Mention the banjo and Red Brown and it will be assumed the color of the finish on the instrument's neck is being described. There was also a banjo picker named Red Brown, real name Joe Barnes and stage billing "Red Brown the Banjo Maniac," when he could get away with it. The banjoist was introduced to western swing and country listening audience by the Tune Wranglers, an innovative Texas band from the mid-'30s that featured fiddler and singer Charlie Gregg and guitarist and lead vocalist Buster Coward. Barnes was the replacement for Eddie Fielding, and he began hiding behind the stage name of Red Brown shortly thereafter; he plays in such an inspired manner that critics are motivated to find shadings, references, and foreshadowings of all manner of phenomena in the notes of recorded solos left behind.

Not that this task would require all that much contrivance. Brown is an inspired banjoist, and the music of the Tune Wranglers seemed to go through a sprouting process over the years, new genre interests coming to crop like mushrooms after three days of rain. By the time Brown blew, the band's brew had just been re-flavored with Hawaiian spice and a triumphant reception from Spanish-speaking listeners as part of the Tune Wranglers legacy, as well as an eventual required element in the Tex-Mex musical regimen. The banjoist is featured on a good number of the some 70 sides cut by the Tune Wranglers for RCA, which also include cowboy songs such as the enjoyable "I'll Be Hanged if They're Gonna Hang Me," the hokum that is "Tight Like That," and even some jug band material. When using his stage name, banjoist Red Brown should not be confused with the bassist and trombonist Tom Brown, who sometimes called himself Red Brown on-stage. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi