My Brother Jim Ed, and Brown Family Recipes
It isn’t easy writing about one of your siblings, especially when you lived together, laughed together, loving and singing together all your life. When one of us hurt, we would all hurt. We were always a close knit family. We knew what the other was thinking before words were ever spoken. Singing was our entire life.
J.E. stopped singing after the loss of our brother, Raymond. We all did. We stopped listening to the radio and the Grand Ole Opry. We all suffered in silence. It was something we couldn’t talk about. It was devastating to all of us and not a day goes by that I don’t think about that dreadful Day. But J.E. suffered a severe trauma, after watching his brother take his last breath.
One day Momma said she heard J.E. whistling a tune. He took solace in whistling. He could imitate every kind of bird there was, especially the Bob White. Mom gave him the nickname Jay-Bird. He was so good that daddy would often take him along when he went bird hunting. They always came home with a big mess of quail. (See Brown Quail Recipe Below)
J.E.’s voice went unheard for years. When daddy moved our family to Pine Bluff, he joined the high school choir and started singing a little. Daddy gave him a Sears Roebuck guitar so he started strumming some tunes we sang as kids, but never any that we all sang together with Raymond. (To this day, we never sing those and turn off the radio if one happens to be played).
We started listening to the Grand Ole Opry again. Carl Smith had a huge record called “Hey Joe”. J.E. learned all the words and was so good, I thought, my brother can beat Carl Smith all to pieces singing that song, so I entered him in a talent show in Little Rock, AR called “The Barnyard Frolic”. When he sang his rendition of “Hey Joe”, the girls went wild. I knew he had the makings of being a star. Of course, his good looks, big brown eyes and flirtatious personality didn’t hurt.
The Browns career had just taken off big time when WHAM!! J.E. got his greetings from Uncle Sam. He received his boot training in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The army band happened to hear him singing (probably in the shower) and invited him to join their group. He called me at The Trio Club and had me bring his guitar to the army barracks. He made such a big hit with the Armed Forces Entertainment Group that they let him take his guitar with him when he was transferred to Germany. J.E.’s stint in Germany was short lived, however. Daddy was having severe problems with his one and only leg. (He had already lost one during a logging accident and here he was about to lose the other). We contacted our Congressman, Wilbur D. Mills, and he wasted no time getting J.E. transferred close to home. He was re-stationed at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. Mr. Mills offered J.E. an honorable discharge, but he refused. He served the reminder of his term with the Army Entertainment Group, stationed in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He was granted permission from time to time to record record sessions in Nashville and TV shows for the Armed Services.
J.E. has had a very versatile career, and he has been successful in all endeavors. First and foremost, The Browns had several million selling records, including The Three Bells, and 346 singles for RCA Victor Records under the direction of producer Chet Atkins. J.E. was successful as a solo artist under the direction of Bob Ferguson with a huge hit “Pop A Top”. Later, Bob Ferguson produced a duet hit with J.E. and Helen Cornelius entitled “I Don’t Want To Have To Marry You”. He was host of his own TV shows, “You Can Be A Star” and “Nashville On The Road” with his beautiful and talented wife, Becky.
I will say this for my brother, he has perfect pitch. You will never her him go flat or sharp, or hit a bad note. He is the best the Opry has to offer, in my opinion. Maybe that’s because I’m a bit prejudiced. He sings his ass off. At his age, this is something to be proud of. You will never hear The Browns hit a bad note either. This has always been a no no. If we were recording and Bonnie or I went sharp or flat, Chet would stop the session, and if we were on stage and either one of us hit a sour note, we had to rehearse until J.E. made sure it never happened again. He has always been a perfectionist. He got this from our parents, “always be perfect” they would say. Not haphazard, but absolutely perfect!!
I am proud of the fact J.E. was able to hold it all together after the break up of The Browns. I know it wasn’t easy. To this day I miss the business more than anyone will ever know, and wished many times I was still up there on stage with my sister and brother singing our hearts out.
J.E. should probably retire, but we all know he never will. One thing for sure, if he ever loses his voice, he can always whistle.
We still have those family squabbles but they are forgotten the next day because by then, we can’t remember what we were arguing about in the first place. All three of us are aware we are no longer spring chickens. Most of all, we are all so very thankful for the love of a good family, named Brown, and those close knit family ties that has kept us strong and together all these years.
Keep on singing Jay-Bird.
Visit Jim Ed’s website.
(As many as you like). Soak in one teaspoon salted water and one teaspoon soda over night. Pat dry. Sprinkle each bird with salt and pepper. Roll in flour. Use a deep skillet with plenty of oil. Deep fry until nice and brown. Drain on paper towel.
Soak birds in salted water & soda overnight, same as Fried Quail. Roll each bird in four, salt and pepper. Brown slowly in a dutch oven, turning once. Top with 2 sliced onions. Pour one cup water over birds. Use a tight lid, place in oven for about one hour, at 325 degrees. Make gravy from drippings and serve with RICE.
(This is the way I prepare DUCK if I want to make good Cornbread Dressing. Duck makes the best dressing ever!!)
4 TO 6 Wild Ducks
Wash & make sure they are good and clean. Soak in cold water for at least 2 or 3 hours with a little salt. Pat dry. Rub Ducks with Salt & Pepper. Place in a large roasting pan. HALVE 2 APPLES, l SLICED ONION, 1/2 BUNCH CELERY, & l CARROT. Cover ducks and vegetables just barely with WATER. When Ducks are tender, lift out of pan & strain off broth. Reserve the broth for dressing. Discard all the vegetables. Place Duck back in casserole & brush with a little Butter. Leave cover off so Duck will brown and crust over a little. (The Brown family love the taste of Wild Duck. Or, you might like to use the Duck to make a DUCK CASSEROLE.
3 to 4 Wild Ducks, cooked according to the way I prepare Wild Duck, with apples, onion, celery & carrots).
1/2 Cup Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup Celery, chopped
1/2 Cup Butter or Margarine
1/4 Cup Flour
1 8 oz. can Sliced Mushrooms, with liquid
2 Cups Evaporated Milk
1 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Dash of Salt
1 Package Long Grain & Wild Rice
1 Package Slivered Almonds
Cook rice according to directions. De bone Ducks. In deep skillet, melt butter and saute onions & celery. Stir in flour. Add mushroom & its liquid. milk, parsley, salt & pepper.Add cooked rice and duck chunks. Place in a 2 quart casserole, sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
3 Cups Cooked Rice
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 Cup Butter or Margarine
1 Cup Celery, chopped fine
1 Sweet Bell Pepper, chopped fine
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon Sage
2 Cup Duck Broth (more if needed)
Cook Onion, Celery & Bell Pepper in one cup Butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients until well blended. Add hot Broth to make it good and moist. Its now ready to serve, or you may wish to put in a casserole and bake about 20 minutes or until its nice and brown on top. Note: This is good with Duck, Quail, or any other kind of birds. It can also be used as a stuffing for Rock Cornish Hens.
That’s all for now. Always a pleasure to hear from you
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