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PEACOCK 1505, JULY 1950



The hours between midnight and dawn are different for everybody. Some are fast asleep, some toss and turn in bed, while others pace the floor restlessly… a few might even be getting something productive done.

But for some reason whatever difficulties you’re faced with during the day seem to wait until two o’clock in the morning to work themselves over in your mind.

Maybe it’s the the quiet darkness around you that lends itself to wrestling with a problem or the lack of distractions that force you to confront whatever’s troubling you.

Or maybe in this case it’s the fact that the song you’re writing about – or reading about – won’t let you forget the time whenever the record crosses your mind.


Just What Is Wrong With You?
The sleepless nights over this particular side of the record before came about after the rough draft of this review was written when doing a Spotify search to see if the song was available to include on the page.

They had it, or so you’d think if going by the titles, as it was included in two of the Gatemouth Brown collections in their catalog.

Except neither was actually this record, but rather a different song under this title. Since the Peacock label was located in Houston it seems an appropriate place to declare the obvious “Houston we have a problem” line here.

To screw it up once was one thing, but for two collections to mislabel it seemed peculiar so that led to looking up the song on Youtube only to find that they ALSO had Brown’s 1949 hit, Mary Is Fine, under this song’s title which means that this was either a giant conspiracy meant to torment people… or someone early on along the way screwed up which had a domino effect on much of what followed.

All of which is to say don’t stay up until 2 O’Clock In The Morning looking to hear this song online because you won’t find it in the usual places, instead stick with collections such as the one pictured below and be sure to hear the actual record being reviewed.


Peeped Out My Window
All of those unforeseen headaches just to lead into the fact that maybe Peacock Records would’ve been smarter after all had they renamed a better and more popular record already released and reissued it instead of this, a song which has some interesting moments but seems unable to pull them all together to form something really worthwhile in the end.

It starts off with a bluesy bent, the guitar’s prominence lending to that feel as does the subject matter which finds Brown dejected when his baby walked out the door at 2 O’Clock In The Morning. She pulls no punches on her way out either… “She said our love was over and she didn’t want me no more”.

Naturally that’s not the kind of thing you want to be woken up out of a sound sleep to be told and so Brown’s subsequent lament is perfectly understandable under the circumstances and he seems to be taking it as harshly as you’d expect, crying out in anguish even while throwing some subtle criticism her way in the process.

He still holds out hope she’ll come back, telling her not to be out too long… apparently he’s unaware of the implications of term “to leave” when delivered in these circumstances… but you can tell by his state of mind he knows he’s deluding himself.

In this way it DOES have a strong blues element to it, refuting what Gate himself once said about refusing to become a bluesman as was expected – ”I don’t believe in depressing music…” – yet it isn’t hard to see that he’s depressed here and you can certainly see why so many people ignored his own statements on the subject and slotted him as a bluesman over his protests.

Tried So Hard
When listening to this record unfold you can see their case being made, for it’s more than 25 seconds before either Brown’s vocals or the horns come into the picture and during that time it’s almost pure blues in terms of atmosphere. But once that saxophone comes in the mood naturally changes and that argument starts to go out the door along with his woman.

So maybe the best way to define it is to say 2 O’Clock In The Morning is bluesy, but not tied to the genre and leave it at that.

The arrangement is simple but effective as the the slow prancing piano with guitar accent notes that take precedent behind the verses are answered by the tenor sax that reacts in real time to each of the sentiments pouring out of Brown’s mouth. When Gate is singing in more measured tones the sax eases off, whenever Brown ramps up his own intensity the saxophone follows suit, delivering some searing lines that are arguably the best part of the entire record.

The key in making this work is letting Gatemouth take the lead and have the horn simply follow him wherever he goes. There’s no solo which means it’s not even being asked to improvise over an extended run, though a few of his replies are stretched out a little. Because the saxophone never steps wrong it fills in most of the holes the arrangement would otherwise have… or at least, ensures Brown’s guitar will play just a supporting role rather than take the lead.

The one spot where his greater involvement might’ve been warranted is during the stop-time bridge when there’s nothing to answer his declarations, though the piano belatedly tries to compensate but seems unsure of whether he should. Had Brown just delivered a harsh chord after each line it’d have increased the tension of the interlude and made it more suitable for what he’s trying to get across.

As it is though this is all pretty cut and dried, working just well enough to suffice without doing anything to stand out, a decent performance on a non-essential track.

Put Up With All The Wrong You Do
If anything confirms that impression of this in the long run then surely it’s the fact that this one got mislabeled on numerous occasions, presumably by those doing the exhuming for one cheap CD compilation or another.

In that scenario somebody mistakenly attributes this title, 2 O’Clock In The Morning to another song – one which they’ve already put on the compilation under its own name, proving that they’re not paying any attention and may not even find anything about this music interesting or appealing – and then somebody else assumes that must be right and it all snowballs, explaining the fact that there’s multiple collections on multiple platforms all with the same mistake.

Or it could be that the original session tapes were mislabeled and whoever was using those hadn’t heard the record when it came out and just went with what was printed on it. It’s amazing how many times that seemed to happen back then. But since this song has the title in the very first line it’s hard not to place it properly as long as you’ve actually heard it.

Maybe the rather mediocre end result doesn’t seem worth such scrutiny but if you’re going to call a record non-essential it does help to be referring to the record that earned that assessment rather than something else entirely.


(Visit the Artist page of Gatemouth Brown for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)