Jim Ed Brown was one third of the vocal trio The Browns with sisters Bonnie and Maxine, a popular act whose ’59 hit recording of “The Three Bells,” topped both country and pop charts. A Grand Ole Opry member, Brown launched a highly successful solo career in ’65, enjoying hit singles alone and with his 1970s duet partner Helen Cornelius.
his hitmaking days ended in ’81. The low-key arrangements include guitar from Michael Baker, Glen Duncan (doubling mandolin and fiddle), and Chris Scruggs, doubling steel guitar.
In Style Again is his first new album since At 80, Brown’s voice shows its age, yet his articulation and phrasing remain. He ably handles the title ballad. Vince Gill joins him for the honky-tonk shuffle “Tried And True.”
Two tracks are reunions: Bonnie Brown joins him on “When The Sun Says Hello To The Mountain.” He and Cornelius then tackle the ballad “Don’t Let Me Cross Over,” a 1962 hit for Carl and Pearl Butler. With the Whites, he revisits the 1987 Forester Sisters’ hit “You Again.”
Among the solo tracks are the philosophical “Lucky Enough.” Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer in October, making this all the more compelling – and moving – statement.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’15 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.