Sunday, November 15, 2015

HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER

Story songs in the fifties didn’t get any better than this: cradle to grave in under three minutes. And the Browns’ plaintive Arkansas harmonies put this little saga across with such gentle power that, though I’ve probably listened to this hundreds and hundreds of times since 1959, it turns my insides into a quivering mass of ecto-emotion every time I hear it.


An Alternate 100*
The Three Bells (Les Trois Cloches) • The Browns • 1959



*“If we determined we had nothing much worthwhile to add to the conversation about a single, then that record didn’t make the cut, no matter how good it was. . . . [T]hose singles were were bumped down to “Once More with Feeling: An Alternate 100.” That supplemental list gathers, for the curious, our runners up, but, just as importantly, it presents an alternate, compressed version of the arguments made throughout the book.” —David Cantwell, Bill Friskics-Warren, “How to Use the Book” in Heartaches by the Number


“Three Bells” sheet music: PDX Retro

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