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
For the past several weeks I have been working diligently on the story of “The Three Bells”. I am now able to share this compelling story with my many fans and friends who still ask the question, “Who Is Jimmy Brown”? I hope you will enjoy this amazing true story. Click here to read.
The old saying, “No News Is Good News”, or “Good News is No News” may ring true this month for my newsletter. I did have the distinct pleasure of having my daughter, Alicia, drive me to Marshfield, Missouri on 4-26 to accept the distinguished Ella Dicky Literary Award for my book, “Looking Back To See”. This is a legacy I am proud to leave for my children and grandchildren.
Click here for photo of Maxine receiving Ella Dickey Literacy Award 2012
I have some “Summer Vegetable Casserole Recipes” which you will enjoy, all from Momma Brown’s kitchen. Read more
Announcement: Maxine Brown is a 2012 Ella Dickey Literacy Award Honoree, for her book Looking Back to See. She plans on traveling to Missouri in April, with her daughter Alicia, to receive her award in person. Also, Looking Back to See is now available as a beautiful and highly professional iPad book, available through Apple’s iBooks app. Just search “Maxine Brown.”
Chet Atkins – The Country Gentleman
by Maxine Brown
It’s hard for me to write about someone I’ve admired and respected as much as I do Chet Atkins. Since he was a part of “the best years of my life’, I wanted to write a few words about the man who changed the lives of The Browns forever.
TOM T. HALL is known in the music industry as “The Great Story Teller”. In my mind, no one has ever come close to taking that title away from him. He has a perfect way of saying precisely what he feels, not only as an author, a song writer, a stage performer, but his ability to keep you spell bound while telling one of his stories.
Tom T. had his own recording studio which he called “The Toy Box”. One day out of the blue, he asked if Bonnie and I would mind recording an album with him. Would we mind…we were ecstatic!!! It was 1978 and we were dying to get back into a recording studio doing what we loved and missed the most, making records. He wrote all of the songs, two of them on the same day as the session. In keeping with his style, they were all great songs. Prior to the session, he had his wife, Miss Dixie, order yellow T-shirts for the production staff and everyone connected with the session. In big black letters, the shirts read: “THE BROWN’S IN TOWN AND TOM T’S GOT ‘EM”. I mean he was treating us like royalty. I don’t think I’ve ever been around a more thoughtful person in the business. Some years before, he and his brother had dinner at my home. Afterwards, he sent me a dozen yellow roses. Lord only knows how many pickers and singers I’ve fed over the years but only Tom T. ever sent me flowers. Read more
Spotlight on My Sister
By Maxine Brown
I think you’ll enjoy this recent article about Bonnie and Brownie Ring, featured in The Arkansas River Valley publication, by Connie Las Schneider. Read Here.
We had the same mother and father but we were as different as daylight and dark. The only thing we had in common was, we both loved singing harmony with our brother, J.E. and we both liked to party. I have always maintained, “If you have never partied with Bonnie Brown, you have missed half your life”. She has always been the life of any party, the belle of the ball. The word “bell” has been associated with Bonnie for most of her entire life.
We went through some rough times together living at home with our parents as well as traveling all over the world entertaining. Some were good, some bad, and some indifferent. But we have always remained a close knit family and a never ending love for each other.
‘BELLS STILL RING FOR LOCAL LEGEND–THEN AND NOW” is a great story about Bonnie and her husband, Brownie. Bonnie Brown Ring will always be my fun loving sister, and truly THE BELLE OF DARDANELLE.
Reminder: The Brown’s CD’s, and Sugarcane County, make ideal stocking stuffers for your Christmas shopping. Just send me a note after you order, using the “Contact Us” link on the website, and mention the name of the person receiving your gift. I will write them a personal note. Maxine
1) BROCCOLI AND CHEESE SOUP
1 Cup Onion, diced
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Carrott, slivered
3 1/2 Cups Water
4 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cups Potatoes, diced
1 Package chopped Broccoli, (microwave for about 7 minutes)
1 Pound Velvetta Cheese, diced
Bring water to boil. Add 4 bouillon cubes, celery, onion & carrots. Cook about 15 minutes or until tender. Mix in chicken soup and diced up cheese. Stir until smooth. Add Broccoli and heat until hot. Good served with crackers.
