This is the second installment of my Monday’s Music Moves Me Freebie Series, “A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs.” Today I’m featuring the color BROWN.
In case you missed the kickoff installment, you can catch up on how the Kaleidoscope of Color Songs started two weeks ago with this post.
So, how do you feel about the color brown? What do you associate with this color? I happened upon a very cool series on the meanings of colors at the Bourn Creative website. I’ve long been in love with color so when I found this series on the meanings of colors I thought it would be fun to include just a glimpse into today’s featured color before we jump into the music.
As presented in the Bourn Creative collection of color meanings, Brown is a natural, neutral and earthy color. Sometimes considered dull, it is closely associated with the fall and winter seasons, yet it also represents growth, steadfastness, simplicity, friendliness, dependability, and health. Brown is the color of the Earth and is comforting and nurturing. The brown color says stability, reliability, dependability, and approachability.
The color brown affects the mind and body by creating feelings of stability and peace. Brown provides feelings of organization, history and connection, as well as cozy feelings of relaxation and warmth. It is believed to help create a wholesome feeling, a connection with the earth, and a sense of orderliness and convention. Brown is a stable and grounded color that is believed to help you feel like you fit in and belong. This warm color is even said to stimulate the appetite. Who knew?!
I don’t know about you but I have a huge appetite for good music. Without further ado, here is my Brown Songs Playlist, followed of course by a few tidbits of information about each song.
First up in one of my favorite brown songs and indeed I am a…
Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison – “Brown Eyed Girl” is a song by Northern Irish singer and songwriter Van Morrison. Written by Morrison and recorded in March 1967 for Bang Records owner and producer Bert Berns, it was released as a single in June 1967 on the Bang label, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It featured The Sweet Inspirations singing back-up vocals and is considered to be Van Morrison’s signature song. “Brown Eyed Girl” has remained a staple on classic rock radio, and has been covered by hundreds of bands over the decades.
This was Morrison’s first release as a solo artist; he was previously with the group Them. The song appeared on his debut solo album Blowin’ Your Mind! and again on his 1973 compilation T.B. Sheets. It’s one of Morrison’s most enduring songs, but he thinks a lot less of it than most of the public. In 2009 he explained to Time magazine: “‘Brown Eyed Girl’ I didn’t perform for a long time because for me it was like a throwaway song. I’ve got about 300 other songs I think are better than that.”
This was a hit during the “Summer of Love,” when hippie culture bloomed in the US and the song provided a fitting soundtrack. Morrison, however, wanted nothing to do with this scene and was horrified when the album was released with a psychedelic-looking cover.
This was originally called “Brown Skinned Girl,” and was about an interracial relationship. Morrison changed it to “Brown Eyed Girl” to make it more palatable for radio stations. Some stations banned it anyway for the line, “Making love in the green grass.” (My how things have changed!)
Interestingly, another explanation about the title change comes from Morrison himself: Originally titled “Brown-Skinned Girl”, Morrison changed it to “Brown Eyed Girl” when he recorded it. Morrison remarked on the original title: “That was just a mistake. It was a kind of Jamaican song. Calypso. It just slipped my mind. I changed the title. After we’d recorded it, I looked at the tape box and didn’t even notice that I’d changed the title. I looked at the box where I’d lain it down with my guitar and it said ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ on the tape box. It’s just one of those things that happen.” So, which is it Van??
The song’s nostalgic lyrics about a former love were considered too suggestive at the time to be played on many radio stations. A radio-edit of the song was released which removed the lyrics “making love in the green grass”, replacing them with “laughin’ and a-runnin’, hey hey” from a previous verse. This edited version appears on some copies of the compilation album The Best of Van Morrison. However the remastered CD seems to have the bowdlerized lyrics in the packaging but the original “racy” lyrics on the disc. Lyrically, it “shows early hints of the idealized pastoral landscapes that would flow through his songs through the decades, a tendency that links him to the Romantic poets, whom Morrison has cited as an influence” according to music journalist Erik Hage.
The video is an early Van performing on American Bandstand. It is said that he hated to lip sync which may explain his apparent discomfort.
Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones – “Brown Sugar” is a song by the Rolling Stones. It is the opening track and lead single from their 1971 album Sticky Fingers.
