Music

Who Sang 'Brother Jukebox' Better: Mark Chesnutt or Keith Whitley?

Image courtesy of Music City Media and Wikimedia Commons/Vistadeck

Paul Craft, the Memphis-born songwriter behind Ray Stevens' novelty hit "It's Me Again, Margaret," also wrote a No. 1 for Mark Chesnutt, "Brother Jukebox."

The song dates back to the '70s, when Don Everly of the Everly Brothers first recorded it for his 1976 solo album, styled as Brother Juke-Box. Despite anchoring a solid collection of country-rock tunes, Everly's honky-tonk throwback barely cracked the Billboard Hot Country Country songs' Top 100. Longtime Seldom Scene member John Starling recorded it around the same time for his album Long Time Gone.

Craft's song resurfaced in 1989 on Keith Whitley's posthumous album I Wonder Do You Think of Me. Whitley's final LP introduced a new wave of country fans to not just "Brother Jukebox" but also a future Top 15 single for Travis Tritt, "Between an Old Memory and Me."

A song that'd been great from the word "go" finally had its moment in country music after Chesnutt recorded it for his debut album for MCA Records, Too Cold at Home. It's a nice, sentimental counter-punch on any Chesnutt greatest hits playlist to the more raucous and light-hearted "Bubba Shot the Jukebox."

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With all due respect to Don Everly and Starling, if you've got a favorite version, it's more than likely by either Whitley, a neo-traditional force in the '80s, or Chesnutt, a leading voice of '90s country. Which side are you on?

"Brother Jukebox" Lyrics

Brother jukebox, sister wine
Mother freedom, father time
Since she left me by myself
You're the only family I've got left

I go down to that same old cafe
Where I try to wash my troubles away
I'm still down, and I'm still all alone
But it beats staying home all night long

Brother jukebox, sister wine
Mother freedom, father of time
Since she left me by myself
You're the only family I've got left

I go home and I climb that old stairway
And I tell myself: "Tomorrow's a new day"
But I know I'll just go down again
And spend my time with my new next-of-kin

Brother jukebox, sister wine
Mother freedom, father time
Since she left me by myself
You're the only family I've got left

Brother jukebox, sister wine
Mother freedom, father time
Since she left me by myself
You're the only family I've got left

You're the only family I've got left

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Who Sang 'Brother Jukebox' Better: Mark Chesnutt or Keith Whitley?