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Album Review

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown was a versatile and crowd-pleasing entertainer throughout his long career, but it's easy to overlook just how explosive a guitarist he was in the early days, a situation this first volume in Classic Records' chronological survey of Brown's complete recorded output helps remedy. Collecting both sides of his first two singles for Aladdin Records, released in 1947, and his earliest sides for Don Robey's Peacock Records drawn from sessions dating between 1947 and 1951, this intriguing set spotlights mostly up-tempo jump blues pieces, and features small horn bands (Maxwell Davis' band for the Aladdin tracks and Jack McVea's band for several of the Peacock tracks). Brown wasn't yet playing his trademark fiddle in the studio (the fiddle would make its debut later in Brown's stay at Peacock) and his singing was far smoother than the rustic approach he adopted late in his career, but his guitar playing was never more biting, energetic and gutbucket (and ultimately influential) than it was on these sides.

1947-1951, Gatemouth Brown
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