Chris Gould aka Professor Blues


Mean Gene Kelton here.

It is with a sad heart that I report that my good friend of many years, Chris Gould, aka Professor Blues of Baytown, Texas, has passed away. His family tells me that he went quietly in his sleep in the early hours before the dawn on the morning of Friday, December 29, 2006. Cause of death: "probably congestive heart failure", they said.

By the measure of earthly years, he was in his mid-fifties. But his spirit was ageless. He had a rock 'n roll soul and the heart of a true Bluesman.

I first met Chris Gould in 1984 when I was a radio DJ at KBUK Radio in Baytown, Texas. I produced a show called the "Local Talent Showcase" that featured the recordings of unknown Texas artists trying to make it in the music business. Chris came to the station one day with a 45 rpm record of his band which at that time was called Alpha 6. I liked the record and played it on my show every week for nearly a year.

Shortly after the radio experience, I moved away from Baytown for several years and did not see Chris again until I moved back to Baytown and started the very first ever blues jam in Baytown in 1991.

It was every Wednesday night at The City Lites Club on Texas Avenue. I called every musician I knew and invited them to come out and jam. The first night, the place was packed! Chris showed up and I recognized him from my radio days. He walked up to me and quietly stated that he was there for the jam. I realized that except for his record, I had never heard him play live.

We all eyed him with curiosity because he did not fit the stereotypical image of the cocky, over confident, denim clad, guitarslinging Texas bluesrocker that we had all become accustomed to. He was clean cut, and dressed like he was going to play golf.

When I called him to the bandstand, he plugged into my amp, turned around and gave the bass player and drummer some instruction with the authority of a maestro at work. Not knowing what to expect from this unassuming guy, all eyes in the place were glued on Chris. He counted off and blasted into "Alright Now" by Little Feat, followed by a rocking version "Knock On Wood", two of his trademark songs. He then blazed through a list of blues songs that included selections by Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a few.

People packed the dance floor! The place went nuts! We were all blown away by the unexpected amount of super talent that poured out of this this mild-mannered looking guy who drank only Diet Coke. He sang with the perfect voice of a veteran rock star and played guitar with the expertise of Eric Clapton. He rocked da joint!

As the weeks went by, Chris Gould became a crowd favorite and a regular jammer at the Wednesday night event. Nobody could ever remember his name but they remembered that he was a teacher somewhere. In reality, Chris taught Medical Radiology at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas. Because of that, people started calling him "the Professor". Added to the fact that he played the blues, he became known by all as "Professor Blues". The moniker was eventually shortened to "PB" by his close friends.

As the years went by, Professor Blues and I became great friends. I was always amazed by his knowledge of the history of the Blues. When I started Texas Blues Magazine in 1993, he became a regular contributor writing his monthly column, "Professor Blue's Quiz".

When my band moved on from the Wednesday night jam that by 1993 had moved to Frankies Club, Professor Blues and the Doctors Of Love (featuring Larry "Smiley" Kintz on drums and Thurman "P-Funk"

Robinson on bass), took over the jam and kept it up and running successfully for several more years.

I knew that I could always count on Professor Blues lending his support to the various jams I hosted through the years. On several occasions, when I was sick and could not make it to a gig, I would call on my friend Professor Blues to take my place. He was one of the few musicians I trusted to step right into my position and lead my band so that my guys would never miss a payday.

Whenever Chris did not have a band gig, he would often do a single act at various coffee shops. My wife and I went to see him whenever possible. We were always blown away by the purity of his voice and his extensive repertoire. He could perform obscure songs with perfection that the rest of us had completely forgotten. Chris was a musician's musician. He was one of the players that the rest of us would go see on our nights off. He could move seamlessly from a set of growling blues songs to a tear jerking ballad doing justice to all styles of music.

Every time I saw Professor Blues, he greeted me with a big smile, acknowledged me from the bandstand, and gave me a big old bear hug and asked me to sit in. We often sat in with each other's bands out of mutual respect and admiration for each other. He treated every musician the same, not just me.

The Houston Blues Scene has lost a great Blues Warrior and Crusader for the Blues. Professor Blues loved to play all styles of music and he especially loved to play the blues. He was a favorite among with The Houston Area Blues Celebrities who always knew that they could always count on the Professor Blues band to back them up and "play it like the record".

PB was always the first to volunteer whenever there was a fundraiser or benefit to play. He graciously shared his talents to help raise money for a needy family or a worthy cause.

His favorite story was the fact that when he was a teenager, he had studied guitar under the guiding hand of a young Billy Gibbons, who went on to super stardom with ZZ Top. PB loved his Fender Stratocaster, which was a copy of Eric Clapton's "Blackie". He loved and respected the talents of all other musicians, and was always quick with a smile and a compliment to someone else's talents.

Professor Blues was always confident in his faith. Though he never said much to us musicians about his religion, but it was obvious by his actions that he was a righteous man. Even in the honky tonks where a man can be tempted, Professor Blues always exhibited good, Christian conduct. All of us sinning honky tonkers always respected him for that. He never met a stranger, never said a cuss word and never said a bad word about any human being. He was truly an inspiration to us all.

We had some great times that I will always cherish. I will miss my friend. All of us in the Texas Music Industry will truly miss our good and dear friend, Chris Gould, aka, the great... the legendary, Professor Blues.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to the family, his students at San Jacinto College and to his band members.

For those of you who wish to send condolences, you may visit Professor Blues' website at http://www.professorblues.com . You can send an email directly to the family through that website.

Any other messages:

The Chris Gould Family

c/o Navarre Funeral Home

2444 Rollingbrook

Baytown, Texas 77522

The Viewing:

Tuesday night, January 2, 2007 6pm

Navarre Funeral Home

2444 Rollingbrook

Baytown, Texas

281-422-8111

The Funeral:

Wednesday, January 3rd 10am

The Mormon Church

1010 Birdsong

(behind Bank of America on Garth Road)

Baytown, Texas

281-428-5141

 


 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
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