The Browns - Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie - are beloved for many reasons, not the least of which is their greatest hit, ''The Three Bells,'' which held sway at #1 for ten weeks on the country charts in 1959. Certainly we love the touching tale of the birth, marriage and death of ''Little Jimmy Brown'' (no relation, we presume). But there's more to it than the story and irresistible melody. ''The Three Bells'' transcends genre - it also topped the pop charts for four weeks and even reached #10 on the R&B charts - and you can hear elements of folk, old-time gospel, and skillfully rendered easy listening in its understated grooves.
And after the runaway success of ''The Three Bells,'' the Browns pursued a crowd-pleasing blend of pop, folk, and devotional music, all recorded in glorious ''Living Stereo'' by producer and guitarist extraordinaire Chet Atkins at RCA's state-of-the-art studio in Nashville. The Browns' new Eric Records compilation, Soft as the Voice of an Angel, captures this side of the trio - hits like ''Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)'' (1959) and ''The Old Lamplighter'' (1960) as well as pop standards like ''Buttons and Bows,'' and folk touchstones like ''Four Strong Winds.''
There's more still to the Browns' enduring appeal. It's... the sound. Nobody sounded quite like the Browns. Their style was smooth, true, and attention-grabbing in the most understated way - like their pop contemporaries the Teddy Bears (''To Know Him Is To Love Him'') and the Fleetwoods (''Come Softly To Me''). But it was more than that. As their voices rose together in the close, intimate harmonies that only a brother and two sisters could achieve, you could hear a bit of heaven.
That's why we call our new Eric Records compilation Soft as the Voice of an Angel. It's the opening line of ''Whispering Hope'', an old country hymn that they recorded for their 1961 LP Songs From The Little Brown Church Hymnal. Madison Avenue couldn't have written a better description of the Browns' music! There was more to Nashville in the '50s and '60s than dim lights, thick smoke, and loud music, and no one embodies the softer, more sophisticated side of Music City than The Browns.
Amazingly, most of the Browns' recordings have never been released on CD in the U.S. Many have only been available on an expensive, imported boxed set - or not at all. Until now! Soft as the Voice of an Angel features 21 tracks mastered in brilliant STEREO from the ORIGINAL master tapes.
Complete with notes and a brand-new interview with Jim Ed Brown himself, here are 52 minutes of pure, ''angelic'' stereo sound you're sure to enjoy!