Clarence ‘gatemouth’ Brown

Whatever you do, don’t refer to multi-instrumentalist Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown as a bluesman, although his imprimatur on the development of Texas blues is enormous. He’ll be furious. You can call the legend an eclectic Texas musician master who is interested in almost every root genre. Growing up in Orange TX, Brown learned the importance of versatility. His father was a popular local musician who specialized on bluegrass, Cajun and country music. Gate became enthralled by big bands like Count Basie and Lionel Hampton later in life. Brown’s signature song, “Take the ‘A’ Train,” remains a rousing rendition. Brown was tagged with the “Gatemouth,” handle by a high-school instructor, who claimed Brown had a “voice that sounds like a gate.” He has used this handle to his advantage throughout his long and successful career. His guitar-wielding brother James “Widemouth”, recorded “Boogie Woogie Nighthawk”, for Jax in 1951. Robey took over Brown’s career in 1947 after Gate’s spontaneous fill-in at Don Robey, a Houston entrepreneur. Two singles for Aladdin were not enough to convince Robey to start his Peacock label in 1949. This was to showcase Brown’s blistering riffs and proved to be influential to a multitude of Houston string-benders like Johnny Copeland (Albert Collins), Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Cal Green, among others, who have all pledged their support to Brown’s riffs. Peacock and Duke were successful in the 1950s and 1960s. Peacock remained with Gate until 1960. The R

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