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samedi 13 mars 2021



TEXAS BLUES/ Volume 09



After our Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown post, let's stay in Texas with a 9th volume of our popular series about "Texas blues"... yesterday of course and as usual in this blog!

            Bassist and bandleader Milton Willis (12 December 1929 in Houston, † 13 September 2005 in Houston) played quite frequently around Houston during the late 1940's before embarking in a long career in radio and broadcast programmes. He was general manager of the KODA radio station in the 1970's. Willis recorded only six tracks with his excellent Texas band comprising saxophonists like R.P. Rogers, Popeye Whitehead, Elmore Nixon on the 88s and featuring Hubert Robinson or Popeye Whitehead as vocalists. Here are four of his quite rare tracks. The last two Lost you and Take me back again are here, thanks to our generous friend Mike from Australia.

            Singer and pianist Lonnie Lyons (born 29 September 1926 in Galveston, † 12 August 1953 in Houston) also played regularly in and around Houston with his own and various other bands during the immediate post-war years. Strongly influenced by fellow Texans Amos Milburn and Charles Brown, Lyons recorded 13 great tracks for Freedom and Gold Star with a tough band featuring excellent guitarist Goree Carter. Some of his numbers had been widely reissued through the years but other are much hard to find. I have managed to gather all his recordings minus 4 titles. Again, if anyone would want to share those rarities, it would be great. And thanks to our generous friend Mike from Australia here are two very rare Lyons's tracks (Lonely heart blues / Barrelhouse nightcap)


Singer Mabel Franklin (born 24 August 1919 in New Orleans - † 21 April 1997 in Houston) gained some reputation thanks to a handful of down home blues records she made with guitarist D.C. Bender between 1965 and 1967. She stopped singing the blues in the 1970's to become a Minister of God and waxed some Gospel records later on, even a whole and very rare album with her Franklin Singers I came to Jesus.

            Clarence "Candy" Green (Clarence Wilbert Green) is another two fisted Texas pianist and singer (born in Galveston 15 March 1929 - † 3 April 1988 in Houston). He recorded three 78s between 1948 and 1952, played in New York and Mexico before relocating in Scandinavia, playing all over Europe in night clubs and venues and alongside the Leo Wright's band, entertaining American soldiers in West Germany. He also recorded a LP for the Supraphon label, reissued on JSP. Clarence "Candy" Green must not be confused with fellow Texas guitarist Clarence Green.

                              Gérard HERZHAFT



MILTON WILLIS,bs; Leon "Popeye" Whitehead, a-sax; R.P. Rogers, t-sax; Joe Jones, pno; Johnnie Jackson, dms. Houston, Tx. décembre 1948

01. Five ace boogie

02. You know I love you baby (vcl: Leon Whitehead)

Milton Willis, bs; Elmore Nixon, pno; R.P. Rogers, t-sax; Johnnie Jackson, dms. Houston, Tx. février 1949

03. Little Joe's boogie

04. Three o'clock blues (vcl: Hubert Robinson)

Lost you

Take me back again

LONNIE LYONS, vcl/pno; band. Houston, Tx. 10 septembre 1947

Never trust a woman

10 o'clock jump

Lonnie Lyons, vcl/pno; Nelson Mills, tpt; Conrad Johnson, a-sax; Sam Williams, t-sax; Goree Carter, g; Louis Pitts, bs; Allison Tucker, dms. Houston, Tx. juin 1949

05. Far away blues

06. Fly chick bounce

Lonely heart blues

Barrelhouse nightcap

Lonnie Lyons, vcl/pno; Nelson Mills, tpt; Conrad Johnson, a-sax; Sam Williams, t-sax; Goree Carter, g; Louis Pitts, bs; Allison Tucker, dms. Houston, Tx. septembre 1949

07. Neat and sweet I & II

08. Helpless

09. Down in the groovy

10. Betrayed

11. Sneaky Joe

Lonnie Lyons, vcl/pno; Henry Hayes, a-sax; Goree Carter, g; Don Cooks, bs; Ben Turner, dms. Houston, Tx. 1950

12. I need romance

13. I'm waiting baby

MABEL FRANKLIN, vcl; D.C. Bender, g; C.W. Thornton, dms. Houston, Tx. 1965

14. Let's do the wiggle

15. Dream I had last night

Mabel Franklin, vcl; band. Houston, Tx. 1965

16. Come on and go

Mabel Franklin, vcl; D.C. Bender, g; Bob Goodwill, pno; Big H. Williams, g; Oscar Adams, bs; Ivory Lee Semien, dms. Houston, Tx. 11 juillet 1967

17. Lucille leave my man alone

18. Unhappy woman

19. I'm going home to rest

20. Make up your mind

Mabel Franklin, vcl; D.C. Bender, g; Big Houston Williams, bs; Ivory Lee Semien, dms. Houston, Tx. 16 juillet 1967

21. Wiggle wiggle

CLARENCE "CANDY" GREEN, vcl/pno; Johnny Fontenette, t-sax; Horace Richmond, bs; Rigs Bolden, dms. Houston, Tx. 1948