2) POTATO SOUP:
4 Irish Potatoes, average size, diced
1 Onion, medium size, diced
1 Pint Water
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Butter or Margarine
4 Heaping Tablespoons Flour
1 Quart Milk
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Cook Potatoes & Onion in one pint water until tender. Mash & set aside. Melt butter in large sauce pan. Stir in flour, stir until flour has dissolved. Add milk slowly, stir until smooth. Add the mashed potatoes, black pepper and salt if more is needed. Cook over very low heat until it comes to a boil, stirring frequently to keep from sticking. Serve with cornbread squares or muffins. This is better than any medicine. When any of my children started getting puny, I made them some POTATO SOUP.
3) TACO SOUP:
2 Pounds ground beef, or ground turkey (browned and drained)
1 Large Onion, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Can Pinto Beans with liquid
1 Can Red Kidney Beans with liquid
1 Can Whole Kernel Corn, or Hominy with liquid
1 Can Ro-Tel
1 Small can green chilles
1 Can Stewed Tomatoes
1 Package dry Taco Seasoning
1 Package Ranch Dressing Mix
2 Cups Water (more if needed)
Chili Powder & Crushed Garlic to taste
Crushed Tortilla chips and shredded Cheddar Cheese for topping.
Brown beef, onion & bell pepper in a large pan. When done, drain off all fat. Put back in pan or large pot, add rest of the ingredients. Add Chili power and garlic if desired and simmer for about 45 minutes. You may wish to add some salt to this recipe. Serve with Tortilla chips or Cornbread.
By John Dersham
As a kid in the fifties I grew up in New York City. I had no exposure to country music. In those days you did not hear country music on the radio in the Northeast.
My family enjoyed Perry Como. He had a very successful weekly TV show for many, many years. One day he was talking about this great new trio who was on RCA with him. He said The Browns (Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie) were bringing Country Music to the pop charts and letting the world hear some of the finest harmonies and sweetest sounds you will ever hear.
“I became a country music fan because of The Browns.”
In the fifties and sixties The Browns were a household name in country and pop music. They even made the R&B and Gospel charts. Ralph Emery named them one of the most popular and influential groups off all time in country music. They had hit after hit topping country and pop charts. They took country music to the next level from a southern regional music to international phenomenon. If it were not for The Browns and a few other artists of the “Nashville Sound” era, Country Music may have never found its worldwide appeal. The Browns were produced by Country Music industry legend Chet Atkins. They recorded at legendary RCA Studio B. The same studio of which Elvis Presley and Jim Reeves recorded.
The Browns were on the famous radio show The Louisiana Hay Ride in the middle 50’s they had a good friend that was on the show that hung out with The Browns, his name was Elvis Presley. Soon, The Browns scored a hit with “Looking Back to See” in 1954, not long after that Elvis seemed to do pretty well for himself too.
In the late 50’s The Browns were even contacted by a group of young men in London soon to be known as The Beatles. They asked The Browns to help them learn how to get that perfectly tight harmony. If you listen to The Beatles very early recordings you will hear that effort.
The Browns appeared on all the popular TV shows of the time; Ed Sullivan, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, Perry Como Show and many, many more. In a few cases they were the first country act to ever appear on those shows. They were nominated for Grammy’s multiple times in Country, Pop and Gospel music. They were Vocal Group of the year several times. Their achievement list is long to include here.
The Browns were among the first country acts to have cross over hits onto the pop charts. It worked as a double edge sword because some elements in country music thought them too polished or over sophisticated for country music. Their pop audience always looked at them as great country trio with impeccable sound and wonderful songs.
