Maxine Brown News – Summer 2013
Feeling Good, Listening to the Browns
By John Dersham
Have you wondered why most people tend to have a special, enduring bond with the music they first liked early in their lives? I think it is because when you are growing up, and especially when you become a teenager, the sights and sounds around you have a lasting impression on your senses. You are sensitive to your surroundings physically and emotionally, and opinions are forming within you for the first time. You begin enjoying your first freedom to travel and to make decisions. It is now you fall in love for the first time. Everything you do is new and exciting, and it clings to you and evolves and grows into who you are. You are in full-speed development during these formable years, and the impact lingers all of your life.
Music plays perfectly into these early stages of life. You connect with the sounds and the lyrics that told your story at the time or maybe it was the music you heard on the radio when you first fell in love or it was the music at your first concert. It may have been the song you where listening to on that first convertible ride in the fresh country air with your parents, friends or with your first love. It is such a strong feeling that you relate the experience and the song together. The experience and the song will be synonymous with each other as long as you live. Somehow the early experiences seem to have the most impact, and those memories tend to last longer than things that happen later in life.
The Browns — Maxine, Bonnie and Jim Ed — had that effect on me and on many others I have spoken to about this fabulous hit-making trio of the ’50s and ’60s. They had (and still have) the sweetest, purest, nicest, tight-sounding harmony that you may have ever heard. The Browns not only had this incredible sound, they also had Chet Atkins as their producer and RCA Studio B to record in. The Browns along with Chet’s guidance picked great songs that fit their sound perfectly. The Browns’ songs were nice songs with nice lyrics that told nice stories about love, nature and religion. Their songs and their sound made you feel good just like that first wind in your face on your first convertible ride or that feeling of being with your first love. Their music encompassed folk, country, pop and gospel songs. The Browns’ sound is purely magical, so much so that in August of 1959 their recording of “The Three Bells” topped the Pop, Country and R&B charts at the same time. This song came early in the era of the Nashville Sound and became a game changer in the history of music. For the first time country artists were having worldwide appeal, including fans who usually liked other musical genres. The Browns were instrumental in bringing country music into the mainframe of world culture, and their crossover hits began an ongoing trend where good music appeals to fans of all musical genres. The Browns had this impact on millions of people who bought their singles they heard on the radio, and then they bought the albums that were full of songs equal to the hits. They didn’t record songs that were not a good fit. Their consistency was phenomenal on record and when heard live. WSM AM 650 radio currently plays historic recordings of Grand Old Opry performances of the past. The Browns are often on these replays and one thing is consistent — they always got a standing ovation and that has remained true today as in recent years when the Browns have done reunion appearances on the Opry or on TV. T
hey are still loved, still get a standing ovation and are still viewed as legendary icons of the Nashville Sound.
So for now, I suggest you listen to “The Three Bells,” ‘The Old Lamplighter” or “Scarlet Ribbons” and while you are at it, grab one of the Browns’ CDs and listen to “Meadow Green,” “Springtime” or “Forty Shades of Green” and let your mind visualize those great-sounding, feel-good lyrics and melodies that are bound to make your day a better one.
Also enjoy an article on the history of the Browns, by John Dersham.
Summer is here and it’s time for those delicious vegetables. No one made them like my mother. Enjoy, and let me know if you try one of them. (Maxine)
(WITH) CORNMEAL DUMPLINGS:
Select about 5 lbs. greens. Wash through 4 waters. Pick out large stems & dead leaves. Have about l/2 gallon water boiling with a hunk of salt port. Put the greens in hot water. (If the leaves are large, It’s best to cut up). If you do not have salt pork, you can use l/4 cup bacon drippings & 2 teaspoons salt. Cook greens about 2 hours, or until tender. (My family loves CORNMEAL DUMPLINGS with Turnip Greens. It has become one of the Brown family traditions).
1 Cup Cornmeal (yellow or white)
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
HOT BOILING WATER
Add enough boiling water to make dough stiff enough to handle. Make into patties. Leave finger prints on patties and lay around on top of cooked turnip greens. Let cook on one side for a little while then turn & cook on other side until done. (DO NOT STIR GREENS). Put lid on & turn heat off. When ready to serve, lift dumplings out; take up the greens in a separate dish; then surround the greens with dumplings. (this makes a pretty dish and so delicious).
5 Medium size Turnips, peeled, cooked & drained
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine, melted
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Cup grated Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 Cups Bread Crumbs, or Croutons
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Add sugar, butter, milk & cheese to drained & mashed Turnips. Stir until thick & cheese has melted. Put into a greased casserole. Sprinkle bread crumbs or croutons on top. Dot with butter or margarine. Bake until hot & bubbly. If desired, you may place some more bread crumbs on top after it has cooked.
FAMOUS GOLDEN SQUASH
6 to 8 YELLOW SQUASH
1 Small Onion, diced
1/4 Cup Bacon Drippings
1 Teaspoon Salt
l/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
l/2 Cup Water
Cut Squash cross-ways about l/4 inch thick. Heat drippings in skillet. Add squash, salt, onion, pepper and water. Cover and simmer until tender and the water has cooked out. Stir occasionally. It only takes about 12 to 15 minutes for squash to get tender. Uncover last few minutes so all the water will evaporate. If you prefer not to use bacon drippings, you may use approximately l/4 stick butter or margarine.
Cook 6 or 8 yellow squash the same way as Golden Squash, except if you do not use bacon drippings, then use l/2 stick butter or margarine. When squash is tender, drain and add the following:
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Cup grated mild Cheddar Cheese
l Cup Ritz Cracker Crumbs (approximately)
1 Small jar diced Pimentos
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Arrange in layers, in a buttered casserole dish. Top with Crumbs. Bake until hot and bubbly.
FRIED SQUASH ROUNDS:
There are many different way to enjoy squash. Fried is one of The Browns favorite. Cut yellow squash in l/4 inch rounds. Fix a bowl of cornmeal, salt & pepper. Place rounds in bowl and coat each slice. Fry on each side until golden brown. (My family never gets enough of this, so when you cook it, make sure you have plenty. Enjoy while they are still hot)
1 Large Eggplant, peeled, cut into cubes, & cooked
2 Cups Diced Tomatoes
1/4 Green Bell Pepper, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Eggs, beaten
2 Cups Cornbread Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Butter
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Cook until tender, drain. Add salt & pepper & mash with potato masher. Add tomatoes, onion & green pepper. Mix well. Add cornbread crumbs & eggs. Grease casserole dish with butter. Top eggplant mixture with cheddar cheese. Add just a little milk around the sides. Bake about 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
5 or 6 Medium size Potatoes.
1 Can Mushroom Soup
1 Small Onion, chopped
1 Small Can Evaporated Milk
Salt & Pepper to taste
Butter or Margarine
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Peel & slice Boiled Potatoes into a buttered baking dish. Dot with butter, season with salt & pepper. Sprinkle diced onion between layers of potatoes. Mix soup with milk, pour over. Cover with sharp cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees, until they are hot and bubbly.
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