American musician Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown brought it Texas Style
His highschool teacher in San Antonio, Texas said he had a voice like a “gate”, and since that day Clarence Brown would be called Gatemouth Brown. He is a multi instrumentalist and plays a whole lot more than just the Blues. Born in Louisiana and raised in Texas, Gatemouth was -as he describes-, an American and World musician: Texas style!
His Father was his biggest inspiration, but he also like big band music, Count Basie, T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan and Duke Ellington. At the age of five het started playing guitar and a few years later he mastered the fiddle. Later he was able to play an array of musical instruments such as mandolin, viola as well as harmonica and drums. He was able to play all styles of American roots, but Clarence Gatemouth Brown didn’t roll like that, he made his own music, his own songs, and his own arrangement based on all the music he liked.
San Antonio Ballbuster
My favorite album is “San Antonio Ballbuster, which was released in 1965 and later in the UK in 1974 and containes a compilation of Clarence Gatemouth Brown’s work in the period 1949-1959. On this album you hear a fine grooving mix of Blues, Rock ‘n Roll and Rhythm ‘nd Blues. Clarence Brown shows us how a guitarist in the famous tradition of Texas Bluesmen should sound like. Take one song to understand what I mena and listen to “Okie Dokie Stomp”. The songs is actually nothing more than a fine sounding solo, assisted bij a grooving horn ensemble.
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown at Home
At an older age Brown was interviewed by student of the Loyola University, New Orleans. In this clip you see a nice portrait of the musician and person Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. He talks about his life, music, and business. He discusses how he learned to play guitar, how he manages his affairs, where he gets his inspiration, and what he values in band members, and also shares some advice for beginning musicians. Find more documentaries on Artist House Music.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown on Fiddle
To get an impression of Clarence’s Fiddle skills listen to “Up Jumped The Devil”, a cajun song, impressive because of the swinging fiddle and honky piano. Ron Yule and Bill Burge wrote in ‘Louisiana Fiddlers’ page 38 a great article about Gatemouth’s fiddle style that is a mix of Cajun, up-tempo Country, Blues and Swing
He won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1983 for his album, Alright Again!. Brown is regarded as one of the most influential exponents of blues fiddle and has had enormous influence in American fiddle circles.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown lived until hurricane Katrina in Slidell Louisiana. Katrina forced him to move to Orange, where he passed away on September 10, 2005. Brown was an unique musician and an ambassador for American roots.