These 17 tracks compose two of Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's albums from the early 1980s, the Grammy Award-winning Alright Again!
and the Grammy-nominated One More Mile
. As the preceding suggests, this is Gate at his best, winding his way through blues, jazz, country, and all points in between with a surety that puts many a non-genre-crossing artist to shame. Whether he's taking the lead with guitar (highlights include "Alligator Boogaloo" and "Frosty"), vocals (listen to him growl on "Stranded"), or especially violin (head right for "Song for Renee"), Gate never misses a step--and sometimes he steps back to let others take the lead, as with Bill Samuel's gorgeous tenor sax solo on "Gate Walks to Board." Overall, it's a great blend of Texas blues and swing, the latter done with enough sincerity and aplomb to leave the swing revivalists of the late '90s in the dust. --Genevieve Williams