(interview recorded by Bill Thompson on 4-18-04)

Over in San Marcos, Pappy Selph was telling Cliff Bruner and Ruth some kind of story one time, I donít know what kind of story it was.  So Ruth knew the background of it and knew what the truth was.  So when he got through telling it, she said, ďPappy, you know thatís not true.Ē She said Pappy looked at her for a little bit, and then said, ďWell Ruth, you know itís not true, and I know itís not true, but THEY donít know itís not true.Ē

Iíd like to do a religious album.   I like the gospel music.  Like yesterday, I did a medley with a verse of each one: When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, In the Sweet By and By, and then Iíll Fly Away.  We did that yesterday to close.  When we do it, itís got a beat to it, you know.  I like songs like that, but I also like In the Garden - I think thatís a beautiful song.  Also, Just a Closer Walk With Thee.  Thatís a great, inspiring song.  Also, He Touched Me. But you know, theyíve been recorded so many times.

I donít know if Iím really capable of doing those songs.  My voice isnít getting any better, you know.  I just praise God itís as good as itís been through the years.  Because a lot of people, when they start getting old, their voice gets old.  But my voice hasnít aged with my body - at least it doesnít seem like it to me.  I know I canít do the songs in the key that I used to do them in.  I have to lower the keys.   I used to do Milk Cow Blues in A, and now I have to do it in G - I have to drop it down or drop it back on the guitar.

I like some of the gospel quartet music.  Ellen likes it.  Weíve gone to see the Florida Boys several times, and Iíve got some kinfolk up in Stephenville - man, they go anywhere they can to see the Florida Boys.  Ellen watches Bill Gaither on the television.  I used to like the comedian they had on that show.  My kinfolk used to come to Fort Worth when they would have these gospel things over at the Will Rogers Auditorium, and theyíd come by and pick up Ellen, but I wouldnít go, I would just stay home.  I just didnít like it that much.  But Iíve gone to see the Florida Boys a number of times, and I watch the Gaithers sometimes.  I donít like high tenors, especially if they have too much vibrato.  I donít like anybody who sings and shakes it to death with their vibrato.  I know thatís popular, especially in classical music.  In fact, in our church, the song leader used too much vibrato.  I like just enough vibrato to give a true tone.  But too much of it, especially when it is too high, just drives me up the wall.

Cecil Browerís pet was the tremolo mute on his violin.  It had a stainless steel shaft several inches long with a stainless steel ball up here, and then a stainless steel piece that had a couple of grooves in it, and that fit right down on the fiddle bridge.   If Cecil would be playing, and it wouldnít be vibrating enough, heíd reach up and touch that ball so it would vibrate faster.  When it starts losing speed, the vibrato slows down.  Thatís why I didnít like it, because you couldnít control the speed like you can now on todayís amplifiers.  It was a novelty.  He did use that in the live performances also.  When he would be playing at Crystal Springs, and it wouldnít be vibrating enough, when he had the chance, he would hit that ball up on top.  It was kind of like that toy duck that sips the water, swinging back and forth.  The ball swinging back and forth created the wavering tremolo effect.   Most people donít know what that sound is - they think itís a defect in the record.


Cliff Brunerís Texas Wanderers - Western Swing 1937 - 1944
(Texas Rose TXR 2710)

Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies 1934
(Texas Rose TXR 2706)

Dave Edwards and His Alabama Boys 1937
(Texas Rose TXR 2707)

Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies - Taking Off
(String Records)

Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies
 (MCA Collectables Series)

W. Lee OíDaniel and His Hillbilly Boys 1935 - 1938
(Texas Rose TXR 2702)

Milton introduced the ďBattle DanceĒ to help other bands.  Bob Wills was down in Waco, and wasnít doing too good.  So Milton booked Greenís Terrace down there, which was one of the biggest places in Waco, for both bands to play, to help Bob out.  He even let Bob take top billing there.  Because of that, a lot of people think that Bob was above Milton, but back then, Bob Wills wasnít even known at all in Texas.

The crowd at Milton's funeral was the largest crowd ever seen at a funeral in Fort Worth at that time.   The Star-Telegram estimated about 3,500.   Later, the funeral of a well-known minister, Rev. J. Frank Norris, was said to have even more.   The Bewley Mills Chuck Wagon Gang members sang at Milton's funeral.

Perry Cotton Club, Big Springs, Texas

Milton typed his own letters at this desk and portable typewriter.  He bought that desk not too long before he died, and he typed two copies of all his correspondence: he didnít use a carbon.  I donít know why he did that.

Miltonís senior year picture

Herman Arnspiger was an original Doughboy - he, Derwood, Milton and Bob.  Sleepy wasnít an original.  But W. Lee OíDaniel fired Herman and they hired Sleepy.  Now look at the inital ďHĒ on Sleepyís sleeve there.  Thatís Hermanís sweater.  They gave it to Sleepy!

Milton sang with a trio for Burrus Mills before the Doughboys.

Photo of Milton wearing the western hat.  The writing on the side of the top of the hat was commemorating the Texas Centennial (1836 - 1936).  They gave them those hats.  Milton knew a guy at Leonard Brothers Department Store.  Right before they went to New Orleans for that marathon recording session, he called this guy and they went down there on Sunday and they opened up and they sold each one of them a pair of cowboy boots.  That was the first cowboy stuff that they wore.

Barbara Martin interviewed Adolf Hofner, and she asked him ďWho did you pattern your band after?Ē and he said ďMilton Brown.  He just had more polish than Bob Wills did.Ē

Dave Stogner patterned his band after the Brownies.  He was raised up in North Texas, but he headed out to California and played out there and made his home out there.

Photo of Roy Lee and Ellen was made when I played out on the Mansfield Highway.

Miltonís tombstone:  In the middle is a microphone, shaped the way they were back in the Thirties.   These are 2 radio towers, with wires going across from the towers.  One of his fans bought that and paid for it herself, shortly after his burial.  She came to my mother and dad, and said that she had never gone with Milton Brown, and that he probably didnít know her, but she was a fan of his, and she wanted to know if they would object to her providing the monument.

Rose Carnes was a member of the Chuck Wagon Gang.  There were Rose, Anna, Dad and Jim.  They sang at Miltonís funeral.  Theyíre all gone now.  Anna passed away not long ago.   They were from Fort Worth.  When I take Ellen to the beauty shop on Friday, I go over to Rustyís Music Store.  Rusty Carter is Jimís son.  Some of their family developed this new subdivision over here.  And then W. Lee OíDanielís old farm is just right down the road here.  I never knew all that when we moved out here.

Hereís an ad for that Pontiac like Milton had.  That car cost $730.

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