Wednesday, 12 September 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies - Garbage Man Blues

Remember hearing this on BBC 6Music a while back, but can;t remember whose show it was featured on. Either Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service or The Freak Zone with Stuart Maconie. This track - 'Garbage Man Blues' by Milton Brown - is notable because the first verse is sung in a completely different key... 

Fred 'Papa' Calhoun, piano player for Brown remembers: "I hit ninth chords, see, and I guess it threw Milton off a little. It was supposed to be in F and he got it in G. so when he finally came in, he sang the whole first chorus in the wrong key! Oberstein had told us to keep going, no matter what happened, so we did. We all thought that they were going to turn it down and redo it but they never did." 


Roy Lee Brown, Milton's brother recalled: "Milton got real upset by that. He came home saying that he tried to get them to record 'Garbage Man Blues' over but they wouldn't let him." Milton Brown (September 7, 1903–April 18, 1936) was an American band leader and vocalist who co-founded the genre of Western swing. His band was the first to fuse hillbilly hokum, jazz, and pop together into a unique, distinctly American hybrid, thus giving him the nickname, "Father of Western Swing". The birthplace of Brown's upbeat "hot-jazz hillbilly" string band sound was developed at the Crystal Springs Dance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas from 1931 to 1936. Brown's music inspired the great string jazz musicians from Europe, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli who in 1935 formed the Hot Club de Paris quintet.

Along with Bob Wills—whom he performed with at the beginning of this career—Brown developed the sound and style of Western swing in the early 1930s; and for a while he and his band, the Musical Brownies, were more popular than Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Brown's career was cut short in 1936 when he died in a car accident, just as he was poised to break into national stardom.


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