Even for an 85-year-old bluesman who wrote his best-known song during the JFK administration, Monday night social media was full of love for Texas Johnny Brown, the soft-spoken, sharp-dressed guitarist who passed away earlier in the day after a relatively brief battle with liver cancer.
"It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of an American treasure and true blues legend," said "Blues Hound" James Nagel, host of KPFT's Sunday-afternoon show "Howlin' the Blues," on the Houston Blues society's open Facebook group. "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."
On Twitter (above), Houston restaurateur Bryan Caswell remembered Brown, who wrote smoky Gulf Coast R&B standards "There Goes the Blues" and "Two Steps From the Blues," as "one of the guys who hooked me on live music."
Brown's funeral is expected to be in his hometown of Ackerman, Mississippi, where he was honored wtih a marker on the MIssissippi Blues Trail in 2011, but plans for a Houston memorial are expected to be announced soon. We'll keep you posted. Expect something at The Big Easy, where Brown played one Saturday night a month until this past May.
Monday night (a most blue Monday, sadly), fans poured onto a few blues-minded Houston social sites to honor the man who was never more than two steps from the blues. A sampling of their comments:
Jacquelyn Striegel: "'Two Steps From the Blues' was my favorite of the songs he wrote & I agree it is one of the best blues songs of all time. RIP 'Texas Johnny Brown.' One of a kind."
Bill Freeman: "We've lost another legend. RIP TJB."
Patti Birdsall: "RIP Johnny. So glad we got to see you not too long ago. You will be missed."
Steve Myers: "Godspeed Texas Johnny Brown. You will be missed like no other. Houston will love you forever."
Chigoke Adoma: "Heaven has got another Blues Angel... I suspect the entire Blues Community in Heaven was waiting to greet him. Rest in peace my Prince. xoxoxo"
From the Shakespeare Pub's Facebook page:
Colin Thomas: "Such a shame. My favourite performer and I will miss his big 'Yeah' at the end of his songs. A true legend."
Angela Tolmie: "So sad to hear about Texas Johnny, my favourite performer also Colin."
Mary Nettles: "So so sad. He will be missed by many."
Eddie Hoar: "Sad evening indeed..."
Thurman Robinson: "TEARS"
Jan Scarborough: "No words...! we've lost an amazing spirit, that's for sure."
Candis Milan: "So glad I met you! Your music is great!"
Steven Huete: "So sad to lose a dear soul and a true blues legend... but so happy that for a few short years I got to experience that beautiful, peaceful place that his music transported us."
Rozanne Booth Blount: "Oh no and Bobby Blue Bland last week."
Jack Houston III: "Another great one joins the heavenly band -- A great blues man and a true gentleman- Rest in Peace."
Javier Tamayo: "WOW... a really sad day ...will miss his music...and all the fun he bought to The Big Easy. Rest in peace Texas Johnny Brown."
Wil Jeudy: "Thank you, Big Easy, for giving him such a cool pulpit from which to preach."
Brenda Scholes: "Rest in Peace Mr.Johnny Brown ..you are missed terribly by so many!"
Stella Lopez Monreal: "R.I.P Texas Johnny Brown, jam on in Heaven!!!"
TJ Denbo Stewart: "He was the man and he will be missed."
Angela Parks: "Wow, RIP Mr. Brown. I only first learned of him at an iFest a couple of years ago. I became a fan that day."
Denise Christensen: "I'm so sad to hear this. RIP sir - you will be missed!
Lisa Ann Wiechkoske Salinas: "This news makes me so sad. I feel like I was one of Johnny's biggest fans... even though he was loved by sooooo many people. I went to The Big Easy to see him play every chance that I had. Houston will never be the same without him. RIP Johnny."
Clara Elizabeth Gipson: "This true. Miss you Texas Johnny Brown. I am thankful to have known you. RIP."
Jose G. Figueroa: "Johnny, I want to thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with me and the world. I feel blessed to have known you. Yeah!"
R.T. Castleberry: "Aw, damn. Well, I guess Bobby Blue Bland needed a guitar player."
Mia Sclafani Reinhardt: Houston lost a talent; Rest In Peace Texas Johnny Brown!!"
Melinda M. Lopez Valdez: "RIP Johnny Brown! My parents introduced me to you and your music years ago. I was lucky enough to see you perform a few times and enjoyed every show. My parents will sure miss getting the Christmas cards you would send them. May you rest in peace."