No tags :(

Share it




There have already been three rock records with the same basic title and theme to come out this year and yet this one which adds to the confusion isn’t the same as any of the others.

Oh, it shares a few obvious similarities, but it’s ostensibly a different song with different lyrics, even a slightly different title.

The feeling however on all of them is pretty much the same… unbridled vocal excitement over a footloose girl that’s matched by a fiery instrumental break, leading you to surmise that all of these artists must’ve encountered the same girl walking in – or out – of a club down south sometime over the past twelve months or so and each took a stroll or two around the block with her in the process.


I’ve Got A Girl, She Walks All The Time
Last winter we encountered Cha Cha Hogan releasing a song called My Walking Baby which was the first released take on this same basic idea, one which featured his rambunctious piano mixed with a rustic sounding guitar as Hogan enthusiastically sung over the ruckus, practically losing his mind by the end of the record.

Professor Longhair cut the same song on Atlantic Records who unfortunately chose to release the weaker take on the song. The single version of She Walks Right In was crude, substituting a lot of off-key bellowing for a coherent story but since it was ‘Fess it somehow sounded less like a drunken guy getting bold at a piano bar once the bouncer hit the bathroom and you didn’t mind too much… until years later when you heard the shelved version which crafted an actual story to go with his usual percussive keyboards and droning horns and as a result we got a much tighter performance that didn’t get released on album until the early 1970’s.

Not long after those two singles had been released Clarence Samuels cut a record called She Walk, She Walk, She Walk for Freedom Records that isn’t directly related to either Hogan’s or ‘Fess’s, but it’d be a reasonable assumption to think they lived in the same neighborhood. For his part Samuels is more demented and frantic than either of them, but while the premise is roughly the same, the details and vocal structure is a lot different.

Now here comes Gatemouth Brown with She Walk Right In, dropping the “s” from the title of Longhair’s record, while omitting the second and third part of Samuels’s title, and altering the lyrics and basic arrangement enough that this qualifies as an original.

But was it? Were ANY of them?

Mmm, probably not. They all were from the Gulf Coast region, all cutting their records in the same basic vicinity and surely playing the same clubs over the previous year or so, meaning they all heard variations of it somewhere and either didn’t bother learning it verbatim from whoever did it first, or simply took the same basic idea and re-worked it to suit their image, giving us four pretty distinctive records all walking a mile in each other’s shoes.


Always Goin’, Never Stops
We’ve seen the rapid development of Gatemouth Brown over the past year and continually noted how adamant he was about not letting himself be pegged as a performer of any one style, something that continues here by melding together disparate influences to come up with a cohesive whole.

Along the way he displays a little more self-control in terms of both performance and the arrangement than he has in the past without sacrificing any explosiveness, making She Walk Right In another record that forces you to sit up and take notice.

Brown’s vocal is strong and authoritative, stressing the first line of each stanza to grab your attention before easing back just enough to let you keep from being knocked backwards. When he comes to the choruses he dials it down even more, sounding practically mellow by comparison to how he started.

He may not have a pretty voice, but he’s got full control over it and can growl, croon or shout with equal effectiveness and uses all of those techniques here to put across this loose story of a girl who… “walks” all the time.

We’ll let you decide what he’s actually referring to, whether it’s just her busy social life keeping her always on the go.. or if it’s her busy social life that is keeping her always on her back.

I’m sure one leads to the other here so it probably doesn’t pay to spend too much time contemplating it as Brown tells us he’s concerned about her ability to keep this up, though by the sounds of it he’s not averse to walking around with her if she lets him tag along.

The chorus finds him drawing out the word “walks” as if it’s one giant stride before being answered by some of his bandmates who just confirm his impressions with a much more clipped “Yes, she walks”, and that alone distances it from any of those other similar themed tunes which fit the puzzle pieces together in different ways.

But it’s not just the vocals, the lyrics or the presence of other voices on this record which sets it apart, it’s also the other skill Brown brings to the table in the form of that sizzling guitar.


About To Lose My Mind
Yesterday we reviewed the record of another Houston native, Hubert Robinson, who gave us a song called Gas Happy Blues that had a very distinctive New Orleans vibe to it thanks to the rolling horns that formed the basis of the arrangement, something was was not often heard on the usually guitar-centric Texas brand of rock at this stage of the game.

Well, here we have MORE horns, but not New Orleans-based in their construction, but rather these sound more like Los Angeles styled arrangements in how they’re used, starting off with lean riffs that are concise and to the point, doing just enough to put a hook in your head without overplaying.

They keep this up all while Brown is delivering the verses and then change things up in the choruses, the bulk of them dropping out so that a single horn can answer Gate’s vocals in drawn out replies that sounds as if it knows it’s best not to argue with whatever he’s saying.

That’s probably because they also know he carries a more destructive weapon of his own which he flashed briefly in the intro, answering those horns before slipping the guitar behind his back while he sang, but you know he can’t keep it concealed for long and so everybody has to step lightly while they wait for it to make its reappearance.

When it does… well, he doesn’t disappoint. The first solo on She Walk Right In is slicing through the full horn section like a butcher knife through tissue paper, playing short stabbing riffs that are full of electricity and give this an edgier vibe.

After some more vocals Brown’s next guitar showcase is much more melodic, playing alongside the horns rather than trying to disembowel them and he shows here that the instrument isn’t to be feared all the time, it can actually perform the same basic role we’re all used to from less fearsome instruments, even if the snarl it makes will keep you on your toes right into the fade.


Want You By My Side
The first calendar year of rock, just four months actually, was a melange of restless sounds all looking for a place to call home, bonded together by an underlying spirit that would define the music forever more. In retrospect though most of the instrumental aspects of it were rather subdued, still drawing heavily from small combo jazz arranging ideas with just a little more rhythmic kick to set them apart.

By contrast rock’s second year on the scene in 1948 saw the saxophone take over and ramp up the excitement to almost unbearable levels, each record seemingly trying to send their competitors to the hospital with how they distorted the instrument in the most ostentatious way possible.

There seemed nowhere left to take it by year three and so while some tweaked the formula throughout 1949, there was an effort by others to diversify the sounds. In some cases this meant vocally, which is where the majority of the advances took place, but there was also a few key figures looking to replicate the excitement of the tenor sax on guitar. Goree Carter defined it first, but now in 1950 Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown has picked up the mantle.

Though She Walk Right In doesn’t quite match the best of what Carter delivered, it does give us another step in the direction that so much of rock would take over the next few decades where a few fierce licks from the electric guitar can serve as the fulcrum for an entire record – giving us anticipation, payoff and the searing imprint it leaves in its brief time in the spotlight.

It’s no wonder so many rock acts would gravitate to it and take her for a walk.

What can you say? The girl gets around.


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