Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – Pressure Cooker
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was just an astonishingly sophisticated musician—capable of so much, with tremendous range and style. And cool beyond belief. I got to open for him once at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco; that night still ranks as one of my favorite gigs of all time.
This album isn’t the one to start with if you want to really taste the full measure of what Gatemouth was capable of; as but one example, there’s no fiddle on this one. This is pretty much him just swingin’ the fuck out of the electric guitar. But it’s the first record of his that I ever heard, and he hooked me right away, and I still love groovin’ on this LP. He just swung SO hard.
There really was just nothin’ quite like Gatemouth.
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1 Comment | tags: Album Recommendations, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Pressure Cooker | posted in Album Recommendations
Q: Where does the name Preacher Boy come from?
A: Well, it started out essentially as a demi-derisive nickname a good friend used to call me when I’d get to soapboxing too much; sort of a Hazel Motes call out.
Q: How many Preacher Boy albums are there?
A: 6, if you include the 4-song Tenderloin EP:
Q: Best gigs ever?
A: Too many to count! How about favorite acts I’ve gotten to perform with? Some highlights:
- Opening for Taj Mahal in Denver, Colorado
- With Los Lobos at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, and then with JJ Cale at The Catalyst
- Opening for Shane MacGowan (The Pogues) at his annual X-mas show in London, ON my 30th birthday!
- The San Francisco Blues Festival, the same day and stage as John Lee Hooker
- Guesting in the set with Eagle-Eye Cherry, for his live concert film at Shepherd’s Bush, in London
- Opening for Clarence Gatemouth Brown at The Great American Music Hall
- With Sonny Landreth at The Great American Music Hall
- 4 different shows at Slim’s in SF, opening for Bob Geldof, Peter Wolf, Jimmy Vaughan, and The Texas Tornadoes
- With AJ Croce at Moulin Blues in The Netherlands
- Opening for Cracker at The Warfield
- Playing the Glastonbury Festival on the same bill as Portishead, Nick Cave, and Bob Dylan
- Opening for CJ Chenier in LA, and for Buckwheat Zydeco at Bimbo’s in SF
- Opening for Chris Whitley in Portland, OR
- Playing opposite Chris Isaak at The Paradise Lounge in SF
- Opening for Charlie Musselwhite at The House of Blues in New Orleans
Q: How old is your National?
A: 1936! And actually, I’m so fortunate, I have two now, both from 1936!
Q: What tunings do you use on your Nationals?
A: Well, as I said, I have two, and I use them differently; what I call “The National” (the one my Grandpa gave me) is my slide instrument, so on that one, I use primarily Open G and Open D, and the minors of each as well. My second National (the one that belonged to my Grandpa, and was passed down to me when he passed) I keep mainly in standard, though I’ll occasionally do Drop D or something like that. I have one tune for which I use a really strange tuning (Open C, essentially, but with no 3rd: CGCGCC), and I generally do that on this second National as well.
Q: What do you think about all the Tom Waits comparisons you’ve received over the years?
A: Well, two things, I suppose: 1) High praise, and 2) A lot of people need to go listen to Blind Willie Johnson, Bukka White, Charley Patton, Dave Van Ronk, Lemmy, Louis Armstrong, and Captain Beefheart.
Q: What’s the most successful song you’ve ever recorded?
A: Depends on the criteria for judging, really, so, four answers:
- If you ask my bank account, it’s “Long Way Around” which I wrote with Eagle-Cherry. We recorded it at The Magic Shop in New York with Rick Rubin producing, and Eagle-Eye’s sister Neneh sung on it, and it went on to be certified Gold in Europe.
- If you ask iTunes, it’s probably the version of “Old Boyfriends” I did for a Waits tribute album. Per the question above, I was a little put out by the request initially, but decided to do it as I found what I thought was a clever way to circumnavigate the vocal comparisons; Waits never sung “Old Boyfriends,” Crystal Gayle did, on the One From The Heart Soundtrack. So that’s the one I covered!
- If you ask my discography, it would probably be “I Won’t Be There” from Gutters & Pews, as I think that’s the one that’s been anthologized the most. Or perhaps “This Is New York,” because that made it onto the Approaching Union Square soundtrack.
- “Dead, Boy!” Because that was the first “professional” song I recorded with my National, and it was for my debut album, for my first record label! Thus, the beginning of it all …
Q: What got you into this music in the first place?
A: Simple. Side 1, song 1, of a Vanguard Twofer that collected all the great country blues performers who had performed at the Newport Folk Festival in the 60s. I put it on my record player with NO idea what to expect, and along came the first song: Mississippi John Hurt playing “Sliding Delta.” And that was it, man. I heard it, and I said, “I’m sorry Joe Strummer, but THAT! I want to be able to do THAT!”
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Leave a comment | tags: AJ Croce, BImbo's 365, Blind Pig Records, Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof, Buckwheat Zydeco, Charlie Musselwhite, Chris Isaak, Chris Whitley, CJ Chenier, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Coast Road Records, Cracker, Crow, Demanding To Be Next, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Glastonbury Festival, Great Bluesmen At Newport, Gutters & Pews, Jimmy Vaughan, JJ Cale, John Lee Hooker, Los Lobos, Manifesto Records, Mississippi John Hurt, National Steel Guitar, Nick Cave, Peter Wolf, Portishead, Preacher Boy, Preacher Boy & The Natural Blues, Shane MacGowan, Sliding Delta, Slim's Sonny Landreth, Taj Mahal, The Catalyst, The Devil's Buttermilk, The Great American Music Hall, The Tenderloin EP, The Texas Tornadoes, The Warfield, Tom Waits, Wah Tup Records | posted in Performance Stories | Tales From The Road, Preacher Boy: General News, Recordings | Albums