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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



19 commentaires:

  1. BLUES GUITAT MASTERS Vol. 10/ Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown 1964-66

    OK? And thanks for the feeback

  2. Wow - many thanks, Gerard. I'm a huge Gate fan, and was fortunate enough to see him perform many times in the 80s through his last gigs before Katrina.

  3. Excelent, many thanks, master.

  4. Done it again! Thank you, dear Gerard. This is certainly a period in Clarence Career which needed to be well documented. Keep up with the good work!

  5. TYVM Gerard. You've provided a few tracks that I missed in my collection of Gatemouth.

  6. Fine, thank you for posting, Gerard!

  7. Many thanks Gerard, as always your contributions are very much appreciated.

  8. Merci Gerard , much appreciated another stellar collection !

  9. "OK" doesn't cut anywhere close to it!
    More outstanding music brought to us by the Doctor of Blues history Mr Herzhaft!

  10. Thanks Gerard. This fills some holes I had in my Gatemouth section of my music collection. I had the good fortune of interviewing him once for my radio show and got to see him a few times. An amazing talent

  11. Really great to have these recordings !! Thank You !!

  12. Yet Another Nice Gift From Your Vaults !

  13. Thanks for these fine 60's recordings. I was hoping for some fiddle. And there's actually more than I expected - a great bonus!

  14. Great comp Gerard (as always)! Many years ago prior to The Beat being reissued and widely available I made Gate a compilation video of all of his house band tunes from The Beat. Gave it to him when he came to play a boat cruise in Boston. At the time a friend of mine was in his band.

  15. Thank you so much! Nice to see David Fathead Newman on sax!

  16. I saw Gatemouth once at a medium sized club in Pittsburgh. Probaby in the 1990's. I was amazed by the concert, and immensely amused by Gatemouth in many ways. Such as the fact that he gave free autographs after the show, but you had to pay for a 8x10 photo for him to sign. He also sold Gatemouth Brown pipe tobacco. Onstage, at one point, he turned around with his back to crowd and played an amazing solo. When he turned back around, he said something like "I'm not going to let all you guitar players steal my licks".