The Browns scored hits like The Three Bells, Scarlet Ribbons and The Old Lamplighter. These songs have been appearing on classic hit compilations in Country, Pop and Folk music for 50 years. The Browns, Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie took harmony to an all new level. As a brother sister act they grew up singing together. They pronounced their words the same and they perfected their melodic structures to melt their harmony together like three parts to one voice. Now, nearly 60 years after their first county hit they still appear together on occasion. They recently appeared on Legends of Country Music on PBS and Jim Ed has had solo hits and hits with Helen Cornelius. He has remained a long term member of the Grand Ole Opry and appears around the country as a Legend of Country Music. Jim Ed has been host to four weekly TV shows over the years and appears on all the Country’s Family Reunion shows. The Browns appeared on it too.
Simply put…The Browns changed the listening audience for country music. Country Music was mostly a regional music in the southeast but The Browns brought country music to the next level. They spread country music nationwide and worldwide.
Maxine Brown has written a fantastic book called “Looking Back to See” named after their first hit in 1954. Her book chronicles The Browns legacy in Country Music. Maxine’s story is one every country and pop music fan should read. Maxine has a great ability to remember her lifetime. Her ability to recall in detail the Browns more than 50 years in the industry is amazing and extremely interesting. You can visit Maxine’s website at www.themaxinebrown.com
1. New Movie About Hank Williams
2. Recent Article about Maxine Brown
3. Holiday Season Recipes and Drinks
New Movie for Classic Country Fans – Don’t Miss This!
by Maxine Brown
“THE LAST RIDE” will be coming to theaters in your area this month. This is a movie film about the country music legend, Hank Williams and his last three days on earth. View the Movie Trailer Here.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Hank, but I know his daughter, Jett. She has 4 songs in the movie. Along with her husband, Keith Adkinson, they are big supporters of the movie and have worked closely with producer Harry Thomason, and producer/music director, Benjy Gaither. One does not need to be a country music fan or even know who Hank Williams was to enjoy this movie. His legacy will live forever through his music and his songs. This film is about two people needing just one good friend. It is a film of hope, optimism, and ultimately redemption on one man’s last ride into eternity.
Inspired by the mysterious final three days and the drive through the Appalachian county side in the dead of winter, we see a lonely two-man odyssey. A boy just coming of age, being hired by someone he never before met, to drive the troubled singer and his powder blue Cadillac from Montgomery, Alabama to West Virginia for his next show date.
He never made it. Hank died in the back seat of his blue Cadillac on New Year’s day, 1953. He was a victim of his own torment. He knew he was going to die. I have a paragraph in my book, “Looking Back To See” which states a true fact about a country music singer. (They will drive a thousand miles, all for no pay, just to hear themselves sing). Hank Williams was determined to make that show date. He almost did and all he left behind was his guitar and a notebook full of unfinished songs.
I had the distinct honor of being a guest of Harry Thomason during the premier of “The Last Ride” held in Little Rock , for it’s 5th anniversary Film Festival. I highly recommend this film for the entire family.
Everyone associated with the making of this great movie should win an academy award. I have a feeling they will, especially Harry Thomason. Don’t miss it!!
ENJOY THE RIDE
Three Bells Still Ringing for Maxine Brown
By Judy Normand
This article appeared in the October, 2011 edition of SEALife Magazine, published by the Pine Bluff (Arkansas) Commercial
Maxine Brown’s favorite motto is simplicity itself and echoes the sentiments of the still-feisty, no-nonsense woman she is today: “In order to have a good life, we need someone to love and be loved, something to do, something to look forward to, and a good BM every day.”
Maxine, her sister, Bonnie, and her brother, Jim Ed, are firmly ensconced in the hearts and minds of millions across the globe as The Browns, the award-winning trio most identified with an iconic story-song about Little Jimmy Brown “The Three Bells.” This huge million-seller, along with “The Old Lamplighter” and “Scarlet Ribbons,” landed the group on the Ed Sullivan Show on May 8, 1960.
Before their ultimate success at hundreds of important venues, including Ed Sullivan, American Bandstand and the Grand Ole Opry, however, the Browns paid heavy dues to climb their ladder of success, often blocked by their own naiveté and the unscrupulous scoundrels who were hell-bent on exploiting talented newcomers; scoundrels who, quite literally, tried to steal their musical souls.
“I’m still trying to get back the rights to some of our music,” Maxine said. “It’s been 50 years … it’s about time.”
