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The Browns: 1959

The Browns: 1959

Springfield, Missouri, circa 1959. "Sibling vocal trio The Browns -- Maxine, Bonnie, and Jim Ed -- with Bill Wimberly's Country Rhythm Boys on Jubilee USA, broadcast nationally on ABC-TV." In 1959 their single "The Three Bells" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop and country charts. Photo by Elmer Williams / Annenberg Space for Photography. View full size.

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Still singing into the 21st Century

The guitar

is a Martin D- with an enormous custom pick guard. Pick guards like this and the leather ones like Elvis used on his D-28 ruined the guitar's sound because they didn't allow the spruce top to vibrate as it should. Martin D-28's are a staple of the country music sound and folk music.

Three Bells for Three Blocks

I used to live in downtown Springfield about three blocks from the former site of the late, lamented Jewell Theater. It's hard to believe such small city (especially then) like Springfield once hosted one of the first live, coast-to-coast weekly music programs. Grand Ol' Opry HOF'er Red Foley emceed and sang on most of them and I can still recall longtime locals speaking reverently of him and the production team that cranked out the shows in the late '50s and early '60s.


Jim Ed is wearing an 8th Infantry Division patch on his shoulder. That division was HQ'd in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, although I'm most familiar with the division's major installation at Baumholder. I can only imagine the hissy fit his platoon sergeant would have thrown if he had shown up for inspection in those loafers rather than regulation low-quarter shoes.

In the details

The slenderer lady on the left is wearing hosiery with a reinforced toe, while her plumper sister is barelegged and needs a pedicure.

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