Sign up for newsletter
 

Down in Orburndale: A Songwriter's Youth in Old Florida

By Bobby Braddock

Louisiana University Press, 271 pages, $24.95

Reviewed by C. Eric Banister, August 2007

Find it on Amazon
Bobby Braddock is, like many songwriters, not quite a household name although many of his songs are. Braddock has written or co-written many country classics including "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," "Golden Ring," "Catch a Falling Star" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

Known as a songwriter and musician, Braddock has added author to his list of accomplishments with the release of "Down in Orburndale: a Songwriters Youth in Old Florida." "Orburndale" is the old south pronunciation of Auburndale, Fla, Braddock's hometown.

The book starts with the courtship of Braddock's parents, his father, a well-to-do owner of several citrus groves, and his mother a young women 25 years his junior.

Braddock is a fantastic storyteller and showcases his way with words weaving tales of his youth and the role music played in his early life. The wit that has brought us songs like "You Can't Have Your Kate and Edith, Too" and "I Wanna Talk About Me" is evident throughout the book and brings the characters alive.

Throughout the book, we are introduced to numerous characters that played pivotal roles in his life. We meet family members and friends, such as Red Cannon and the musician Dub, who gives Braddock and company one of his first paying gigs in music. Dub also gave Braddock his first lesson in the half-truths and outright deceptions that run rampant in the music business.

Interesting tidbits are scattered throughout, such as the fact that Braddock believes he may be the reincarnation of a German pilot gunned down in WWII and reincarnated some 14 months later when Braddock was born in 1940. He doesn't elaborate much on this belief other than telling of random dreams of explosions, speaking German in his sleep and a dreadful fear of flying.

His love of music started early hearing his parents sing around the house and later in getting into the dawn of rock 'n' roll. He tells of getting into country music through a friend in high school even though he had ignored it for many years. It is at this point he says, "Rock 'n' roll had my body, but country had my heart."

The book takes us up to his marriage and learning that his wife is with child. As they are driving north to Tennessee in 1964, the book ends.

The ending isn't quite a cliffhanger, but it ends before Braddock rolls into Nashville, becomes Marty Robbins' piano player, takes over Roger Miller's writing spot at Tree Publishing and goes one to pen many great country songs. The book holds many interesting and funny stories, but if you are looking for stories of '60s and '70s Nashville, they won't be found here. Although this book is great in itself, hopefully there is a second volume in the works.