Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Down South in the Bayou County

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Like everything on Memphis Slim's album Goin' Back to Tennessee or Alvin Youngblood Hart's "Tallacatcha" (a Western swing performance worthy of Bob Wills), Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's 1975 Barclay album Down South in the Bayou Country completely transcends any and all attempts to confine this diverse artist within the artificial parameters of blues or any other preordained category. Consisting mostly of songs written by Hoyt Garrick, Jr., Charles Gressett, and David Craig with additional tunes by J. Loyd and Joe Stampley, this pretty parfait of country & western, Southern rock, cowboy hoedown, and electric Cajun soul music was recorded during February and March 1974 in Bogalusa, LA. Gatemouth, fresh from his tenure as Deputy Sheriff of San Juan County, NM, sounds particularly pleased to be active at the center of a project so completely infused with authentic Southern sensibilities. Perhaps the most satisfying track off of the original album is "Loup Garou." This hoodoo funk ritual with background vocals by Geraldine "Sister Gerry" Richard sounds as if it might have been influenced by Dr. John's "Loop Garoo," which had appeared on that artist's Atco album Remedies in 1970. Both songs drew upon traditional Louisiana lycanthropic folklore, a tradition that advises against wandering around in the swamp under the moon as you just might get taken out by a werewolf. Bonus tracks include a choice sampling of "studio verbiage and other appropriate banter," "Gate's Express" (a ferocious bit of fiddling based on "Orange Blossom Special"), and "Cassoulet," a very danceable Cajun fiddling boogie recorded in Paris during the summer of 1973 with a rhythm section composed of members of the rock group Canned Heat. Anyone who enjoys Down South in the Bayou Country should also investigate Gatemouth's 1975 follow-up album, Bogalusa Boogie Man.

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