Commenting on some pitfalls concerning a solo career, Maxine said the master recordings of her songs were literally in the ground for 40 years — buried by Slim Williamson of Chart Records as a result of a dispute between Williamson and RCA. It’s a long story, she said, one of so many sad, frustrating episodes, but, this one had a happy ending. She duplicated the lost songs, which are now available on her CD, “Sugar Cane Country.”
Having made musical magic with her siblings for most of her 80 years, Maxine says today that she claims no particular title — maybe “old lady”, she says, laughing — but nevertheless has added author to her resume’. A best-selling complement to her significant contributions as a recording star, is “Looking Back to See”, an intensely personal country music memoir of her ride on an emotional rollercoaster that’s taken her from depths of despair to exhilarating highs and back again. The book’s title is also the name of The Browns’ first hit, written by Maxine and inspired by her younger sister, Norma.
“I wrote the book because I wanted to tell our story … for my own satisfaction, really,” she said. Copyrighted in 2005, “Looking Back to See” has been on the bestseller list at the University of Arkansas Press for years and has earned the No. 25 spot on the publisher’s all-time list of bestsellers.
Maxine now lives in North Little Rock, in the home where she raised her three children. During a recent telephone conversation, Maxine said, flatly, “I don’t do interviews. I just can’t do it. I hate it!” So, we simply chatted — about home, family, politics, individuals who’ve impacted her life (positively and negatively), her loyal fans and time spent living in Pine Bluff. Hesitantly, Maxine began “looking back to see” what she could find, reminding me that most anything I’d want to know was in her book, a labor of love, she said, that was 12 years in the making.
In the acknowledgement section of Maxine’s book, she wonders if she’s gotten her point across and whether or not it’s ever a good idea to share “the agony of remembering.” The need to tell, however, proved cathartic and she’s shared her story brilliantly “to the best of my knowledge, memory and ability.”
Remembering the overwhelming challenges of juggling a showbiz career and family life, Maxine said that, of course, this is something all entertainers face, but declares that this particular balancing act is impossible.
“If I could change anything about my life,” she said, “I’d never have gotten married. You just can’t do it and have a career, too.”
Maxine is quick to point out that, although her marriage, at 25, to Tommy Russell (a proposal both her mother and Elvis advised against), ended after seven years, the children born of that union are her pride and joy. Jimmy lives in North Little Rock, near his mother; Alicia is in Maumelle and Tommy Jr. Is in Arizona, but visits as often as possible. In fact, she said, he’s the one who created her website: www.themaxinebrown.com. Maxine also claims the title of grandmother, with six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Maxine’s life, as well as the lives of Bonnie and Jim Ed has been filled with great success and devastating loss … a rollercoaster, indeed, but their spirit and their music survives. It’s chronicled, in “Looking Back to See”, as well as on her website and Facebook page, with unflinching honesty tempered with Maxine’s straightforward American country wit and charm … the night in Germany when she and Jim Reeves (the person she most admires) stole Hitler’s beer steins; Elvis’ love of her mom’s cooking and his one-time, peculiar affinity for pink underwear; the success and destruction of the Trio Club in Pine Bluff and the house the Browns built behind the club (“That house was so beautiful,” she said. “It’s not beautiful anymore.”); the only person she ever asked for an autograph, Eddy Arnold; the night in 1964 on American Bandstand when the Beatles named The Browns as one of their favorite groups; topping the charts over Elvis in 1959; naming “Ground Hog” as a favorite Browns song, simply because Chet Atkins “picked” on it; and, appearing, touring or simply counting as friends nearly every star — most country, some not — in the heavens.
The Browns were described, by the Disc Jockey Convention (later the Country Music Association — CMA) as being a group with “mind, body and soul in perfect pitch.” It’s called “tempering harmony,” Maxine said. “It means harmony that can’t be matched by a musical instrument.”
It’s a fitting description for the music made by Maxine, Bonnie and Jim Ed — unmatched. Their loyal fans, scattered across the globe, agree. Emma Diane Robertson is a 30-year-old Browns fan from Scotland.
