Clarence “Gatemouth’ Brown was a American blues musician. He was born on April 18, 1924 in Vinton, Louisiana.
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown played an array of musical instruments such as guitar, fiddle, mandolin, viola, harmonica, and drums, he was an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist. His album ‘Alright Again’ won him a Grammy Award for Traditional Blues in 1983.
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was born in Vinton, Louisiana and raised in Orange, Texas. He began his professional musical career playing drums in San Antonio, Texas in 1945. Clarence Brown was tagged with the name ‘Gatemouth’ as one of his high school instructor accused him of having a ‘voice like a gate’ and Brown used it to his advantage throughout his memorable career. His suddenly prepared note bought him the fame in a concert by T-Bone Walker in Don Robey’s Bronze Peacock Houston nightclub.
Clarence ‘Gatemoouth’ Brown took his guitar and played ‘Gatemouth Boogie’ to the delight of the audience when T-Bone Walker was ill. He learnt to play other instruments along with guitar while he was in Texas.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown moved to Nashville, Tennessee to participate in a syndicated ‘R&B Television’ show and he recorded several country singles while he was there in 1960s. He made several appearances on the television show ‘Hee Haw’ by making freindhip with Roy Clark a well known country music musician, performer and best known for hosting ‘Hee Haw’ television shows. He decided to leave music industry and moved to New Mexico and became deputy sheriff in the late 1970s.
American roots music had developed an appreciation in several countries of Europe in the early 1970s especially blues and Clarence Brown was a popular and well-respected artist there. Brown toured Europe from the beginning of 1971 and continuing throughout the 1970s for around 12 times. After he becoming an official ambassador for American music he participated in several tours sponsored by the U.S State Department which includes an extensive tour of Eastern Africa. He recorded as a sideman with the Professor Longhair the New Orleans pianist on his album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Gumbo’ in 1974 and then he moved to New Orleans in the late 1970s.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown toured extensively and internationally after his series of releases on ‘Rounder Records’ and ‘Alligator Records’ in his U.S career by playing between 250 and 300 shows a year.
The album ‘Alright Again’ won him the ‘Grammy Award’ and was nominated for five more in 1983.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown awards include ‘Grammy Award for his album ‘Alright Again’ in 1983, Eight ‘W.C Handy Awards’, ‘National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences ‘Heroes Award’, Honored by the ‘Rhythm and Blues Foundation’ in 1997 and became a member of the ‘Blues Hall of Fame’ in 1999.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown planned and toured Australia, New Zealand and countries with political conflicts in Central America, Africa and the former Soviet Union in his last few years by telling “People Can’t come to me, so I go to them”.
Brown was suffering from emphysema and heart disease and he was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in September 2004. He died on September 10, 2005 in Orange, Texas at his brother’s home.
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown albums include:
- 1972 - The Blues Ain't Nothin'
- 1973 - Cold Strange
- 1973 - Sings Louis Jordan
- 1973 - Drifter Rides Again
- 1974 - Gate's on the Heat
- 1974 - Down South in Bayou County
- 1975 - Bogalusa Boogie Man
- 1976 - Blackjack
- 1977 - Heatwave
- 1979 - Makin' Music
- 1981 - Alright Again!
- 1982 - One More Mile
- 1986 - Real Life
- 1989 - Standing My Ground
- 1992 - No Looking Back
- 1994 - The Man
- 1996 - Long Way Home
- 1997 - Gate Swings
- 1999 - American Music, Texas Style
- 2001 - Back to Bogalusa
- 2004 - Timeless