Though credited, like most of their compositions, to the singer/guitarist pair of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the song was primarily the work of Jagger, who wrote it sometime during the filming of Ned Kelly in 1969. Originally recorded over a three-day period at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, December 2-4, 1969, the song was not released until over a year later due to legal wranglings with the band’s former label, though at the request of guitarist Mick Taylor, they debuted the number live during the infamous concert at Altamont on December 6 that year. The song was written by Jagger with Marsha Hunt in mind; Hunt was Jagger’s secret girlfriend and mother of his first child Karis. It is also claimed it was written with Claudia Lennear in mind. Lennear made this claim on BBC’s Radio 4 (25 February 2014, Today), saying that it was written with her in mind because at the time when it was written, Mick Jagger used to hang around with her.
The song, with its prominent blues-rock riffs, dual horn/guitar instrumental break, and danceable rock rhythms, is representative of the Stones’ definitive middle period and the tough, bluesy hard-rock most often associated with the group. In the liner notes to the compilation album Jump Back (1993), Jagger says, “The lyric was all to do with the dual combination of drugs and girls. This song was a very instant thing, a definite high point.”
Some say the lyrics are about slaves from Africa who were sold in New Orleans and raped by their white masters. Such subject matter is quite serious, but the way the song is structured, it comes off as a fun rocker about a white guy having sex with a black girl. (Some research has reported that Mick originally titled this song “Black Pussy” but he decided it was a little too direct and changed it to “Brown Sugar”).
According to the book Up and Down with The Rolling Stones by Tony Sanchez, all the slavery and whipping is a double meaning for the perils of being “mastered” by Brown Heroin, or “Brown Sugar.” The drug cooks brown in a spoon. You decide…
The video in the playlist is a UK performance at BBC’s Top of the Pops in 1971.
Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John – Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy is a 1975 album by Elton John. It is John’s ninth studio album and includes the title track as the first song on the album. I believe this was one of my first, if not my actual first, album ever! Prior to that, I was getting 45s. Every Friday my mom would take me shopping and I was allowed to get one 45 record each week. I had quite a collection! I sure wish I knew what ever happened to all those 45s in those cool box containers…
Anyway, the album is an autobiographical account of the early musical careers of Elton John (Captain Fantastic) and Bernie Taupin (the Brown Dirt Cowboy). It was released in May 1975 by MCA in America and DJM in the UK. It debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200, the first album to do so, reportedly selling 1.4 million copies in its first 4 days of release, and stayed in that position for seven weeks.
It was certified gold in May 1975 and was certified platinum and 3x platinum in March 1993 by the RIAA. In Canada, it also debuted at number 1 on the RPM national Top Albums chart and only broke a run of what would have been fifteen consecutive weeks at the top by falling one position to number 2 in the ninth week (May 31–September 6). On the UK Albums Chart, it peaked at number 2. In 2003, the album was ranked number 158 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. This was the last album until Too Low for Zero that Elton John and his classic band would play on together.
As for the song: Elton is “Captain Fantastic,” his writing partner Bernie Taupin is “The Brown Dirt Cowboy.” The song is a look back on the early days of their songwriting partnership.
Regarding the album as a whole: Written, according to lyricist Bernie Taupin, in chronological order, Captain Fantastic is a concept album that gives an autobiographical glimpse at the struggles John (Captain Fantastic) and Taupin (the Brown Dirt Cowboy) had in the early years of their musical careers in London (from 1967 to 1969), leading up to John’s eventual breakthrough in 1970. The lyrics and accompanying photo booklet are infused with a specific sense of place and time that would otherwise be rare in John’s music. John composed the music on a ship voyage from the UK to New York.
“Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, the only single released from the album (and a number 4 hit on the US Pop Singles chart), is a semi-autobiographical story about John’s disastrous engagement to Linda Woodrow, and his related 1968 suicide attempt. The “Someone” refers to Long John Baldry, who convinced him to break off the engagement rather than ruin his music career for an unhappy marriage. It was viewed by Rolling Stone writer Jon Landau as the best track on the album: “As long as Elton John can bring forth one performance per album on the order of ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’, the chance remains that he will become something more than the great entertainer he already is and go on to make a lasting contribution to rock.”