“It was actually Jim Ed I heard first in a radio station called Brand New Copy here in Scotland. I was 15 and a massive country music fan. I heard ‘The Three Bells’ and didn’t even know who sang it, but I found out it was The Browns … so, I looked it up online and found out it was Jim Ed and his sisters. Then, I thought I’d look up Maxine on Facebook, and there she was! We’ve been friends for a year, now and I love Maxine. She is a great friend; funny, loving, caring. I never thought I’d be so blessed to be friends with a star and also stars like The Browns,” Emma said.
Emma’s taken her country music passion to the next level by posting many of The Browns songs on Facebook and on a special page she’s created just for “The Browns.”
Another fan resides in California and has an impressive resume’, himself. Harry Thomason, of “Designing Women” fame, is currently at work on a project that will, hopefully, bring “Looking Back to See” to the big screen.
“Harry is a great man,” Maxine said. “I sure hope we can do this. I don’t know who I see playing The Browns, though. Haven’t thought that far ahead!”
Jim Ed, Maxine said, is now in Brentwood, Tenn., and is still entertaining. Bonnie lives in Dardanelle. Though not performing together these days, their shared life experiences have created an unbreakable bond and, despite debilitating health issues, including brain surgery in 2009, Maxine’s determination to live life on her own terms persists. Her “knowledge, memory and ability,” apparently, are solidly intact.
Maxine’s website — www.themaxinebrown.com — is filled with all things Brown … from updates on The Browns and their music and letters of praise from far and near, to her mother, Birdie Lee Brown’s famous cobbler recipes. She’s compiled all of her mom’s recipes and hopes to get them in book form, soon. “She’s left us such a great legacy,” Maxine said.
“When we were singing, the ‘top’ for me, I guess, was when we were selling millions of records, traveling all over the world and in demand,” Maxine said. It was a great time, she added, and memories of those days, for the most part, are good — a life lived “on spotlights, coffee; fans and cornbread.”
Holiday Season Recipes!
** ‘WITCHES BREW’
(A Brown’s favorite PUNCH) A must for Christmas or Halloween.
This is powerful, make sure you have a designated driver.
1 1/5 bottle of 190 proof Alcohol
2 Quarts Ginger-Ale
2 Quarts Sparkling Water
2 1/5 bottles Vermouth
2 1/5 bottles Burgundy
2 Large Cans Pineapple Juice
2 Large Cans frozen Orange Juice
1 Gallon Lime Sherbet
25 Lbs. DRY ICE
Combine all except Sherbet and DRY ICE. Let stand overnight in a Stone Crock or Glass container. Just before serving time, stir in the Sherbert. Pour into a Punch Bowl and start adding some of the DRY ICE. (DO NOT PUT DRY ICE IN BOTTOM OF PUNCH BOWL, AS IT WILL BREAK IT) The Punch will seem to be boiling over, but it isn’t. This is real pretty and delicious. We call it WITCHES BREW. Do not over indulge, and don’t drive.
** PARTY PUNCH (For the designated driver)
1 Large can Frozen Lemonade
1 Large can Frozen Orange Juice
3 Large bottles Strawberry Soda, (cold) use 28 or 32 oz. size
2 Large Cans Crushed Pineapple, with juice
1 10 oz. package Frozen Strawberries
Have all very cold before putting in Punch bowl. An ice ring made of Lemonade is very good and will keep punch cold without having to add any ice.
** CHAMPAGNE PUNCH
1 Quart Cran-apple Juice, or 1 Qt. each of Cranberry and Apple
1 Bottle Catawba Juice (White Grape)
1 Small bottle Lemon Juice
1 Quart 7-up
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Flavoring
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Bottles Champagne.
Chill until very cold. Mix and place in punch bowl. Add Cold Champagne last. Make an ice floater and place in bowl with punch.
