The Browns - Looking Back To See: The First Four Albums 1957-1960

Published Sunday 5th April 2015
The Browns - Looking Back To See: The First Four Albums 1957-1960
The Browns - Looking Back To See: The First Four Albums 1957-1960

STYLE: Country
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 155636-22905
LABEL: Jasmine Records

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

This is, of course, not the Browns currently working in the Southern gospel arena but the hitmaking harmonisers of the '50s and '60s consisting of Jim Ed Brown and his sisters Maxine Brown (not the soul singer, of course) and Bonnie Brown. Back in the '50s they began appearing on the Louisiana Hayride programme and then had major country hits with the title track of this four-album compilation and "I Heard The Bluebirds Sing". But it was their unforgettable harmonized ballad "The Three Bells" which shot them to the big time. A French pop song "Les Trois Cloches" had once been a hit for Edith Piaf but producer Chet Atkins ensured that The Browns' poignant rendition of the story in song was the definitive version. The four albums featured here, 'Jim Edward, Maxine And Bonnie', 'Sweet Sounds By The Browns', 'Town And Country' and 'Sing Their Hits', don't feature any gospel songs The Browns recorded in their career though there are some quasi-religious numbers like "Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)" and "Old Village Choir". In truth there's nothing here which quite matches the wistful solemnity of "The Three Bells" and some of The Browns' more pop orientated recordings have dated quite badly, but this is still an intriguing retrospective of the crossover trio.

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