The Browns signed with Fabor Records and faced all the adventures and trials of naïve musicians in a cutthroat business. At a diner with the King: Jim Ed Brown (left), Maxine Brown, and Bonnie Brown (right). From Maxine Brown’s Looking Back to See. Copyright 2005 by Maxine Brown. Reproduced with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press, www.uapress.com .

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by Jocelyn R. Neal
Southern Cultures, Vol. 16, No. 3: Roots Music

from the forthcoming novel Nashville Chrome by Rick Bass

The mid-1950s in popular music resembled the Wild West. New sounds, new styles, and new business models collided with a teenage audience that had unprecedented buying power. As those forces converged, popular music entered about a half-decade of uncharted territory where shady businessmen exploited ambitious but naïve musicians while the throbbing pulse of rock ’n’ roll destabilized the traditions of both pop and country music.