Personalities | Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, violin, vocals, 1924–2005)

Clarence Brown Jr. was born in Vinton, Louisiana and raised in Orange, Texas. By the age of 10 he had learned guitar and violin. After the Second World War he settled in the Houston, Texas area. He made his recording debut in 1947 for Aladdin and signed with Peacock Records in 1949. Brown formed his own group, Gate’s Express, in 1953, which continued on until his death in 2005. He toured Europe in 1971 and became a frequent overseas traveller.

Brown began to freelance his recording opportunities in the 1960s. He expanded his musical palette by adding country, jazz and Cajun material to his repertoire. On guitar, his signature tune ‘Okie Dokie Stomp’ exemplified his style of rapid, single notes. He used his violin more when playing other styles but it was also very effective on slow blues. Brown was first known as an instrumentalist, although his recordings of recent years have been mostly vocals. He was one of the great modern Texas guitarists, along with T-Bone Walker and Albert Collins.

Styles & Forms | Fifties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Clifford Brown | Fifties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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