Texas Johnny Brown to Play Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Texas Johnny Brown, the author of Bobby Blue Bland’s hit “Two Steps from the Blues” and one of Houston’s last surviving links to the Duke/Peacock Records era, has been selected to perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s “Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food and Wine” program next week on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Brown and his Quality Blues Band will play several afternoon sets on the festival’s Texas Opry House and Texas Dancehall stages between June 25 and 29, and a “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” evening concert with Bay City gospel group the Jones Family Singers June 28.

Here’s Brown in action in 1992 at a gig sponsored by the Dallas Blues Society:

Brown will also participate in the “Remembering the Duke/Peacock Label” discussion June 26 and the “Texas Guitar Traditions” program June 29. Other Texas performing at the festival include Guy Clark, Asleep at the Wheel, Marcia Ball, CJ Chenier, Joe Ely and Joel Guzman, Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines and Little Joe y la Famila.

Patterning his steely guitar style after T-Bone Walker, Brown began playing in the 1940s with Amos Milburn’s Aladdin Chickenshackers and toured with Bland and Junior Parker in the ‘50s and ‘60s. His most recent CD is 2001’s Blues Defender (Choctaw Creek Records).

Here's a lovely slideshow of Bland album covers backed by the immortal “Two Steps from the Blues”:

Before heading to D.C., Brown and the Quality Blues Band perform Friday night at the Sandbar, 716 Clear Lake Road in Kemah, and Saturday at the Big Easy, 5731 Kirby. – Chris Gray

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