In a 2006 interview with Cameron Crowe, Elton John said,
“I’ve always thought that Captain Fantastic was probably my finest album because it wasn’t commercial in any way. We did have songs such as “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” which is one of the best songs that Bernie and I have ever written together, but whether a song like that could be a single these days, since it’s [more than] six minutes long, is questionable. Captain Fantastic was written from start to finish in running order, as a kind of story about coming to terms with failure—or trying desperately not to be one. We lived that story.”
John, Taupin and the band labored harder and longer on the album than perhaps any previous record they’d ever done to that point. As opposed to the rather quick, almost factory-like process of writing and recording an album in a matter of a few days or at most a couple of weeks (as with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road), the team spent the better part of a month off the road at Caribou Ranch Studios working on the recordings. Producer Gus Dudgeon was apparently also very satisfied with the results. The album’s producer was quoted in Elizabeth Rosenthal’s His Song, an exhaustive detailed accounting of nearly all John’s recorded work, as saying he thought Captain Fantastic was the best the band and Elton had ever played, lauded their vocal work, and soundly praised Elton and Bernie’s songwriting. “There’s not one song on it that’s less than incredible,” Dudgeon said.
The 2006 album The Captain & the Kid is the sequel, and continues the autobiography where Captain Fantastic leaves off.
I was always captivated by the very colorful album cover. I can’t say for sure but I think Captain Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy may have been my very first album that I ever bought with my allowance! Until then, my Mom would buy me and my brother one 45 every Friday. I sure wish I had all those 45s now!
Anyway, the intricate cover art was designed by pop artist Alan Aldridge, drawing fantastic imagery from the Renaissance painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by the Early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch. The original LP package included a “Lyrics” booklet with an uncompleted lyric for “Dogs in the Kitchen” that was not on the album’s line-up, and another booklet called “Scraps,” which collected snippets of reviews, diary entries and other personal memorabilia of John and Taupin during the years chronicled on the album. It also contained a poster of the album’s cover. These were reproduced, in smaller versions, for the 2005 Deluxe Edition CD. Limited edition copies were pressed on brown vinyl.
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle – “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” is a song written by Richard Leigh, and recorded by American country music singer Crystal Gayle. It was released in March 1977 as the first single from Gayle’s album We Must Believe in Magic. Despite the title, Gayle herself has blue eyes.
In a 2004 Country Music Television interview, Gayle stated that songwriter Richard Leigh was inspired to write the song by his dog who had one brown eye and one blue eye. It was his second #1 Country hit for Crystal Gayle. Leigh also wrote many other Country classics and is in the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
The song became a worldwide hit single. It was a huge crossover hit for Gayle, making her famous outside the world of Country music. In the United States, it topped the Billboard country music chart and was Gayle’s first (and biggest) crossover pop hit, reaching number 1 on the Cashbox Top 100 for two weeks, and number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, behind Debby Boone’s smash hit, “You Light Up My Life”. The album received Platinum status, the first by a female country singer. The song became Gayle’s signature piece throughout her career. This won 1977 Grammy Awards for Best Country Vocal plus Best Country Song for writer Richard Leigh. In 1978, the song won Gayle a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. In 1999, the song was recognized by ASCAP as one of the ten most-performed songs of the 20th century. The song has a jazzy feel to it when compared to many other country songs of that era. Gayle had many more hit singles for the next ten years, such as “Talking in Your Sleep”, “Half the Way” “You and I” (a duet with Eddie Rabbitt) and “I’ll Get Over You”, but none have achieved the same level of success as “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”.
Crystal Gayle nailed this on the first try. “That was a first take,” she recalled to Billboard magazine. “I did not re-sing it. It just fell into place beginning with Pig Robbins’ opening work on the piano. It was magic in the studio that day.” As noted by producer Allen Reynolds, “It was just one of those charmed sessions…[After] we presented the song to the musicians…it was about the third time running [through] that song that we ran tape…[Gayle] sang [the song] wonderfully. It came so fast that she wasn’t sure that she had done her best job. I had to let her try to sing it again on two or three different occasions until she was comfortable with the original [vocal take], and that’s what we went with. Everything on that recording was the original take as it went down, except the string section I added later.”
Gayle made a lot of TV appearances when this became a hit. For many viewers, it was their first look at Gayle, who had hair down to her feet.
