Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tribute To Jim Ed

It's taken me a week to get around to it, but I want to dedicate this post to honoring the memory of one of my favorite country music singers: Jim Ed Brown. 

The 2015 Country music Hall of Fame inductee, was a part of my life even before I was born. Now that may seem impossible but its true in that my parents enjoyed his music while I was still just a gleam in my daddy's eye.   

In early September 1959, a month before my parents got married, Jim Ed Brown, as part of a harmonizing trio with his sisters, Maxine and Bonnie, had the #1 hits song on the pop charts. Here's a link to a You Tube video of that song. The Three Bells By The Browns

Because he was a big fan of 1950s pop music and it reminded him of his days as a newlywed, my dad played that song on his tape recorder a lot while I was growing up.  I heard it so often that I knew the words before I even started going to school. 

In 1967, I was 6 and my dad had switched from being a pop music fan to liking country music. Jim Ed Brown had started his solo career as a country singer two years earlier. 

That summer he released what would be his signature song. Again, here's a link to a video of that song. Pop A Top

In 1971 while listening to my parents 45 record collection on the record player in my room, I discovered a song by Jim Ed Brown I liked a lot. I shared it with my best friend, my cousin, Gary. We wore that record out. It is still one of our favorite country songs to this day. Here's a You Tube link. 
Angel Sunday

By the late 70s and into the 80s, Jim Ed Brown came into our house on Saturday nights by way of television. He hosted  "The Grand Ole Opry", "Nashville On The Road" and "You Can Be A Star" programs on The Nashville Network. They were part of the block of shows my parents watched faithfully every weekend; just after Hee Haw. 

Intermingled with his stint as a TNN cable channel host was recording success with his "Nashville On The Road" co-host, Helen Cornelius. Among their hits were: If The World Ran Out Of Love Tonight, You Don't Bring Me Flowers  (both covers of pop songs) and "Let's Take The Long Way Around The World." 

After Jim Ed Brown stopped hosting in the mid 80s, I didn't see or hear much from him except for listening to his catalog of hits whenever my dad played them. 

Once I started collecting music for myself Jim Ed Brown's greatest hits album was part of it. 

I didn't see him again until 2001 after I had moved to Kentucky. On a get-away weekend to Nashville in July of that year, Paula and I went to see the Grand Ole Opry show. 

Much to my surprise Jim Ed Brown was the host of one of the half hour segments. I was so thrilled to see him sing in person. I can still remember hism making jokes about the show's sponsor, a health drink called, "Jogging In A Jug."

The combination of being at the Opry and seeing Jim Ed Brown, both things my dad always dreamed of doing, made it a very emotional and memorable evening for me. 

Jim Ed Brown continued to be part of the Grand Ole Opry family. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2014. Last Thursday at the age of 81 Jim Ed Brown died from lung cancer. 

As I mentioned at the start of this post, earlier this year, Jim Ed, was recognized as a 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee. The induction ceremony will not be held until this October. 

However, I read on a Nashville news website that while Jim Ed was in the hospital a couple of HOF officials and HOF member, Bill Anderson went to see him. They presented him with his Hall Of Fame medal. What a great thing that was to do. It just goes to show you how loved and respected Mr. Brown was in the world of country music.  

Another example of that admiration and respect can be seen in this You Tube video. This was taped the night after Jim Ed Brown passed away. Check it out. 
Bluebird Cafe Tribute to Jim Ed Brown

I will always associated Jim Ed Brown with my dad. Earlier this year I learned to play my dad's favorite Jim Ed Brown song on the ukulele. It was a hit he recorded with his sisters back in the late 50s. 

As a final tribute to Jim Ed Brown and to honor and remember my dad during Father's Day week, here's a link to a You Tube video of me playing and singing "The Old Lamplighter".

Please keep in mind that I'm still very much a beginner ukulele player and not the best of singers. But it is a heartfelt effort. With that said here's the link to the video. 
The Old Lamplighter: RHFactors Edition 

Jim Ed Brown, thanks for all the great songs. You really have given me a lifetime of memories.   

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