The most underrated duo in country music history
So, about six months or so ago, I was driving down the road and as usual was listening to station 850 on my AM dial.
Yes, you read right. Country music, the real kind anyway, has been mostly relegated to AM radio. Example two as to why I hate the 21st century.
Anyway, I was somewhere between Halls and Fountain City when I heard two voices blending together like blue-hued sky and golden sun.
I don't want to have to marry you; I don't want to have to say "I do..."
Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius. Hadn't thought about them in years, much less heard them on the radio.
Thought to myself, "When I get home I'm going to download their songs."
Guess what? Yep, it's all out of print.
So, I got online and ordered a "Greatest Hits" CD that was released in 2000. Boy, howdy.
I started to write that I don't know why Jim Ed and Helen have yet to receive their just due, but I do know. I'll get to that in a minute.
Meanwhile, surf on over to YouTube, type in their names, and turn up the volume. Oh, yeah.
Watch them nail Tom T. Hall's "I Washed My Face in the Mornin' Dew" on the Grand Ole Opry stage.
Hear them sing "Heaven's Just A Sin Away" better than The Kendalls.
Don't miss their best song together: "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye."
And, if you're lucky enough to find it, listen to them do a "dang, that's darn good" cover of "You Don't Bring Me Flowers."
Here's why they haven't gotten recognition.
1. They had an affair a long time ago.
2. What now passes for country music ignores its past.
By chance, I found several original RCA vinyl releases from the collection of two dear souls, Ruby and the late John Hitch. Listening to them only confirmed my opinion.
Country music has had great partners. Conway and Loretta. Porter and Dolly. George and Tammy. Johnny and June. Kenny Rogers and anybody with whom he sang.
(Hey, Blake and Miranda: Forget about it. You ain't in the ballpark.)
All of those I mentioned before the last two are great, kings and queens, no doubt about it.
But, for my money, the most underrated duo in country music history is Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius.
Don't take my word for it. Look it up. Find the original recordings. Let me know what you think.