Jackie Brown by John Mellencamp – “Jackie Brown” is a song by American singer-songwriter John Mellencamp from his tenth studio album Big Daddy, released in 1989 by Mercury Records. It was his last album to be released under the name John Cougar Mellencamp, a combination of his real name and his original stage name of Johnny Cougar. The album peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 and contained the singles “Pop Singer” and “Jackie Brown”, which peaked at No. 15 and 48, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. A re-mastered version of the album was released on May 24, 2005, and contains a bonus acoustic version of “Jackie Brown”. Like The Lonesome Jubilee, Big Daddy is folk-inspired as violins and fiddles (among other instruments) are significantly utilized on a number of tracks. The album’s lyrics largely take a serious tone and the album as a whole is regarded by some as Mellencamp’s most reflective.
Eight years before Quentin Tarantino released the movie Jackie Brown, John Mellencamp used the title for a song that tells a very different story. Mellencamp’s “Jackie Brown” is a destitute man who will never escape poverty.
Mellencamp continues his pattern of social commentary used on The Lonesome Jubilee on a number of tracks on this album.
“Jackie Brown” addresses the issue of poverty and stimulates images of the hardships faced by those living in poverty. A lyric in the song’s final verse which reads “…But who gives a damn about Jackie Brown? Just another lazy man who couldn’t take what was his” seems to indicate that Mellencamp believes the issue of poverty to be correlated to the general public and the reluctance to show interest in developing resolutions.
The song is not so much a social commentary as a reflection of how Mellencamp was feeling at the time. His finances and career were on the upswing, but he was devastated by the recent divorce from his second wife, Victoria Granucci, who took their two young daughters with her when she left their home in Indiana. Mellencamp explained to Rolling Stone: “I wrote ‘Jackie Brown’ about myself in a different scenario: me disguised as a poor guy – not as a guy that had been successful and pretty much lost everything, which in my mind I had, because I’d lost my daughters. The song is about how you have to go outside to use the bathroom because you’ve sunk so low.”
In 1991, Mellencamp said: “Big Daddy was the best record I ever made. Out of my agony came a couple of really beautiful songs. You can’t be 22 years old and had two dates and understand that album.”
Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter by Herman’s Hermits – “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” is a popular song written by British actor, screenwriter and songwriter Trevor Peacock. It was originally sung by actor Tom Courtenay in The Lads, a British TV play of 1963, and released as a single on UK Decca.
The best-known version of the song is by Herman’s Hermits, who took it to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in May 1965, and number one in Canada the month before. “Mrs. Brown” wasn’t pegged as a single, but after an American DJ started giving it airplay, their record label issued it as a 45 and it became their first US #1.
The single debuted on the Hot 100 at number 12 — the third highest debut of the decade (after the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and “Get Back”). The Hermits never released the track — or their other US 1965 number one, “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” — as a single in their native Britain. “Mrs Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” was recorded as an afterthought: When they recorded their first album in 1964, they needed one more song to complete it and were running out of studio time. Since they were familiar with this song, they recorded it with the little time they had left, completing the song in one take.
It featured unique muted lead and rhythm guitar by Derek Leckenby and Keith Hopwood and heavily accented lead vocals by Peter Noone, with backing vocals from Karl Green and Keith Hopwood. The band never dreamed it would be a single let alone hit number one in the US. According to Noone the song was well known to British bands; it would often be performed at birthday parties, substituting the surname of the girl whose party was being celebrated, i.e., “Mrs. Smith” or “Mrs. Jones” instead of “Mrs. Brown”.
This song is about a guy who is heartbroken over losing his girl, so he decides to tell her mother all about it.
When this was #1 in America, Time magazine published an article called “Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Sound of the Sixties” that validated rock music as much more than a passing fad. It stated:
“Last week the man of the moment was Herman, 16, of Herman’s Hermits. An engaging high school dropout who looks like a toy sheep dog, Herman (real name: Peter Noone) smiles a lot, claps his hands over his head, and sticks his finger in his mouth when he sings. His ‘Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,’ rendered in a heavy English Midlands accent, was the #1 bestseller last week.”
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce – “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is a song written by American folk rock singer Jim Croce. Released as part of his 1973 album Life and Times, the song was a Number One pop hit for him, spending two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1973. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1973.
Croce was nominated for two 1973 Grammy awards in the Pop Male Vocalist and Record of the Year categories for “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”. It was his last number-one single before his death on September 20 when he perished in a plane crash.