22. Galveston blues

23. Green's bounce

Clarence "Candy" Green, vcl/pno; Bill Harvey, t-sax; tpt; a-sax; Fred Ford, b-sax; poss. Pee Wee Crayton, g; Johnny Parker, bs; dms. Houston, Tx. 1950

24. Hard headed woman

25. Until the end

Clarence "Candy" Green, vcl/pno; Rathe Lee, t-sax; Kinroy Bailey, bs; Lawrence Harris, dms. Houston, Tx. 1952

26. My time is your time

27. Bye baby bye

mercredi 3 mars 2021



CLARENCE 'Gatemouth" BROWN 1964-66




    Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (born 18th April 1924 at Vinton, La - † 10 September 2005 at Orange, Tx) is of course a very well known bluesman, generally hailed as one of the master Texas style guitarists. But he is of course much more than that, a good fiddler, harmonica player, occasionally drummer and even a pianist (I saw him play quite well this instrument before a concert), a great singer, showman and talented composer.... In fact, his talents stretched far beyond the blues. As he was exposed during his youth to the best Western Swing bands, he learned a lot from them and was always full of appreciation for Bob and Johnny Lee Wills, Milton Brown and many other Western Swing creators. He then was very comfortable to play Country Music: I saw him during the Montreux Jazz Festival 1979 playing before two different audiences first on the Country Music scene (jamming with Roy Clark, Buck Trent or Barbara Mandrell) during the afternoon and a few hours after on the blues scene during the evening! And of course he made several good Country Music and Cajun albums alongside people like Asleep at the Wheel or Roy Clark. Gate was also a very nice jazzman and although he didn't have the chance to prove it on his US recordings, thanks to French promoters like Jean Marie Monestier, Brown recorded several jazz or very jazzy albums for Black & Blue, backing tastefully many jazz musicians.

            His first recordings for Aladdin and Peacock from the 1940's to 1960 are very well documented, reissued and largely available. But the early 1960's were a little bit lean years for Gate and he had to hold a day job outside of music for bread and butter. Between 1964 and 1966, he had the opportunity to resume his musical career, leading the house band for the pioneering Soul and blues TV program The Beat! produced and hosted by Hoss Allen and broadcasted from Nashville.


Photo by Jean Pierre Leloir from my book
 "Nouvelle Encyclopédie du blues"

During this short two years terms, Gate (with probably his Nashville band) recorded again several sessions for small labels, one of those sessions being finally issued later on by the British Charly label which found the unissued tapes on the Chess vaults! Gate was of course playing great music on The Beat! and a couple of his tunes have been issued on a Hoss Allen's compilation CD. Some others, picked from TV programmes, are displayed here for the first time.

            After 1966, Gate had very few gigs, couldn't keep a band and once again had to take a job outside music (he told us he was a sheriff somewhere in Louisiana!).

            Fortunately, after 1971 French tour operator brought Gate back on music. He was featured alongside Jimmy Dawkins, Big Joe Williams, Cousin Joe et al at the very successful Chicago blues Festival 1971. Although of course his links with the Chicago blues weren't obvious, Gate stole the shows almost everywhere, amazing blues fans with his showmanship and extraordinary guitar playing. So, Gatemouth came back very often in Europe during the subsequent years, recording a lot of very good albums and, finally, making it again in his home country, headlining a lot of big US Festivals and recording more albums, particularly two masterpieces for Rounder.

            I have gathered, I hope!, all his 1964-66 recordings, 45s, odd sessions, TV show etc...  which are not easily available and never displayed as a whole. I feel it fills a gap between his two careers and testifies of the same great skills during this decade than before or after!

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT



CLARENCE "GATEMOUTH" BROWN 1964-66/ Blues Guitar Masters Volume 10

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. August 1964

01. Summertime I & II

02. Leftover blues

Clarence "Gatmouth" Brown, vcl/g/hca; band. Houston, Tx. july1965

03. The cricket

04. Okie Dokie 65

05. Here I am

06. Chicken shake

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, vcl/g; band. Houston, Tx. 2 september 1965

07. The grass is always greener

08. It's alright

09. Stop what you're doing to me

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, vcl/g/fdl/hca; Harrison Calloway, tpt; Mitch Arlen,tpt; David Newman, t-sax; Harvey Thompson, t-sax; Skippy Brooks, pno; Johnny Jones, g; Billy Cox, bs; Freeman Brown, dms. Nashville, Tn. avril 1965

10. May the bird of paradise? I & II

11. Cross my heart

12. Don't start me to talking

13. Gate's salty blues

14. My time is expensive

15. Ninety nine

16. Going down slow

17. Long way home

18. Tippin' in

19. For now so long

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, vcl/g/fdl/hca; Harrison Calloway, tpt; Mitch Arlen,tpt; David Newman, t-sax; Harvey Thompson, t-sax; Skippy Brooks, pno; Johnny Jones, g; Billy Cox, bs; Freeman Brown, dms. Nashville, Tn. 1965-66

20. Have you ever been mistreated

21. The Beat Medley

22. When the blue moon turns to gold again

23. Hot times tonight

24. Milk cow blues

25. Playboy n°2

26. I want you for my girlfriend