** PUMPKIN BREAD
1 1/2 Cups Oil
2 Cups canned Pumpkin (1 large can)
3 Cups Flour (all-purpose)
3 Cups Sugar
1 3 oz. package Instant Coconut Pie Filling Mix
1 Teas. Salt
1 Teas. Baking Soda
1 Teas. Cinnamon
1 Cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 Small package Coconut
Combine Eggs, Oil, and Pumpkin, beat well. In a separate bowl, mix Flour, Sugar, Pie Mix, Salt, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Nuts, and Coconut. Add to Pumpkin mixture, mix well. Bake in two loaves (9x5x4) for approximately one hour at 350 degrees.
Enjoy the recipes with your loved ones, and don’t miss this wonderful movie, out in October and playing nationwide.
By Maxine Brown
Many of my Facebook and website friends have asked about my life today, and what I’m doing. Though its always rewarding to write about those early years, my fellow entertainers, and places of interest, I decided for this newsletter I would try and answer a few of their questions.
My lifestyle would not be exciting for most people, but I enjoy it. I still live in Arkansas and and have a wonderful family — three children, six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Writing Looking Back to See took over ten years. It’s very rewarding now to see the book touch people’s lives, and to see it sell well. It’s now the 3rd best seller of all time at the University of Arkansas Press. There’s some serious talk of a movie going on. And the website now keeps me pleasantly busy. I have my little shipping room where I wrap all the orders for books and CDs myself, and always add a personal note.
I enjoy doing interviews about the book. Mostly now they’re by telephone, since traveling and touring around at my present age just doesn’t work any more. I can’t seem to accomplish as much as I used to. I don’t know if I’m mellowing with age, or what? I just know that what I used to do all night, now takes me all night to do.
Many people want to know why I never re-married. The answer is quite simple. No one ever asked me! I don’t think they wanted a ready made family, and my kids always came first. I never met a man who was willing to shake hands first. I wish I could have patterned my life after one of my favorite mottos: “In order to have a good life, we need someone to love and be loved, something to do, something to look forward to, and have a good BM every day.”
If I had my life to live over, I would probably find a good soul mate, if for no other reason, to drive me around to various doctor appointments. (I have a back scratcher from Walmart). Also, I am constantly asked “when are we going to join brother Jim Ed and Bonnie on stage at the Opry or do any concert appearances?” I am afraid those days are over for me now, due to health problems. Sooner or later, age catches up with us. I’m at peace with that.
On July 3rd, 2009, The Three Browns re-united on stage of the Grand Ole Opry to celebrate 50 years of our signature song, “THE THREE BELLS”. All of our family was there, over 40 people! We have had a great career in spite of all we had to endure. The Browns are proud to be recognized as “Legends of Country Music”. It’s hard for me to understand, however, why we haven’t been accorded more recognition within the Country Music industry. The fact that we had so many songs, filled so many concert halls and still have so many million selling records listed in those “greatest hits” packages advertised in magazines and on TV prove that we made a huge impact.
I have been able to recognize that most of the not so good things that happen in life are beyond my control. I’ve learned to enjoy my life today, and count my many blessings, and let go of the past and that old tyrant called self-pity. I LOOK BACK now and then, if only to find the meaning of things, good or bad.
We had our share of triumphs but all we ever wanted or needed was a good song to sing and good people to sing it to. Our song started out with three poor as dirt kids dreaming wildflower dreams. The chorus took us all over the world, and the last verse brought us right back home to our strong beginnings.
* You will find some of these thoughts are from my book, LOOKING BACK TO SEE).
* Enjoy The Brown’s music, posted on my website.
* We’ll have more recipes for you next month.
Never Before Heard Song by Maxine Brown
The Story Behind A Mama’s Prayer
by Maxine Brown
Writing has always been my passion. I often wrote for my own satisfaction. After the break-up of The Browns, Bonnie and I opened our own recording studio. On many occasions, I would turn on the tape recorder and play the piano while singing and recording some of my original material. I would then store the tapes in a big antique trunk which is now full of out dated country songs.
Recently, my son Tommy, who manages my website, came home for a visit. I asked him to help me decide what I should do with all my memorabilia, which I had so carefully preserved. In doing so, he ran across the sheet music and this old tape of “A MAMA’S PRAYER”. Being touched by the words, he wanted to put it on my website.
