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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Clarence “Gatemouth“ Brown Dies, 81 Feature Story

Clarence “Gatemouth“ Brown Dies, 81 Feature StoryClarence “Gatemouth“ Brown Dies, 81
Written by: Jaimie E. Gusman

Brown, a music icon, died in Texas this past weekend from lung cancer and the destruction of a sentimental place, New Orleans.

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, 81, died in Texas this weekend, according to his keyboard player. The Grammy Award-winning singer and guitarist was suffering from lung cancer and was also heavily affected by the devastation which occurred in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Brown won a blues Grammy in 1982 for his album "Alright Again!" and was a revolutionary electric guitar player who helped make the instrument an important part of popular American music.

His 60-year-long career included being the drummer for blues legend T-Bone Walker and a friend of Lightnin' Hopkins. He managed to avoid the label of "bluesman" by playing a range of styles such as blues, big band, Cajun, country, jazz, and rhythm-and-blues.

New Orleans musician Joe Krown, who played beside Brown for 15 years, said he died on Saturday after evacuating to his brother's home in Orange, Texas just before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on August 29. Krown said that Brown was diagnosed with cancer last year and was not doing well to begin with, and news that Katrina had destroyed New Orleans and his Slidell community, left him even weaker.

"It was just devastating. There was nothing to go back to," said Krown. "He lost the will to live." Brown was born in 1924 in Vinton, Louisiana, and raised in nearby Orange.

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