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Monday, February 25, 2008

The Brolin Connection

Mike and I watched the Academy Awards last night. We watch all the award shows. When Josh Brolin took the stage as a presenter, Mike immediately made two observations:
(1) Josh now looks just like his dad, and
(2) he’d changed a lot since Mike had last seen him.

You recall that Mike used to play with Tony Joe White – Polk Salad Annie, Rainy Night in Georgia, and so forth. The next step in this seven degrees (or less) of separation is that Tony Joe owned a ranch and rode Appaloosa horses. James Brolin also owned Appaloosa horses. That’s how Tony Joe and Brolin became friends.

This was back in the day when Brolin was extremely popular as young Dr. Kiley on the Marcus Welby tv show. As it happens with many actors, Brolin decided that he wanted to cut a record, and he called on his friend Tony Joe to bring his band and meet with him to pursue the subject.

And that’s how Mike came to hang out for a few days at James Brolin’s house in the Hollywood Hills. The large property featured a big, lovely home, stables and space for his Appaloosas to romp. Brolin’s birthday fell during the visit, so Tony Joe brought him a ping-pong table. Mike remembers all of them putting the table together and playing several games over the next few days. On the first night, they were Brolin’s guests for dinner at his home, and the cook prepared a tasty Mexican dinner. They basically just hung out together for the next few days. Mike remembers a basketball game played behind some recording studio.

Brolin was a great guy and very down to earth. In fact, when Brolin took the group to the airport on the day they left, Mike noticed that, as usual, folks were snapping photos. He presumed they were just taking note of Tony. Then he remembered – oh yeah, Jim’s famous. Josh, who was four or five at the time, was a typical, rambunctious kid having a super time running around the house and yard.

Brolin ultimately came to Memphis for a recording session using Mike and the rest of Tony’s band, but nothing came of it. Brolin is an excellent actor, handsome guy, and reportedly a fine husband to Barbra Streisand. A singer? Not so much.

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