Daddy and Aunt Bobbie, and Uncle Billy, Aunt Betty with old Model A Ford 1940's
I have called my daddy Nolen Brown the pied piper of Claiborne Avenue because of the fact that he has always had a guitar in his hand and a notebook in the other. My daddy is a songwriter. He expresses his emotions on paper and in song. He was always a hard worker until his retirement several years ago. He worked many a shift over the course of thirty-eight years at the gas plant on the Lewisville Rd.
He never spanked he left that up to my mother. He was the daddy that liked to ride the rides with you at the fair. He was the daddy that liked to play hide and seek and scare you on Halloween. Now he is the papaw and he does a good job at that. He still writes songs and he still has the guitar not far from his side. Some things never change. I hope they never do! You can read more about my daddy and his music on his web site www.nolenbrown.com
By Schelley Brown
When I was a little girl my daddy was the Pied-Piper of Claiborne Ave. All the kids would follow him and ask him to sing and play his guitar for them. He was always surrounded by the neighborhood kids on the front porch or in the back yard.
For family vacations we always went to Nashville “The Home of Country Music”, that’s where daddy fits in the best. As a kid, I thought everyone went to Nashville for vacation. In the sixties, we would load up in our old Chrysler, in the middle of the night and drive while it was cool. We usually had a car load of people going with us, from aunts and uncles, to my great-grandmother. Back then you could get a lot of people in a car! I can remember that my mama would fill the back floorboard with pillows and we would sleep on the way to Tennessee. We stayed and played in the pool while daddy would cut demos and meet with other singers and songwriters.
I remember one trip to Nashville when the whole family went. By this I mean several car loads of family. While we were on a tour bus to see Music Row, daddy had gone to take care of music business. The tour guide was saying, “Over here to your left is Acuff-Rose Publishing and if you look you may see some famous stars.” About that time the doors opened and out came Daddy and my Uncle Pete. We all waved and said, “There’s daddy!” I didn’t know that he was a great songwriter, he was just my dad. All I had ever known was the man that always sang, played his guitar and wrote songs.
He grew up, the son of a share-cropper in Dubach, La., with one brother and three sisters. They grew up with out much money and less to do for fun. They would have song contests with each other and daddy would make guitars out of cigar boxes and sticks. He still remembers some of those first songs that came to him as a young boy. He has music in his blood; Mickey Gilley (Urban cowboy Gilley’s) is his cousin. Mr. Boe Cook, of KASO radio in Minden used to help Daddy celebrate his birthday by playing his songs and calling January 10th “Nolen Brown Day”.
In the sixties and seventies he was a contract writer for Acuff-Rose which at the time was the biggest publisher in the world. Acuff-Rose was later bought out by Sony Music. Bobby Bare wanted him to move to Nashville to write for his publisher but he didn’t think he could sit in a room for eight hours a day and write. He needs inspiration to write and four walls wouldn’t make for good songs. He had a family and a good job. Growing up poor you didn’t give up a good job and up-root your family easily. He made a sacrifice and stayed in Minden. He never gave up the dream and continued writing and going to Nashville always hoping for that one great break. He has written and co-written hundreds of songs and had many songs recorded by famous singers such as Roy Orbison and Joe Stampley to name a few.
I once took him to show-and-tell at Richardson. He sang his songs for the class. I was the only kid that had a dad that came to school and sang. He always knows how to entertain a crowd young and old!
Daddy retired a few years ago from Duke Energy. This has given him and my mom the time to get into his music full time. He writes from his heart which underwent five by-passes last year and from many of his life experiences. Even while in ICU he was thinking up songs and singing to the nurses. He has become accustom to phone calls and meetings with important people from Nashville. Not many people have a standing invitation to perform at the Blue Bird Café in Nashville, but he does!
May 1st, 2004 my dad was informed that his song “It all hit home today” was named one of the top five songs in the Songwriter Universe Contest. It was the only country song in the top five. You can go to songwriteruniverse.com to hear this song. He was also a finalist in the Nashville song search for 2003 for his song “I need a Mr. Right, Right now.” He also has a video out right now by Tony Douglas for his song “Did I Say Something Wrong.”
Anyone that knows him believes that one day soon he will have a number one hit. Nobody deserves it anymore than my daddy Nolen Brown. So if you see him around ask him to sing you a song. He’ll be glad to share his gift of words with you! My Daddy has given me many things through out the years but the gift of love is his best gift. Happy Fathers Day Daddy! Go to http://www.nolenbrown.com/ to read more about Nolen Brown and his music.