Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown was born on September 1924 in Vinton, Louisiana, and was raised in Orange, Texas. Brown was a highly acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, who played an impressive array of instruments such as guitar, fiddle, mandolin, viola as well as harmonica and drums.

His professional musical career began in 1945, playing drums in San Antonio. He was nicknamed "Gatemouth" for his deep voice. He received note, and his fame took off, during a 1947 concert by T-Bone Walker in a Houston nightclub. When Walker became ill, Brown took up his guitar and played "Gatemouth Boogie," to the delight of the audience.

In the 1960s he moved to Nashville to participate in a syndicated R&B television show, and while he was there recorded several country singles. By the late 60s he had decided to leave the music business and he moved to New Mexico and became a deputy sheriff. However, in the early 1970s several countries in Europe had developed an appreciation for American roots music, especially blues, and Brown was a popular and well-respected artist there. In the 1980s, a series of releases of old records revitalized his U.S. career and he toured extensively and internationally.

His guitar style influenced many other blues guitarists such as Albert Collins, Guitar Slim, J.J.Cale, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Frank Zappa named Brown as his all-time favorite guitarist. In his last few years, he maintained a full touring schedule, "People can't come to me, so I go to them," he explained. In September 2004, Brown was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on September 2005. MP3: Okie Dokie Stomp


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