Archive for the ‘Texas Johnny Brown’ Tag

Listening to Texas Johnny Brown This Morning   Leave a comment

Diunna Benefit  5518 Texas Johnny Brown blogTexas Johnny Brown (February 22, 1928 – July 1, 2013) at the Big Easy, Houston, Texas (February 15, 2009)
— Image by kenne 

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,

Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,

I heard a Negro play.

Down on Lenox Avenue the other night

By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light

He did a lazy sway. . . .

He did a lazy sway. . . .

To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.

With his ebony hands on each ivory key

He made that poor piano moan with melody.

O Blues!

Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool

He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.

Sweet Blues!

Coming from a black man’s soul.

O Blues!

In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone

I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—

“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,

Ain’t got nobody but ma self.

I’sgwine to quit ma frownin’

And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

— from The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

We All Need The Blues   1 comment

Texas Johnny Brown_edit blogTexas Johnny Brown at Shakespeare’s Pub, Houston — Image kenne

We all need the blues

To better understand life

All its ups and downs.

— kenne

Bryan Lee2006-06-10-21_edit blog framedBryan Lee at The Corner Pub, Conroe — Image by kenne

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

The Billy Blues Smokesax Sculpture   3 comments

Billy Blues Texas Johnny Brown'99 blogTexas Johnny Brown at Billy Blues (1999) — Image by kenne

bluesaxaphoneBack in the 90’s one of the best blues venues was Billy Blues on Richmond avenue in Houston. We weren’t wild about the food, but the beer and music was super.

The Billy Blues Bar and Grill opened in 1993, closing it’s doors in 2001. One of the things Billy Blues was also known for was the iconic 63-foot saxophone sculpture; made of a random mix of materials including a Volkswagen Bug, surfboard and several beer kegs, which stood outside the blues club. Several attempts were made to sell sculpture, but removal costs didn’t attract a buyer.

The big brass was built by legendary Texas artist Bob Wade, a fixture in the 70’s Texas Cosmic Cowboy counterculture, as a special installation for Billy Blues Bar & Grill. Wade will overseeing the removal  of the saxophone from its current location to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. This non-profit will insure the sculpture is properly preserved. — Great move!

kenne

Houston Blues World, February 22, 2003   3 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATexas Johnny Brown

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I. J. Gosey

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Images by kenne

February 22, 2003, Blues lovers and legends in Houston gathered at Houston’s Mr. Gino’s Lounge in the memory of blues/jazz great, Kinney Abair. Now that it’s almost the 10th anniversary of Kinney’s death, I’m sharing my images of the Mr. Gino’s event. Some of the musicians in the photos are Joe ‘Guitar’ Hughes, I.J. Gosey, Ashton Savoy, Mike Stone, Pee Wee Stevens, Sonny Boy Terry and Texas Johnny Brown. Many other legends were in attendance, but not necessarily in my photos.

That evening we were also remembering AJ Murphy, who had a heart attach and passed away after giving a eulogy for his close friend, Kinney.

AJ Murphy

AJ Murphy

kenne

(To review other Blues posting on the blog, use the search function for “blues” on the home page, left column.

The Weary Blues

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,

Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,

I heard a Negro play.

Down on Lenox Avenue the other night

By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light

He did a lazy sway. . . .

He did a lazy sway. . . .

To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.

With his ebony hands on each ivory key

He made that poor piano moan with melody.

O Blues!

Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool

He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.

Sweet Blues!

Coming from a black man’s soul.

O Blues!

In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone

I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—

“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,

Ain’t got nobody but ma self.

I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’

And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

 

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.

He played a few chords then he sang some more—

“I got the Weary Blues

And I can’t be satisfied.

Got the Weary Blues

And can’t be satisfied—

I ain’t happy no mo’

And I wish that I had died.”

And far into the night he crooned that tune.

The stars went out and so did the moon.

The singer stopped playing and went to bed

While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.

He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

Capturing the Moment — Texas Johnny Brown @ Billy Blues   1 comment

Texas Johnny Brown at Billy Blues – 1999 — Image by kenne

Posted May 25, 2010 by kenneturner in Blues, Information, Photography

Tagged with ,

%d bloggers like this: