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April 20

Why today? The late bluegrass singer with the wide vocal range — from high to low … or high-low … or Hylo — was born Frank Brown on 4/20/22 in Eastern Kentucky.

About the record: Starday 638, recorded March 5, 1963, at Starday Sound Studio north of Nashville. Released in July 1963. Also appeared on Sing Me A Bluegrass Song, Starday SLP-249, released December 1963.

Add Hylo Brown’s take on this Leon Payne number to the mini-genre of bluegrass trucking songs, such as “Widow Maker,” “There’s A Diesel On My Tail” and “Backin’ To Birmingham.” This is the story of a driver with a dangerous load who was kind enough to pick up a hitchhiker in California. But, he warns his waterlogged passenger, once they hit the downgrade, “if I’s to zig when I shoulda zagged, we’ll both leave a sweet memory.”

About the artist: Brown, who was associated with Flatt & Scruggs in the late ’50s and early ’60s, is well-regarded in bluegrass circles but obscure on the outside. As a songwriter, he played an indirect role in one past 3 Chords a Day post; his “The Grand Ole Opry Song,” as performed by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jimmy Martin, kicked off the landmark album Will The Circle Be Unbroken.

Learn more about Hylo Brown from his Allmusic.com bio.

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