The song’s title character is a tall man from the South Side of Chicago whose size, attitude, and tendency to carry weapons have given him a fearsome reputation. He is said to dress in fancy clothes and wear diamond rings, and to own a custom Lincoln Continental and a Cadillac Eldorado, implying he has a lot of money. One day in a bar he makes a pass at a pretty, married woman named Doris, whose jealous husband proceeds to beat Leroy brutally in the ensuing fight, which Leroy loses badly.
The story of a widely feared man being bested in a fight is similar to that of Croce’s earlier song “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”
Inspiration: Croce’s inspiration for the song was a friend he met in his brief time in the US Army:
I met him at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. We were in lineman (telephone) school together. He stayed there about a week, and one evening he turned around and said he was really fed up and tired. He went AWOL, and then came back at the end of the month to get his paycheck. They put handcuffs on him and took him away. Just to listen to him talk and see how ‘bad’ he was, I knew someday I was gonna write a song about him.
He told a variation of this story on The Helen Reddy Show in July 1973:
This is a song about a guy I was in the army with… It was at Fort Dix, in New Jersey, that I met this guy. He was not made to climb the tree of knowledge, as they say, but he was strong, so nobody’d ever told him what to do, and after about a week down there he said “Later for this” and decided to go home. So he went AWOL—which means to take your own vacation—and he did. But he made the mistake of coming back at the end of the month to get his paycheck. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen handcuffs put on anybody, but it was SNAP and that was the end of it for a good friend of mine, who I wrote this tune about, named Leroy Brown.
Croce explained the chorus reference to Leroy Brown being “meaner than a junkyard dog”:
Yeah, I spent about a year and a half driving those $29 cars, so I drove around a lot looking for a universal joint for a ’57 Chevy panel truck or a transmission for a ’51 Dodge. I got to know many junkyards well, and they all have those dogs in them. They all have either an axle tied around their necks or an old lawnmower to keep ’em at least slowed down a bit, so you have a decent chance of getting away from them.
His wife Ingrid runs Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar in San Diego, where she keeps Jim’s legacy alive and hears from many patrons who were touched by Jim’s songs. Says Ingrid: “I have a lot of staff members that come up to me and say, ‘You know what, there’s a guy named Leroy Brown, he kind of looks like the part, and he’s sitting at our bar right now.’ I say, ‘Well, I’ll be glad to come over and say hi.’ There’s so many Leroy Browns who have come up to me and said, ‘I’m sure I’m the one he was talking about.'”
Brown Chicken Brown Cow by Trace Adkins – This one was a gift from my friend Mary over at Jingle, Jangle Jungle. She messaged me a link to the video and it cracked me up. I had never heard the song before and found the scuttlebutt on it interesting. Thanks Mary!
“Brown Chicken Brown Cow” is a song recorded by American country artist Trace Adkins. It was released in January 2011 as the third and final single and the opening track from his ninth studio album Cowboy’s Back in Town. The song reached #39 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song was written by Kenny Beard, Casey Beathard and Rivers Rutherford.
Adkins is a Country superstar and has years of experience making music videos. In fact, CMT.com features over 20 of them — running the gamut from sentimental to downright comical. His collection ranges from the nostalgic (“Then They Do,” “You’re Gonna Miss This”), spiritual (“All I Ask for Anymore,” “Muddy Water” ), patriotic (“Arlington” ), and lovesick (“I Can’t Outrun You,” “Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone” ) to humorous favorites such as “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “Hillbilly Bone.”
However, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow,” takes his video catalog to a whole new level — puppets.
Adkins, who serves as the narrator during the video, sings a tale of two lovers, Bobby Jo and Betty (also puppets), who make a habit of running off to the barn for some alone time. The farm animals, including the brown chicken and brown cow, have front row seats to their farmers’ escapades.
As to how the idea of using puppets in the video came about, Adkins told CMT it was Michael Salomon’s idea:
“Michael Salomon, who I’ve done a lot of videos with, when we solicited ideas for this video, he sent us this thing, and it was like five or six pages. On the first couple of pages was his No. 1 idea. … And so he spent a couple of pages explaining that one. And then his second idea, there were a couple of pages explaining that one. [The] third idea maybe had one page, and then the fourth idea was literally like one sentence and it said, “No. 4 — or we could just use puppets.” (laughs) And I called him back and said, “Let’s do the puppet thing, man.” And he said, “Wow, I never in a million years thought you would go with the puppet thing.”
