Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Back to Bogalusa (Blue Thumb)

Record Reviews

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Back to Bogalusa (Blue Thumb)

There's no doubt Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown is a living legend. That he's still making music at the age of 77, touring the world, and releasing albums is in itself admirable. Unfortunately, his latest release Back to Bogalusa finds him slipping. His last outing, American Music, Texas Style, focused musically on the Lone Star State, and since Brown is Louisiana-born and Texas-bred, for his latest release, he's decided to cross state lines and honor the music of the Bayou State. Back to Bogalusa covers tunes by one of Louisiana's greatest songsmiths, Bobby Charles, with Brown joined by two of Cajun country's finest musicians, slide guitarist Sonny Landreth and accordion king Zachary Richard, for some interesting moments. That said, Bogalusa suffers through one clichéd arrangement after another, Brown's craggy voice is mismatched on so many selections that it's almost painful to endure. Most of this material is soul-based and horn-slick, requiring a croon that Brown just doesn't possess. Attempting Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken," which might be a natural fit, he's undone by a groove that's flat when it should be funky. Elsewhere, he's joined by background singers that lack soul and seem out of place most of the time. There are two instrumentals on Back to Bogalusa, "Grape Jelly" and "Slap It," both slinky workouts that demonstrate Brown still possesses superb chops as a musician. But in the end, while Brown has made great music in his time, this is one he might want to forget.

**

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey
Conspirators (Record Review)

Reid Jowers, Sept. 27, 2019

Texas Platters
The Texas Horns
Get Here Quick (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle