I’ve been taking a short respite from the Lounge, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to post. A few days ago, in the wake of Hurricane Ike, a friend sent me an email saying that guitar playing phenom and Texas/Gulf Coast music encyclopedia, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, was discovered missing. What makes this story disconcerting is that Gate’s been dead for three years!
Apparently, Ike flooded the cemetery where Brown was interred — Hollywood Cemetery in Orange, Texas — and his casket floated away. This was after Hurricane Katrina forced Gate, then dying of lung cancer, from his home in Slidell, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. He evacuated to Orange, Texas, on the Texas-Louisiana border, where he died a couple of weeks later. A few weeks after that, Hurricane Rita destroyed his temporary grave marker. Clearly, hurricanes hate Clarence Brown, the question is why? And why can’t I get the image of Zombie Gatemouth running amok in the Louisiana bayous, looking for revenge on nature? Anyway, here’s hoping the casket is found and the Brown family, especially Gate, can finally have some peace.
In honor of one of Tex-LA’s greatest exports — he was essentially raised on the border of both states — here’s a few tracks from the extensive Gatemouth Brown discography. FWIW, I previously wrote about Brown in my first real research post, Black Voices and Honky Tonks. Check it.
I also wanted to post today to acknowledge the recent passing of another legendary producer, an Adios Lounge favorite, and Motown‘s weapon of mass funkiness, Norman Whitfield. Whitfield wrote dozens of hits for Berry Gordy, produced “I Heard It through the Grapevine” for Marvin Gaye (which you may have heard a couple times), was the catalyst behind The Temptations going from hitmaking vocal group to hip, psychedelic-soul pioneers (which had a parallel effect on the label), and he was the mastermind behind Rose Royce‘s Car Wash soundtrack, including the memorable title track. Gimme a few days and I’ll do for Whitfield what I did earlier for Jerry Wexler, a walk through a handful of his career highlights. In the meantime, here’s Whitfield’s first dip in psychedelic waters, the Sly Stone-inspired “Cloud Nine” from the 1969 album of the same name.
For a great read on Whitfield, including a thorough analysis of “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” get yer groove on at Funky 16 Corners.