Roy Clark & Gatemouth Brown
Recorded October 31 – November 2, 1978 in Tulsa
This recording is clearly Gatemouth’s brand of American music, the sound he’d been focusing on for decades–leaving the sad delta blues for other folks and focusing on the good-time sound–but Roy is a big part of this outing as well. While some may see this as Roy doing something new, this is actually Roy getting back to his roots.
Throughout the set, the pair are unstoppable like a tag-team in the ring, with the girls and the Memphis horns helping punch it home, the group only slowing it down to let the sweat drip on a few cuts, mostly sticking with the rocking, rocking and rolling through Gatemouth, Roy Clark and producer Steve Ripley originals and a few takes on old standards, Ray Charles (and Johnny Cash’s) 1963 “Busted” (Harlan Howard), Ellington’s 1941 “Take the A Train” (Strayhorn) and Louis Jordan’s 1945 “Caledonia.”
Jordan would re-record “Caledonia” in 1956 with Mickey Baker on guitar and likely that was the version that provided at least some of the inspiration for the version on this album. (When Erskine Hawkins released “Caledonia” in 1945, Billboard referred to the song as rock and roll, probably the first time that phrase was used to describe music.)
It sounds like these two were having a blast, and while they strut their stuff and show off their chops, they keep a rein on the excess to make this record fun from go to whoa.
Billboard. April 21, 1945. p 66.