Sounds fun, right? I thought so, after hearing it and seeing the video. But apparently, Adkins caught a lot of flack for the whole thing.
The song, which uses a sexual innuendo on “bow chicka bow wow” (an onomatopoeia for music in pornography), was withdrawn after only nine weeks, and Adkins later apologized for releasing it.
Adkins told The Boot why he decided to record this tune: “The first time I heard this song it made me laugh,” he said with smile. “They played it for me without pitching it to me to record. I just said, ‘I’m putting it on my album.’ That was the end of that!”
The song is actually the punch line to a sexual joke — the online Urban Dictionary refers to “brown chicken brown cow” as “an onomatopoeic imitation of the guitar riff commonly used in 1970’s porn movies.” Despite its adult-themed lyrical content, Atkins was not afraid to release it. “I kinda pushed for that to be the first single,” from his new album, he told GAC. “I said, ‘Let’s just throw a hand grenade in the room right off the get-go.’ I said, ‘It’s a dangerous record. I know that, but I’m not afraid of it.’ Everybody else by committee was kinda like ‘Oh, I don’t know about that.'”
The song caused quite a stir among Adkins’ fans, but the criticism fell on deaf ears. “The purists and the traditionalists all think that I’m such an embarrassment to this genre,” he told CMT. “It just makes them projectile vomit. The idea that I’m actually a Grand Ole Opry member and put out this vile, heathenistic, shit. Yeah, so what?”
He added: “I do what I want to do. I’ve got five daughters and a beautiful wife, and if I can look at myself in the mirror at night and know that I haven’t done anything to bring any disgrace or disappointment upon them, then I’m good. Anybody else that has a problem with it, then that’s your problem.”
But then…Trace Adkins ended up apologizing in a big way about the release of this song. From CMT News:
Trace Adkins says he’s sorry about “Brown Chicken Brown Cow.” Very sorry. Released as a single nine weeks ago, the novelty song from his Cowboy’s Back in Town album has found little favor at radio and has so far climbed only to No. 39 on Billboard‘s country chart. However, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” remains one of CMT.com’s most popular music videos. Adkins took the stage at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville Friday night (March 4) just before the New Faces Show got underway. He was there to promote The Lincoln Lawyer, the upcoming Matthew McConaughey movie in which Adkins plays the leader of a biker gang. But he used his time primarily to apologize profusely to the radio crowd for releasing the tune about voyeuristic farm animals. “They told me it was a hit,” he joked. “I’m going to blame the three songwriters.”
When I heard the song and saw the video, I got a real kick out of it. I thought it was hilarious. I didn’t really get just why Trace Adkins had to be apologizing for it so I dug a little deeper and discovered that there are a whole lot of (apparently influential) country music purists who were very vocal against the song due to its risqué nature. Good grief, really? A little uptight maybe?? Ay-yi-yi…
Anyway, there were definitely strong opinions out there about it. For example, from the Saving Country Music website’s December 2011 list of the Worst Country Songs of 2011, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” came in at #2. Here’s what they said about it:
Sexualized puppets and sexual innuendo specifically targeted towards children, this song is the lowest of the low. Toby Keith and Show Dog Universal should have known better when Trace twisted their arm to release this as a single. The pony-tailed baritone with a million-dollar voice and a 10 cent brain had delusions this would finally be the follow up to his blockbuster and the undisputed heavyweight champion of all awful pop country songs “Honky Tonk Badonka Donk”, but he was wrong. Trace may be every pop country-loving soccer mom’s sexual fantasy, but this song sucked so bad even Trace was eventually forced to admit defeat and pull it from radio.
Says yet another critic:
“The first thing you need to know about this song is that its writers, producers, distributors, and performers think that you are stupid. The song is about Billy Joe and Betty, who as Trace explains, have a real nice farm. He sings about brown chickens, brown cows, corn fields, slopping pigs, but of course, since these days less than 2% of Americans actually live this type of traditional farm lifestyle, he is not using these things to relate to people, he is doing this to disguise the fact that this really is a hip-hopish rock song, and that he isn’t singing to country folks, he’s singing to suburbanites that like to listen to this kind of smut as a form of escapism from their heroically normal lives.
