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Always Two Steps From The Blues — Texas Johnny Brown, RIP   6 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATexas Johnny Brown at Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, 2001

Texas Johnny BrownTexas Johnny Brown at Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, 2001 — It was a hot-humid night in Houston when Johnny left the stage giving his performance a very personal “Texas Johnny” touch. 

Billy Blues Texas Johnny Brown'99 blog IITexas Johnny Brown at Billy Blues in Houston, 1999 — Images by kenne

Another Houston Blues Legend has passed away. KPFT program host, James Nagel (The Blues Hound) has written the following on the Texas Johnny Brown website:

“It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of an American treasure and true blues legend. John Riley Brown, better known as Texas Johnny Brown, was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer this past April and after a short but gallant fight with the disease passed away this afternoon (Monday, July 1) at the age of 85 at his home in Houston, Texas. 

With a career that spanned over six decades, Texas Johnny Brown played or recorded with a virtual who’s who of the blues world, including Amos Milburn, Ruth Brown, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Junior Parker, Lavelle White, Buddy Ace and Joe Hinton. One of the all time beautiful blues classics, “Two Steps From The Blues,” was penned by Johnny and considered by many as one of the finest blues songs ever written. His CD, “Nothin’ But The Truth,” on his own Choctaw Creek Records, was nominated for a W.C. Handy Blues Award in 1999 for Comeback Album of the Year. 

His accolades are many, but his true legacy lay behind his beautiful smile, warm heart and undying love for his family, fans and the music that brought all of us so much joy.

Final arrangements are pending. Please keep this blues giant and his family in your thoughts and prayers. May God bless Texas Johnny Brown.”

Although made famous by another blues legend, Bobby “Blue” Bland (Bland just past away June 23rd), “Two Steps from The Blues” was written by Johnny Brown and played by him on that hot-humid night in 2001 at the Miller Outdoor Theater, as pictured above. Like most blues lovers in Houston, when I think of “Two Steps from The Blues,” I think Brown, not Bland. (Too bad Wikipedia doesn’t even mention Brown when giving credit to the song. Somebody needs to take care of this!)

Over the years, blues lovers have had much for which to be thankful, and even with the loss of Texas Johnny Brown, the blues is alive and well. If you don’t think so, here’s one reason — on the 2001 billing at the Miller Outdoor Theater was Diunna Greenleaf and playing with her was a 16 year-old kid out of Austin, Texas, Gary Clark, Jr. If you don’t know about this young man, you need to.

kenne

Texas Johnny Brown Photo02 blogTexas Johnny Brown at Houston’s Big Easy, 2005 — Image by kenne

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