September 11, 2005 at 6:47 am #48456
wow this truely is a time of great passings… first R.L. and now Clarence Gatemouth Brown. I tell you what the jukejoint sure is hopping on the other side of the river …
BATON ROUGE, LA. – Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown , the singer and guitarist who built a 50-year career playing blues, country, jazz and Cajun music, died Saturday in his hometown of Orange, where he had gone to escape Hurricane Katrina. He was 81.
Brown had been battling lung cancer and heart disease, said Rick Cady , his booking agent.
Cady said the musician was with his family at his brother’s house when he died. Brown’s home in Slidell, La., a bedroom community of New Orleans, was destroyed by Katrina.
"He was completely devastated," Cady said. "I’m sure he was heartbroken, both literally and figuratively. He evacuated successfully before the hurricane hit, but I’m sure it weighed heavily on his soul."
Although his career first took off in the 1940s with Okie Dokie Stomp and Ain’t That Dandy , Brown bristled when he was labeled a bluesman.
In the second half of his career, he became known as a musical jack-of-all-trades who played a half-dozen instruments and culled from jazz, country, Texas blues, and the zydeco and Cajun music of his native Louisiana.
By the end of his career, Brown had more than 30 recordings and won a Grammy award in 1982.
"I’m so unorthodox, a lot of people can’t handle it," Brown said in a 2001 interview.
His versatility came partly from a childhood in the musical mishmash of southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas. He was born in Vinton, La., and grew up in Orange.
In his teens, Brown toured as a drummer with swing bands and was nicknamed "Gatemouth" for his deep voice. After a brief stint in the Army, he returned in 1945 to Texas, where he was inspired by blues guitarist T-Bone Walker .
Survivors include three daughters and a son.September 11, 2005 at 11:49 am #112573
Very sad to hear this.Back in my mid teens I listened to alot of blues and Gate was one of my faves.My friend did`nt like much blues but he loved Gatemouth.He had this walkman with a small speaker and nearly got kicked out of english class for playing Gatemouth.How many grade 10 students had Gate on their walkman?yeah we were weirdSeptember 14, 2005 at 2:13 pm #112574
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