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For years I had heard the song “Highway Patrol” used as bumper music on the Motor Man car-talk radio show on Sunday mornings on 790 KABC. I had no idea who Junior Brown was...

Then last week I was searching online for a karaoke version of the song “Hot Rod Lincoln” and up pops the “Highway Patrol” video by Junior Brown. I watched several other Junior Brown songs on YouTube. As they say in the South, this guy was as cool as a fan.

I went to Brown’s website to see when he might be playing in San Diego. To my surprise, his San Diego stop was only one week away at the Belly Up. I bought tickets the next day.

With a deep baritone voice and rodeo-style, high-brimmed cowboy hat, Junior Brown can best be described as a cross between the Western swing of Little Jimmy Dickens and the honky-tonkin’ of Country Dick Montana, with some Dick Dale surf guitar thrown in for fun.

Brown is best known for his signature instrument, the “guit-steel” guitar – a double-neck hybrid of electric guitar and a lap slide steel guitar.

He started off his 15-song set with “Broke Down South of Dallas” from that 2005 CD. Brown led his four-piece band from one song into the next, with very little dead air or chitchat between tunes.

The set included the cuts “Long Walk Back to San Antone,” “Hang Up and Drive,” “Lifeguard Larry,” “Phantom of the Opry,” and “Freedom Machine.” The crowd sang alone to his biggest hit, “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead,” which charted in 1996 to number 68 on Billboard’s Hot Country 100.

The 75-minute performance ended with Brown’s classic surf medley of “Pipeline,” “Walk Don’t Run,” and “Secret Agent Man.”

This show was cool as a fan!

  • Concert: Junior Brown
  • Date: June 18
  • Venue: Belly Up
  • Seats: Stage left
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