Tuesday, 25 October 2016
October #2 - The Browns
2. The Browns - The Three Bells
If I were to get to the end of 2016 and not mention this song, I'd be doing my listening habits a grave misjustice. Frankly, I've been rather obsessed with it over the last 6 months or so... which is rather odd considering that it was recorded in 1959 (well, this version, at least: the original French song, recorded by Edith Piaf, is older still). Although I may have encountered it prior to this year, my love affair began when John Grant opened his first 6Music show with it earlier this year. To be honest, much as I love John Grant's own music, our tastes are quite different: much of the rest of his show was made up of 80s electronica (he has a particular soft spot for Vangelis), which only floats my boat in small doses. The Three Bells was unlike anything else he played, although I do seem to remember he said it was the first pop song that had stuck in his head as a child.
I love everything about this song, from the conceit (a life told in three verses, symbolised by church bells proclaiming Jimmy Brown's birth, marriage and death) to the blissful harmonies of Jim Ed Brown and his sisters Maxine and Bonnie. I have sung along to it in the car more than any other song I've listened to this year: it's even been a hit with the rest of the family. I can't promise you'll enjoy it as much as I do, but to paraphrase Mark Radcliffe (and probably a bunch of other people): if you don't appreciate this even the slightest little bit, you don't like music.