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Gatemouth Moore

Gatemouth Moore was born on 08/11/1913 in Topeka, Kansas. His full birth name was Arnold Dwight Moore. He was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. There he would sing ballads and spirituals as he grew up.
In about 1930, Moore left home and joined F. S. Wolcott's Rabbit's Foot Minstrels. With them, he would perform with Ida Cox, Ma Rainey and Bertha "Chippie" Hill. He toured widely with the group.
In 1934, he settled in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Moore would get his nickname from his loud speaking and singing voice.
Moore sang with the bands of Bennie Moten and Walter Barnes.
In 1940, he was working with Barnes and was outside the hall when Barnes and most of his band died in the Natchez Rhythm Club fire.
In 1941, he made his first recording in Kansas City, Missouri for the Gay Paree record label.
Moore would move between residencies in Kansas City, Memphis and Chicago. He would record for Damon, National, and then the King label.
In 1947, Moore re-recorded many of his songs for King. Moore was responsible for recruiting Wynonie Harris to the King label.
Moore was the first blues singer to sing at the Apollo Theater and also the first to sing at Carnegie Hall. Moore would regularly appear at the Rhumboogie and at the Club DeLisa in Chicago. In December 1948, Moore stopped his performance at the Club DeLisa to sing an old spiritual. The audience reacted enthusiastically and when he walked off stage a prominent preacher told him 'Gate, I be waiting on you'.
In 1949, Moore was ordained as a minister of the First Church of Deliverance in Chicago. He would become pastor of several churches in Mississippi and Louisiana. In later years, he was a pastor in Yazoo City, Mississippi. Moore made a performance out a lot of his work with the church. He once delivered an Easter sermon from a funeral casket, complete with hearse and pall bearers, in order to raise money for charity.
Moore recorded gospel music for the Chess and Coral labels. He would also become a DJ for several radio stations in Memphis, Birmingham and Chicago.
In 1977, Moore recorded for the last time for Johnny Otis' Blues Spectrum label.
In 1996, Moore was honoured with a brass note on Beale Street Walk of Fame.
Moore is also featured on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
In 2003, he was featured in the Martin Scorsese documentary "The Blues".
In 2004, Moore died in Yazoo City, Mississippi.
Moore's songs would be recorded by Louis Jordan, Lonnie Johnson, Johnny Otis, Rufus Thomas, Jimmy Witherspoon, and B. B. King amongst others. B. B. King would regard him as a major influence.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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