All posts by dennybrownlee

The History of Seymour Swine and “Blue Christmas”

scan0001Dreams don’t always pan out the way we hope… in fact, I’m guessing they don’t most of the time.

In 1985, Sandy and I had dreams of launching an entertainment career.  After “Blue Christmas” had created such a buzz in Charlotte during the 1984 holidays, I was approached by a movie promoter and entrepreneur named Dan Burris.  Dan told us he thought we had a national hit on our hands.

WAIT!!!!  What? – you still don’t own a copy of this holiday “icon?”  Well – just click on Amazon or iTunes below and we can change all that!  For just 99 cents (or what you’d pay for about 3 oz. of latte at some fancy-schmancy coffee shop…) you can own “Blue Christmas” and impress your friends!!

That’s a $1.29 value!!  – Yours for only $.99!  What a deal!

Amazon

iTunes

This concludes our shameless self-promotion… now, back to our story….

So on a sticky Carolina afternoon in July ‘85, we met Dan at a popular Charlotte restaurant (Gus’ Sir Beef for you Charlotteans) to discuss that possibility.  The thinking was to first, get the rights to the song from the radio station who played it, then put out a single (a 45 rpm record, not long before those newfangled CDs started showing up).  Through Dan’s tireless efforts, by late October, we had about 20,000 copies pressed, and shipped to record stores (remember those?) throughout the Southeast, ready for the Christmas season.  The first copies (I don’t remember how many) were red vinyl with a pink label.  Traditional black vinyl copies came later.

By the end of Christmas 1985, we had sold a modest 5,500 or so copies of my single – but hey – I was now a recording artist!  Though sales didn’t break any records (pun intended) the song became the #1 requested holiday tune in several major markets like Atlanta, Miami and Nashville!

That’s when the real work started… mostly for Dan.  In early 1986 we recorded an EP (5 songs) at Reflections Studios in Charlotte.  What a blast!  Then Dan (not one for flying) took trains and automobiles to both New York and Nashville, and began diligently shopping the songs to music people:  agents, lawyers and labels.

In late summer 1986, we heard back from the A & R department (those who choose the songs/artists that will be produced) at CBS Records in Nashville.  They left this message on Dan’s answering machine, “We want the pig!”

I was about to get laid off from my construction job, but suddenly, I didn’t care!  I just knew I was moving to Nashville… how ironic.

But here’s where the dream took a hard left turn.

Days after being laid off, we learned that the president of CBS decided against the recording contract.  There was a lot of in-house turmoil, records were being replaced by CDs, and he didn’t feel like taking on a novelty act.

And just like that, we fell off the mountain.  While Dan continued to pursue some pretty big leads, that was as close as we came.  Soon the song made its way all over the country:  Kansas City – Honolulu – Detroit – even Dr. Demento’s show in L.A., where it played once again this year.

Yep, Dan was right – we had a national hit, alright.  In fact since those early days, it has played all over the world.  Places like Kuwait, Iceland, and Australia, to name a few.  We just didn’t get to “ride the wave.”

No, the dream didn’t pan out as intended.  But since hanging out with John-Boy and Billy way back then, I’ve been blessed to entertain and bring laughter to thousands, and “Blue Christmas” has  played only a small part.  I even received a letter once, from a very sick man who used that song to bring laughter- and healing – to his body.  He gives the song credit for helping save his life.  To God be the glory.

Turns out that silly song has done things… I never dreamed of.

And I’m certainly not done dreaming.

April Fools and the Easter Basket

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Why be foolish once this month when you can do it twice!   A visit from my friend Dr. Philbetter (that’s 1) leads us to a tale of hostility in an Easter Basket (that’s 2).  Featuring Bob Price, Sandy Brownlee, John Owens, and Randy Snavely in an Easter Basket Playhouse  (enjoy foolishly)

Easter-Candy

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day in Miss Dumpler’s Class

Hump day is a day late and a shamrock short for St. Patty, but never too late for a wee bit o’ blarney.  A blast from the past, it’s a St. Patrick’s Day Morning Show Playhouse from days gone by.  John and Denny early days MS Playhouse- Randy Sandy and Denny Featuring a cast of real characters –

John Owens as the perennial and full grown 1st grader Bobby;

Myself as 1st grade smart-aleck Joey;

Randy Snavely as the barely-house broken 1st grader Jimmy;

All taught by Miss Dumpler, played by Sandy Brownlee

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Someone We All Need – to Get Over the Hump!

Mic_Denny-logo3_1920x1080-blackbgWith everyone’s favorite Hump day (tax day ) looming – Here’s how I spell relief:  B-o-b.

 

When Genius Brother talksIn fact everyone needs one of these!  A tribute to my brother – whose birthday I recently let slip by.    And hoping that flattery will help him feel like doing my taxes again this year!

Because as you can see, when Bob points – people take note.