How Would “Fine Brown Frame” Do Today as a Song?

Recently, I heard this fantastic song called “Fine Brown Frame”, written by Guadalupe Cartiero and J. Mayo Williams.

The song refers to a fine body of someone with brown skin. Not just a fine body, but specifically a fine body of someone with brown skin. It’s the last part, which distinguishes this song from other songs about fine bodies, because the skin colour obviously makes a difference to add a racy tinge to a sexy song.

Listening to it, I can’t help but wonder how this song would have fared had it been written and released in this day and age. There are a lot of great things about this song, but the fact it was written in 1946 is my favourite part. The next time you think 40s music is pansy, you just keep in mind songs like this one. I’m not sure if there are a lot of established artists who would write a song like this today if they have intention of releasing it. Recording it because it’s an “oldie” is another matter cause you’re just covering it. To dare pen something like this is something else.

Any thoughts? Original lyrics are below. The version above was recorded in 1989 by Diane Reeves and Lou Rawls so there are more modern famous people referenced.

Oh, he’s got a fine brown frame
I wonder what could be his name
He looks good to me, and all I can see
Is his fine brown frame

How long have you been around
Mister when did you hit this big town
I wanna scream ‘cos I’ve never seen
Such a fine brown frame

All that I have is a broken down chair
But I would gladly make him king on my throne
Don’t be a square, why don’t you come over here
Together we would really be gone

Woh-ooh! he’s got a fine brown frame
I wonder what could be his name
He is solid with me, and all I can see
Is his fine brown frame

Be be be be beep
He’s got such a fine brown frame
I wonder what could be his name
He looks good to me, and all I can see
Is his fine brown frame

How long have you been around
Mister when did you hit this big town
I wanna scream, aahhhh, ‘cos I’ve never seen
Such a fine brown frame

All that I have is a broken down chair
But I would gladly make him king on my throne
Don’t be a square, why don’t you come over here
Together we would really be gone

Ooohh, he’s such a fine brown frame
Honey won’t you tell me your name
He is solid with me and all I can see
Is his fine brown frame

Now Robert Taylor, Robert Young, Ameche and Gable
Are all as fine as mountain sable
You may not be classed with the elite
And you may not be hip to that jive-like foot, an’ all reet

Oh-woh-woh-woh baby you, you look like Hercules done up in bronze
And I know I’m a clown whenever you’re around
Because I’m crazy ’bout, mad about, wild about
Your fine brown frame

Other versions:

  • Buddy Johnson & His Orch. (vocal: Etta Johnson) – 1946
  • Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – 1948
  • Ruth Brown – 1958
  • Lou Rawls with Dianne Reeves – 1989
  • The Blues Band – 1993
  • Johnny Nocturne Band with Kim Nalley – 1999
  • Phil Mason’s All Stars (vocal: Christine Tyrell) – 2000
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