MEL BROWN & The Homewreckers
Under Yonder: Mel Brown
Live at Pop The Gator 1991

Mel Brown - Guitar and vocals
Special Guest -
Denny Freeman - Guitar

The Homewreckers
John Lee - Keyboards
Leo Valvassori - Bass
Randall Coryell - Drums

Recorded by John Riley
Digital transfer from Soundboard Cassette by Richard L. Hess
2 Track Remix by Alec Fraser @ Liquid, Toronto
Mastered by Andy Krehm @ Silverbirch Productions
Design: Douglas Mark
Photography by Gary Collver
Executive Producer: Andrew Galloway

Dedicated to the memory of Mel Brown, always loved, always remembered.

Electro-Fi 3450
Audio Sample

Intro/Shawn's Shuffle
I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
Georgia On My Mind
Get Out Of My Life Woman
Blues On The Green


Band Outro Jam
Shake, Rattle & Roll
Under Yonder Blues
I Got My Mojo Workin'
Hey Joe

Beautiful, timeless things come in small, small boxes. Before the great soul-funk-jazz-blues fusion guitarist Mel Brown passed in 2009 he gave one of his protégés, Shawn Kellerman, a box. It contained recordings, pictures and ephemera of Mel’s 50-plus-years gigging and recording in Los Angeles, Nashville, Austin and Kitchener.

For the last 20 years of his life Mel based himself in this Southwestern Ontario city. Mel moved here in 1989 to anchor the house band at what would become a legendary blues club – Pop the Gator on Queen Street South. As a teenager, Kellerman played with Mel during jam nights at The Gator. Decades after those sessions, and years after Mel’s homecoming, Kellerman sorted the contents of the box, and found the live recordings that make up this CD.

The tracks presented here were recorded during two shows in March 1991 and Denny Freeman, the Austin-based blues guitarist flew in for the gig with his old friend Mel Brown. Freeman and Mel had played together for years in the house band at that most famous of Austin blues institutions – Antones. With Mel and Denny are John Lee on keys, Leo Valvasori on bass and Randall Coryell on drums — the original members of the house band at Pop the Gator.

This is a recording of classic-electric blues. It fuses the old, musical traditions of mid-20th Century Mississippi, the soundtrack of Mel’s childhood in the Flowood section of Jackson, with electric guitars. This recording is a vivid, living reminder of the wonderful years (1989-1994) when music fans lined up outside Pop the Gator to see some of the greatest in blues, R&B and barrel house – Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater, Otis Clay, Etta James and Marcia Ball, among many others.

Along the way, Glenn Smith, a founding partner at Pop the Gator, instilled a deep and abiding passion for real-deal blues among patrons. Glenn is on this recording too, introducing the band. A fitting reminder of his continuing and enormous influence on the scene thanks to his long-closed club that nurtured the likes of leading Canadian blues artists such as Kellerman, Julian Fauth and Steve Strongman.

The musicians and fans in that second-floor club formed the nucleus of what would become one of the biggest, annual celebrations of the music Glenn Smith loves so much — The Kitchener Blues Festival. Music fans who frequented The Gator years ago speak of the place in near-reverential tones. For those who never had the pleasure of seeing a show there, this CD is your aural ticket to a time and place of pure, musical magic. Terry Pender



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