This is awful. At least Taylor Swift tries to write good songs. Trace just dons a shit-eating grin and waits for the Brinks truck to pull in front of his mansion. This song has less artistic value than a nursery rhyme…”
Haha. Well, you’ve probably heard my philosophy on sour critics before: they’re just a bunch of lonely miserable people who need to get laid more often. Speaking of: What are the two dirtiest animals on the farm? BROWN CHICKEN, BROWN COW! bow chicka wow wow …
Hope you all enjoyed the second installment of A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs featuring the Brown Edition. There are a lot of songs with the word brown in the title. What others can you think of? Of the eight songs I showcased here, which do you like best and why?
See you for the next Freebie theme week when I’ll present the third installment of A Kaleidoscope of Color Songs with another color representing!
Monday’s Music Moves Me (4M) is a blog hop hosted by X-Mas Dolly, and co-hosted by JAmerican Spice, Stacy Uncorked and Curious as a Cathy. Be sure to stop by the hosts and visit the other participants.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…
Great post, Michele!
Excellent song choices for the color Brown, and I love that you included Brown Chicken Brown Cow! My friend showed it to me and I knew right away I needed to share it with you for your color series.
Have a fabulous week!
Jingle Jangle Jungle
LikeLiked by 1 person
Happy Wednesday…well, it’s almost Thursday now. Geez, where does the week go so fast?!
Anyway, thanks so much for your contribution to my Color Series’ brown edition! That song was so much fun, the video was hilarious and I really found it fascinating the critical response it (and the artist) received.
The week’s half over so hope you have a great weekend. Are you all settled in to your new place now? I know it always takes me months to get settled before I have all the pictures hung and everything unpacked and where it’s supposed to be…
Wait. I’m supposed to hang pictures? Oh snap! I better get on that before ‘Mister X’ jumps in and does it for me…. just as he has done so many other things (Such as shopping for items I didn’t know I needed… or picking up things at the store without me even asking). He’s extremely thoughtful that way. Ha – just the other day he stopped in to say he wouldn’t have time to stop in to say hello. Like I said earlier… BIG TROUBLE here!
Working on my Monday post now. Hopefully it will turn out as well as it is in my head.
Ooh, trouble is a-brewin’ for sure! Take that kind of trouble and drink it in though…good “Honey-Do’s are in short supply!
I haven’t even looked at the theme for this coming Monday! I better get on that…,
Great playlist with some mighty fine songs. I hadn’t realized how many song titles with the color brown I liked until now. Thanks for boogieing with the 4M crew, my friend. Did you vote in my Feb. 1st BoTB yet? If not, I thought I’d mention it to ya. Have a good week. It’s gonna be a good one with the Eagles win in the Super Bowl. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hey Cathy! Thanks so much for reminding me about your BOTB. I just went over and voted in yours. As I said in my comment there. I didn’t make it to all the Feb 1st battles. Hope I wasn’t too late for the vote in yours. Good battle btw!
The week sure did start out good with the Eagles taking the Super Bowl win away from the Patriots. I think I would’ve thrown up if New England won again… 🙂
Thanks for coming by to check out my Brown songs…
That last one was disgusting. I loved it!
LikeLiked by 1 person
hahaha. That last one was just for you John… 🙂
Great songs. I had a professor in college, who was a Julliard trained violin player who played with Van Morrison on Brown-Eyed Girl. That is a wonderful song. Thanks for sharing it and have a wonderful week.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Oh wow, how cool! Did he play with Morrison on the studio version? That’s really neat. I bet he was a popular professor, huh? He was probably pretty cool…
Thanks for stopping by Patrick.
You have definitely rocked the house! You know my hubby is in a band and the song by the Stones, “Brown Sugar” do you know what they did with the song…. they gave it a different beat and played it reggae. It was really awesome and we had a lot of fun with it. Hubby is very creative with his music. Thanks for sharing my friend!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Wow, “Brown Sugar” as a reggae song? I’d love to hear that one! I bet that was fun doing it that way. How long has your husband been in a band? Didn’t you used to play with him? Or maybe still do??
