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When I first saw Clarence Gatemouth Brown, I didn't really know what to make of him. A black man dressed as a cowboy, was he Will Smith's predecessor or would he live up to the hype of being Frank Zappa's favourite guitarist? Prior to listening to this album, I'd only heard a couple of live performances on Youtube by Clarence Gatemouth Brown and they were mostly of him playing the fiddle, which he was good at but I preferred the music on this album.
This version was released in 1998 but the LP was put out in 1982, it's a compilation made up of recordings with jazz artists and was the result of recording sessions at some point in the 70s in France , the guitar sound has a smooth, Louisiana style although there are similarities with T-bone Walker as well, it's definitely on the gentle side perhaps due to the album's slightly jazzy nature.
The artist got his name from a music teacher that said his voice sounded like a gate, I'm not sure whether that's supposed to be a good thing or not but I think it's good and I struggle to see the similarity with a gate, because he doesn't really break into a squeak or shriek!
The first couple of tracks are really bluesy and it took me a while to actually notice the album's jazzy orientation, it starts off strong with "She Winked Her Eye" which is a pretty funny track lyrically as well as probably the strongest one on the album and although it slows in tempo, the quality never falters right through until "Ain't That Just Like a Woman" which is one of my favourite all-time blues songs. A number of songs on the album feature his tell-tale trick of playing a well known folk tune such as "Yankee Doodle" in to a different song during a guitar solo.
The album is one of Clarence Gatemouth Brown's most expensive, in fact you can generally find compilations at under half the price, this album is really good though and due to the artist's varied musicianship - he can play guitar, harmonica and various fiddle instruments, you never quite know what you're going to get with one of the comps.
It's still a little dear and he doesn't break into my favourite blues artists but it's a nice listen all the same.