I can remember my grandma Tuberville telling her stories of the hardships she went through trying to raise six children, the share cropping they did for first one and the other, the loss of her husband during the flood of 1928, no food and no money. Then, my mother, surviving the loss of a child. These were two of the strongest women I ever knew. If either of them ever suffered from self pity, they suffered in silence. It inspired me.
The Lord has answered that prayer. My three children are are all grown now. I have six grandchildren and one great grandson. My prayer now is to live long enough to see what they become. A MAMA’S PRAYER is a prayer all Mothers can relate to. This song was never finished but I hope you will enjoy listening as much as my son Tommy enjoyed hearing it for the first time.
Enjoy more free music at my store. Listen Now.
Writer Tara Muck interviews Maxine Brown for article ” Country music legends performed on ‘Ozark Jubilee’. Read now.
COBBLER DESERT RECIPES
(Mom fixed this on my recent Arkansas visit. It was so good I asked her to make a second batch. You’ll love this! – Tommy)
1 Quart Blackberries
1 Cup Sugar
2 Heaping Tablespoons Flour
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
Mix with enough WATER to cover. It takes a lot of juice to make a good Cobbler. Taste to make sure its sweet enough, if not add a little more sugar.
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Evaporated Milk (1 large can)
4 Heaping Tablespoons Baking Powder
2 Sticks Butter
Place 2 sticks Butter in heat proof, deep dish casserole (casserole must be at least 4 inches deep). Mix flour, sugar, milk & baking powder together. When butter has melted in casserole, pour the batter directly over hot butter. Then, pour the berry mixture directly in center of batter. Bake at 400 degrees. The dough will come up around sides and over top to form a complete crust. Bake until its nice and brown all over. Remember: You must use a deep dish.
THIS IS ALSO GOOD FOR PEACH AND PLUM COBBLERS.
FOR PEACH COBBLER, MAKE THE SAME WAY, ONLY USE
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon each of Cloves and Allspice
1 Cup Sugar, and 2 Tablespoons Flour
Make just as you would Blackberry Cobbler;
This is an old fashioned recipe handed down through many generations of my family. Its quick, easy and so delicious. Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream if desired.
Always fun being with you!
Maxine Brown has created a delightful new arrangement of original, classic songs by The Browns. This CD, entitled The Browns Are Blue, provides hours of country music listening pleasure. See the review by Edward Morris, senior writer for CMT.com. Listen now to 3 of the 31 songs! Click here to visit the store.
Desert Recipes from Moma Brown’s Cookbook
Pina Colada Cake:
1 Box French Vanilla Cake Mix
Cook in two layers, according to box directions
1 Can Eagle Brand Milk
1 Can Cream of Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Rum Extract, or use pure Rum
1 Large Can Crushed Pineapple, drained
1 Medium size can (or box) Coconut, divided
1 Large container, Cool Whip, divided
Punch holes in first layer with fork, or round wooden spoon handle. Mix Eagle Brand Milk, Coconut Milk & Rum.
Pour over and into holes. Top with Pineapple, Coconut and Cool Whip. Put on second layer & repeat. Completely surround cake with Pineapple mixed with some of the Cool Whip & Coconut. Sprinkle Coconut all over the top. Keep in refrigerator. (You will make this over and over, its very delicious).
Mississippi Mud Pie
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Sticks Butter, or Margarine, softened
1 Cup Pecans, chopped
Mix flour & margarine together with a pastry blender until it looks like meal. Fold in chopped pecans. Spread evenly in bottom of a 9X15 inch baking dish. Bake approximately 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until nice and brown. Cool completely.
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 8 oz. package Cream Cheese, softened
1 Large carton Cool Whip (use about one half , save rest
for the top.
Mix sugar and cream cheese. Add about one-half of large carton Cool Whip. Spread over first layer.
2 Small packages Chocolate Instant Pudding and Pie Mix
or, use one large package.
3 Cups Cold Milk
Beat until set. Spread over second layer. Chill. When set, top with remaining Cool Whip. Keep in refrigerator.
It has been a great pleasure to ship my CD’s to fans all over the world. I think you’ll really love this new one – The Browns Are Blue. Enjoy the Recipes! Visit Store.