These are fabulous “brown” songs. Great finds!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks Joyce! Glad you stopped by. Have a great week. It’s half over now…
I never realized there were so many songs with the word brown in them. I am glad Brown eyed girl ended up the song it is. I have brown eyes so I always loved it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Hi Ellen! Thanks for coming by and for the follow! I appreciate that. I think most brown-eyed girls dig Van Morrison’s song. There’s two songs that people have always sung to me: Brown-Eyed Girl and Michelle by the Beatles (“Michelle my belle” … Can’t tell you how many times I heard that from people, especially when I was first introduced to them).
(The Beatles did spell her name wrong though… 🙂 )
That was fascinating!
I haven’t heard Brown Eye’d girl in a long time!
Thanks for the rocking information!
Enjoy the rest of your week!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Glad you liked it Colette! Thanks for coming by.
I love Van Morrison…especially “Brown-Eyed Girl” and “Wild Night” — I think I might even like Wild Night more than Brown-Eyed Girl…but then again… 🙂
Howdy, MICHELE ~
I’ve always liked the color brown. Brown always makes me think of…
1) Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow, and
2) Western movies, and
3) my first grade teacher, Miss Pinkley, and
Someday I’ll write a screenplay for a Western movie about Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow. I’ll get Miss Pinkley (who probably became a Mrs. and then a widow) to play the part of Mrs. O’Leary, and I’ll get Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, or Micky Dolenz to play her husband. (I hear Davy Jones is busy playing the harp.)
Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
My math has always been stinko. That last one should have been numbered “5”, NOT number “2” again.
Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
LikeLiked by 1 person
Try number “4”…. LOL! You’re crazy! Now that’s one screenplay I’d like to see turned into a movie! Mrs. Leary’s Cow is a very strange camp song. I honestly don’t remember that one…
It’s interesting the Miss PINKley reminds you of the color brown??
And THANK YOU THANK YOU! I never heard that Monkees song! Totally didn’t know it. Loved the video with all the dogs and puppies. Sweet! All through it I was trying to figure out why it reminded you of brown and then I heard the last lines… “how now brown cow”…. And then one of them (I think Davey) says “They’re coming to take us away…” and it sounded like that very strange novelty hit song by Napoleon XIV. Did you catch that??
LikeLiked by 1 person
I hesitate to reveal the method to my madness. If I e’splain it all and it makes too much sense, I fear people will stop believing I’m drunker’n ‘ell when I post my comments. But… OK, here goes:
The first thought that came to my mind in association with the color brown was Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow. (BTW, I didn’t even know there was a song about it!) I honestly had no idea why Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow came into my mind.
But after a few minutes it dawned on me that I was associating the cow with brown because buried way back in the deep, dark recesses of my subconscious mind (where angels fear to tread… or even fly) was the memory of Davy saying “How now brown cow” in the song ‘Gonna Buy Me A Dog’. So, after I figured that out, I decided to include both Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow AND the Monkees’ song.
Western movies because it’s true: brown hats; brown horses; brown vests and chaps; unpainted, brown, wooden buildings; brown wooden bars in saloons, etc.
I don’t remember my first grade teacher’s name (or perhaps it was really kindergarten), but I do still remember a wall that had a bunch of colorful construction paper dots on it, and each dot had its color written in the center of it. Obviously it was meant to teach us the names of the colors and how to spell them. For some reason which I can’t ‘splain, I still remember staring for a long time at the brown dot one day and thinking that I liked it. And since earlier today I was thinking about how I ought to send an Email to Miss Pinkley — a woman I used to work with — I decided to give that name to my first grade teacher, specifically because it’s a color that is NOT brown.
And you are right that Davy was spoofing the Napoleon XVI novelty song at the end.
Although all my madness above suddenly seems to make a bit o’ sense, I implore you NOT to think I’m NOT drunker’n ‘ell. (I’ve worked so hard to build it that I’d hate to see my alcoholic reputation ruined at this point.)
Would You Like To See… ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Come To Life?
I figured you must have covered this one and then another came to mind: “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” by Frank Zappa. For a long time I was a bit self-conscious about wearing brown shoes because of this song. Now I wear them most of the time.
Tossing It Out
I have no “brown” songs to add to this post, but I will mention that I’ve seen Herman’s Hermits in concert twice. Peter Noone is still quite the performer and knows how to work that crowd. I loved that song then and I still love it now!!!!!
Pingback: Monday’s Music Moves Me: SONGS WITH ANIMALS IN THE TITLES | Angels Bark