work as well without the perfect blending of voices. As just one example … it’s difficult for me to imagine “The Three Bells” without the precious harmony supplied by that outstanding trio, The Browns. In 1959, Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie Brown had a massive crossover hit with what they so soothingly managed to capture in “The Three Bells”, and it’s quite a story. The church bells ring three times throughout the life of Jimmy Brown. The three occasions reflected the day of his baptism, the day of his wedding, and the day of his funeral. When you break it down, you realize this unusual song is a combination of religion (baptism), extreme happiness (the wedding) and sadness (Jimmy Brown’s death).

Several people believe the song was written by Jim Ed Brown, since the musical character’s name was Jimmy Brown. The story in the song also reflects a small town, most likely located in a rural area. Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie were raised in a similar mode, adding to the thought that the song was not only performed by RCA’s group, The Browns, but one of them, possibly all three, had also composed “The Three Bells”.

Some of the biggest country hits occurred in 1959, all of them leaving the impression they were based on a touch of historical fact. “The Three Bells” certainly fell into this category, as did Marty Robbins’ gigantic success, “El Paso”, Stonewall Jackson’s smash recording, “Waterloo” and Johnny Horton’s huge winner, “The Battle of New Orleans”. Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans” was the first to crack the best-seller charts. The recording jumped to the number-one spot in Billboard magazine on April 27, 1959 and held on to the top spot for ten weeks. Then, on June 6, Stonewall Jackson hit that proud number one “mark”, remaining on the top perch for 5 weeks. August 3, 1959 introduced The Browns’ RCA release of “The Three Bells” as #1 in Billboard for an astonishing ten weeks. Marty Robbins came riding into “El Paso” on November 9, 1959 and occupied the top-of-the Billboard charts for 7 solid weeks.

As mentioned, some of the most unusual super hits made the musical scene in 1959, and there was one fact that stood out like a melodic gem: While Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans”, Stonewall Jackson’s “Waterloo” and Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” were up-tempo recordings, “The Three Bells”, by The Browns, was a slow, soothing arrangement that caught and kept the attention of millions for months. During this span of time, most radio stations forgot their assigned musical formats while “The Three Bells” was spinning at Number-One. It charted as “Country”, “Pop” and “R&B”. Quite an accomplishment, to say the least. It managed to break down barriers, allowing other recordings that would normally be restricted to the country music market to cross over to the “Pop” and “R&B” (Rhythm and Blues) fields. Marty Robbins recording of “El Paso” was also a big “cross-over” hit a few weeks after The Browns’ “The Three Bells” was being played on diversified radio formats all over the planet. Marty acknowledged the fact that “The Browns made it easier for some of us to be accepted on all radio stations … ‘pop’, ‘country’ and ‘rock’ … with their recording of ‘The Three Bells’. The entire Country Music Industry owes them a huge favor.”

Although “The Three Bells” was the hottest item to hit the music scene in years, some country music stations created the idiotic attitude that the song was “Too Pop!”. A few even went so far as to attempt to restrict the recording from their country play-lists … until their listeners began switching to outlets that were laying heavy on the hottest hit in the nation! It just happened to be one of those tunes that the listening audience demanded radio stations lay the needles to! This was back when records were released on 45 rpm disks, requiring stylus needles in the grooves.

The Browns continued to be a strong presence in the complex music scene until it was decided they would discontinue operating as a trio. While touring almost constantly, Bonnie was missing her husband and children, and Jim Ed and Maxine fully understood. The Browns are a very close-knit family.

Jim Ed launched a successful solo career with his 1967 hit, “Pop a Top”. When his solo career began to fade a bit, he became one-half of a duo with Helen Cornelius. Their 1976 debut collaboration, “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You” took Jim Ed to the top of the chart for the first time since “The Three Bells”. Brown and Cornelius received the CMA (Country Music Association) award for Vocal Duo in 1977.

I’ve always considered The Browns, Jim Ed Brown, and Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius as three different acts. There were many references stating that Helen Cornelius had replaced the sound of the female sector heard in The Browns after Maxine and Bonnie stepped out of the picture. I could never understand this theory. Although Helen is a tremendous singer, it would be impossible for her to reconstruct the original sound as presented by The Browns. The close harmony and perfect choice of material placed this trio in a completely different league. Perhaps they capture their incredible sound through their “genes”. No groups can harmonize like family members — such as The Mills Brothers, Andrews Sisters (remember them?), the Wilburn Brothers, Ames Brothers, etc. Basically, all siblings possess similar vocal pipes. It’s called “built-in harmony”.

Although The Browns no longer record as a group, all three of them are still amongst us. Jim Ed still records and tours as a single act out of Nashville. Maxine and Bonnie now live in their native state of Arkansas. As mentioned, Bonnie is happily married to a physician and is no longer a performer. Maxine is still very active. She wrote a tremendous book titled, “Looking Back to See” (University of Arkansas Press). She also arranged to have some of her great solo works from the past released in a new CD album titled Sugar Cane County, proving she could have easily continued as a single act had she decided to go in that direction. For more info on this beautiful lady, check her website:

I’m certain that The Browns will eventually be inducted into the Country Music Hall-of-Fame. As a matter of fact, they should have been placed in that circle of honor years ago. There will never be a better singing group, as is obvious in a new CD compilation titled “Three Shades of Brown”, consisting of 31 outstanding tracks by this perfectly constructed trio.

A suggestion: Since February is the month devoted to “true love” via Saint Valentine’s Day, place some music by The Browns in the home music unit. The blend of those beautiful voices will fit perfectly for the loving occasion!

Bill, thank you and Cindy for all your support. Remember, when Cindy tries my mother’s Trio recipes, let me know. Here’s a link to Bill and Cindy Mack’s wonderful country music website.


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» The Browns at the Country Music Hall of Fame Ceremony
» MAXINE BROWN - A DREAM COME TRUE! The Country Music Hall of Fame
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» November 2013 Recipes and News

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