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I know what you’re all thinking… all of these record reviews are really nice to read. They’re informative, entertaining and illuminating in showing how rock ‘n’ roll music progressed over the past 75 years. It’s frankly amazing that they remain free to read, especially at the rate of practically two new ones per day.

But as appreciative as all of you undoubtedly are for this service, what you REALLY are hoping we’ll get around to someday is penning a love advice column.

After all, who else but a rock historian could be better equipped to tell you what you’re doing wrong when it comes to having a happy, healthy romantic relationship?

Surely not a rock ‘n’ roll singer!

Yet that’s precisely what Tommy Brown is attempting to do on this record and so, as a public service to our grateful readers, we’ll take this opportunity to set Mr. Brown straight and in doing so improve your own pitiful chances at finding true love, all for no extra charge!

The holidays are here, so consider it a gift!


Then You’ll Find Out…
They say you can tell a lot about someone by what they say about others.

A happy well-adjusted person doesn’t rail against perceived enemies. A generous person can’t be bothered to keep track of who owes them a dinner invite. A successful person never concerns themselves with pointing out the lack of achievement in others. A confident person feels no need to criticize people for being ugly, awkward or stupid.

Those who do those things are putting others down in the hopes it makes them look better by highlighting what they perceive to be their own strengths in comparison to those around them. In reality it only exposes their own weakness of character.

The one area you’ll see this happen in all the time, even among people who otherwise are fairly even-tempered personalities, is when it comes to relationships.

Since most people are hoping to attract someone they themselves are attracted to, knowing that they’re not alone in wanting this person as a mate, those who perpetually fear they’re not good enough to capture their heart will invariably bad mouth any rival, get insanely jealous of anyone that person speaks to, and will often wish somebody’s gruesome demise just to get them out of the way and thin the competition.

Needless to say these people are going to wind up bitter and alone more often than not.

But then there are those who have already come to that conclusion on their own and fearing they have no chance to remedy that situation through self-improvement and a much needed infusion of confidence, instead turn their wrath against those who they feel rejected them and make broad accusations such as Never Trust A Woman, looking to make the entire female populace seem unappealing in order to justify their own solitary existence.

What none of these morons realize is the more you criticize, the more you draw attention to your own deficiencies, something that Tommy Brown apparently was never told and so he insists on embarrassing himself in public by showing the world his shortcomings as a human being.


I Used To Have A Woman
It’s obvious from the stark outline of the song that Tommy Brown feels he’s been burned by love. Every line levies a specific charge against a lone woman he knew, then concludes this applies to ALL women.

Talk about taking it personally.

In Brown’s defense let’s readily admit that being lied to, cheated on, taken advantage of or otherwise deceived in a relationship is a terrible thing to go through and if he’d left it at that, he’d have our sympathy.

But while his hurt and subsequent anger are understandable, what he needs to do is take a step back and realize that this woman’s transgressions simply reveal her OWN lack of high standards and that while diving into the gutter to slug it out with her by throwing around these accusations might salve your wounds temporarily, it doesn’t make you feel any better because you’re constantly forced to relive the events each time you go into detail about them to somebody else.

Furthermore, by doing so you’ve just shown that the woman has hurt you twice, first by the actions themselves, then by your ongoing depression over her actions. Though he’s got a legitimate reason to lash out, by saying Never Trust A Woman and by painting all females in existence with the same brush you’ve lessened your own appeal to the NEXT woman that comes along who probably won’t be anything like the one who did you wrong.

Brown sings all this with genuine pain in his voice, keeping himself reined in for the most part which is a good sign for the listenability of the record… provided you can tolerate the broadsides against half of humanity. With the band slowly churning behind him, this would work better if you could somehow ignore what he’s saying completely.

But you can’t do that. He himself doesn’t WANT you to do that! He’s trying to hurt his ex-girlfriend by airing out their dirty laundry this way and so we have no choice but to pay attention and consider his accusations, which in turn means we’re going to wind up thinking less of him over his need for retribution in the process.

The key line here, the one which shows why he was doomed to fail with women in the first place, is when he says you can’t trust one “unless you got her by your side”.

That’s the root of his problem in a nutshell. He doesn’t view women as independent and equal partners, but rather he feels the need to possess them, control them, which only speaks to his own insecurity.

Men who are constantly afraid of being replaced are telling you ladies that they too know they’re not worth keeping. Jealous and wracked with self-doubt, Tommy Brown no doubt got what he had coming to him and though his performance as a singer here is fine, it’s his self-absorbed woe-is-me personality we can’t abide.

Things I Thought…
Unfortunately this malady is not confined to just Tommy Brown, although he does seem a bit more angry over things than others who have mined the same territory on different songs with the exact same titles over the years.

Louis Jordan came out with one of these back in his heyday as the top act in the pre-rock scene but his reputation as a purveyor of humor in songs takes the edge off, as does the fact his complaints are just that… gripes about behavior more than accusations about specific actions. You can envision him rolling his eyes as he sings about it which tells you he’s mostly just blowing off steam.

B.B. King later cut the same song and while he was a huge fan of Jordan he never had the same inclination for laughs beyond a stray line or two, so he leans more into the exasperation than the wry humor and it doesn’t work as well, though at least it never becomes vindictive.

The funniest song with this title comes from Tex Williams in 1947 whose completely different composition – albeit about the same topic – uses a talking blues style where he’s commenting on things he finds inexplicable about women, shaking his head in wonder how they behave rather than looking to take off her head behind closed doors.

But when Tommy Brown cries out Never Trust A Woman it’s as a warning… a self-indulgent rant based on his failure with one girl which he then extrapolates to criticize womanhood as a whole.

It’s easy enough to dismiss what he says as merely the defeatist attitude of someone who likely won’t be getting many more shots with the fairer sex after this, if only because of his own growing distrust and accompanying anxieties, but while those of us who scoff at his perceptions are not bothered by him declaring himself a loser in love and blaming his downfall on his opponent, that doesn’t mean we want to be hanging around him if he’s going to be such a crybaby about it either.

So the advice is, if you want to a woman to value you and be happy that you’re together, first you have to value yourself. Once you do that there’ll be no shortage of great girls to choose from.


(Visit the Artist page of Tommy Brown for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)