Guy Porter Gillette, son of Doris and famed photographer Guy Gillette, and brother of Pipp Gillette, with whom he performed and co-owned Camp Street Café & Store in Crockett, Texas, passed away on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013.
Guy and his brother Pipp grew up in Yonkers, New York, and spent their summers on the ranch belonging to their grandfather, V.H. “Hoyt” Porter, in Lovelady, Texas. In their teen years they put together a band called The Roadrunners that featured a young Diane Keaton as the lead singer. Diane Keaton eventually left the band to star in the musical Hair, when she was discovered by Woody Allen. The brothers continued to play the coffeehouse circuit up and down the East Coast and throughout the Midwest from 1968 to 1983. They made two albums and a few singles.
In the early 1980s, Guy and Pipp, who had inherited their grandparents’ ranch in Lovelady, decided to move to Texas and refurbish the family homestead. Not long after, Guy met and married Cathi Stas from Wheeler and the couple was blessed with a daughter, Dorcie.
The Gillette Brothers also refurbished the historical Camp Street in Crockett and created a “listening room” out of a former pool hall and barbershop that was built and owned by their grandfather. Their new venue became known as Camp Street Café & Store. Together they continued to entertain crowds at Camp Street and across the nation with their own brand of blues, cowboy ballads, and folk songs. Their shows often included vaudeville and old minstrel show comedy routines that featured the two playing anything from guitars, banjos, harmonicas, tambourines, and kazoos, to the bones – which Guy Porter Gillette was fantastic at.
The brothers continued to record as well, and were recipients of the Western Heritage Award for Best Traditional Western CD of 2010 for their album Cowboy Minstrel and Medicine Show. The award was among many honors and praise for their preservation of traditional cowboy music.
Guy Gillette had been battling a cancer for the last year and succumbed to that illness at 5 am on September 2. Camp Street will never be the same without the pure tenor voice of Guy, which blended perfectly with Pipp’s strong baritone.
Guy and Pipp’s father Guy Gillette passed away just two weeks earlier, on August 19.
A celebration of the life of Guy Porter Gillette took place on September 10 at Camp Street. It would have been Guy’s 68th birthday.
-Penny Lynn Webb
(Excerpted with the author’s permission from County Life Magazine online)