What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

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Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

I wonder what goes in this space?


The Gate swings shut

I'm glad I went to see the great Clarence Gatemouth Brown when I did. He must have been about 70 years old at the time. Even then, though he was still at the height of his dazzling instrumental skills, he had ceased to innovate — he was essentially making the same record over and over, but what a record it was. He also wasn't taking chances — at the show I saw, he played his current record note for note. But what notes they were.

Now he's gone, his death hastened if not caused by Hurricane Katrina — one of the few forces in nature that could match his intensity. Lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease had slowed Gate, but they couldn't stop him — he'd tow his oxygen tank right up on stage and play anyway. But the hurricane took everything he had: destroyed almost all his instruments, his house, and his whole town. Gate escaped to Texas with his beloved Gibson Firebird before the flooding hit, but he left his heart in Louisiana. So long, man, and I hope they have some horns and a good rhythm section wherever you end up.

P.S. Look up Vassar Clements for me and play another duet.


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