Clarence Gatemouth Brown

Growing up on the border between Texas and Louisiana, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown soaked up the area's melting pot of styles from Cajun to bluegrass to jazz and evolved into a true master of electrified Americana roots music. Taught guitar by his musician father as a five-year-old, Brown was initially inspired by the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and the big bands of the 1930s, and went on to learn drums, mandolin, viola, piano and became one of the few blues stars to also play fiddle. Earning the nickname 'Gatemouth' when a High School teacher remarked that he had "a voice like a gate", he became a leading figure on Houston's nightclub scene in the 1950s, and got his first break when he deputised at a gig for an unwell T-Bone Walker. He showcased his virtuoso guitar playing on early R&B singles 'Okie Dokie Stomp', 'Mary Is Fine' and 'Boogie Uproar' and lived in Nashville in the 1960s, where he discovered country music and struck up a friendship with guitar wizard Roy Clark, with whom he later recorded the album 'Makin' Music'. His reputation spread throughout the 1970s with Eric Clapton, Canned Heat, Albert Collins and Frank Zappa recognising his influence, and a career resurgence saw him win a Grammy Award for 'Alright Again!' in 1982 and critical acclaim for 'Texas Style' (1999) and 'Back to Bogalusa' (1999). A restless, musical journeyman, he toured and recorded right up until his death in 2005 from cancer and heart disease.

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