another beautiful guitarist from louisiana
September 1, 2007 12:15 PM   Subscribe

another beautiful guitarist from louisiana Such a wise cat he even could replace t-bone walker in a minute. Well, so he said with his enthralling voice. He was such a beautiful singer. Unique violin player. He disappeared in the aftermath of hurricane katrina. Peace.
posted by nicolin (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Disappeared? The wikipedia article says he was evacuated to Texas and died there of cancer.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:18 PM on September 1, 2007

You beat me to that comment.
posted by revfitz at 12:37 PM on September 1, 2007

well, "disappeared", you know, I thought it could be understood as "died" in english too. Sorry.
posted by nicolin at 12:54 PM on September 1, 2007

Pressure Cooker smokes.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:59 PM on September 1, 2007

no problem, nicolin. I just remember that for a few days, Fats Domino was thought to be lost to the flooding (he was OK, but his house in the Ninth Ward was destroyed), and that months after Katrina, a corpse was found and identified as belonging to one of the Cowsills.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:34 PM on September 1, 2007

Right on, Gatemouth was a genius. Fats Domino and Snooks Eaglin (one of the most extraordinary guitarists I've ever heard, with a singular style) were among the musicians considered "missing" in the first few days. Gatemouth was already on his way to the next big gig in the sky.

posted by fourcheesemac at 2:22 PM on September 1, 2007

T-Bone Walker
posted by Poolio at 4:49 PM on September 1, 2007

Gatemouth was brilliant. It was quite upsetting to read interviews with him after he was diagnosed with lung cancer saying how he was going to "beat this thing". Because nobody does.
posted by Wolof at 6:14 PM on September 1, 2007

Gatemouth was my one biggest influence on the guitar. Attitude, skill, he had the whole package. Long story short:

In 1983 I moved to Denver and became immersed in blues after seeing Roy Buchanan and Albert Collins at a club three doors down from my apartment. I went over to Wax Trax and scoured the blues albums and ran across Pressure Cooker. Something about the album cover (Gate playing a Gibson Firebird with a leather pickguard) made me buy it. Got it home and proceeded to have my mind blown [find a copy of "Cold Strings" from that album to see what I mean].

Flash forward three years. I had never seen him live but had my chance. He came to a club in Evergreen, Colo called the "Little Bear." I got there early and sat in the front row. I'd be shocked if there were more than 30 people there which was a shame.

Halfway into his first song he broke a string. When the song was over, he asked if anyone in the crowd could change a string. My hand shot up and he handed me the Firebird (the same one on the album!) and a new E string. I sat there dumbfounded for a minute and stared at this guitar. It was as if Jesus handed me his sandals. I put the string on but couldn't get it to pitch since I couldn't hear anything over the band but it was good enough.

So I thought.

Without missing a beat, he proceeded to grab the guitar from me and without checking the tuning, launched into the next song. He hit the high E and tuned it as he went along. He gave me a wink to let me know "It's cool" and kept going. The blood left my face and I had my mind blown for the rest of the show. He gave me an autographed poster afterwards.

Great guy, great musician and one of a kind.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:32 PM on September 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

nicolin, I posted a thread about Gatemouth's passing shortly after Katrina. Most of the news obit links in the thread are now expired, but there are comments and other links in thread that still exist.

Course I am always happy to see a tribute to one of my favorite musicians. He seemed so vital the last time I saw him that I never thought it would be the last time, damn. (Moral: don't put off going to see aging jazz and blues legends.)

Here are a few other clips:
Gatemouth perrforming "Please Mr. Nixon with Canned Heat in Montreaux in 1973
Everday I have the Blues with Katie Webster in 1983
posted by madamjujujive at 7:02 PM on September 1, 2007

Yes, Gatemouth was great. May he rest in peace.

Here's his MySpace page, where there are currently 3 of his tunes up for the listening.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:53 AM on September 2, 2007

I always thought he was called 'Gatemouth' because his mouth was the same shape as Cherie 'Gatemouth' Blair's.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:17 AM on September 2, 2007

I've just spent way too much time over on the old youtube ... and loved every minute. What a music exuding man. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by phoque at 7:59 AM on September 2, 2007

Gatemouth... the last of the way-over-the-top black fiddlers (yeah, he was a fiddler as well) in the american folk tradition. Although he was able to earn pop music money from it, which makes him... er.... not folk tradition. Or something like that... damn good musician.
posted by zaelic at 2:16 PM on September 2, 2007

With very, very few exceptions, every musician "in the american folk tradition" whose name you actually know, and whose music you've actually heard, has earned money from his or her music. If earning money from playing puts Gatemouth and others like him outside the "folk tradition", then there is, effectively, no American folk tradition.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2007

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