Download At the tender age of 19, I played an 8-month stint at a lounge in downtown Mobile called “Admiral’s Corner”. I know, I was too young… but those were different times. I left there to do an elongated gig with the Air Force, spending a great deal of time at the piano providing dinner music in the Officer’s Club. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that the long-haired dude who replaced me at that Mobile club was none other than Jimmy Buffett. Jimmy hadn’t even written “Margaritaville” yet – that’s how long ago it was.
Van Morrison originally recorded “Brown-Eyed Girl” in 1967 (I can’t believe it’s that old). He’s never received a dime of royalties for this tune (no lawyer when he signed the contract), and he intended the song to be titled “Brown-Skinned Girl” (something about a Jamaican girlfriend). His original is a combination of jazz and soul and a bit harsh for my taste. Whenever I performed it, I tried to smooth it out a little bit. But then the master of “smooth” (Jimmy) covered the song on his album Boats, Beaches, Bars, and Ballads (now there’s a combination of beautiful things) and the song changed forever.
Jimmy’s take on “Brown-Eyed Girl” is how we do it today. Every now and then we’ll trot out the Van Morrison style, but rarely. We took a three year job at a local beach bar with an audience full of “parrot heads”, so nearly everything had to be done “Jimmy’s way”. We just got used to it. Down here, the man is king… as well he should be.
If you’re performing this classic (as I’m sure you are), download this sequence off the Pop/Rock list and try it Jimmy’s way… he won’t mind.