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Guy Clark

Guy Clark didn't just write songs, he crafted them, with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would when faced with a stack of rare hardwood. Clark worked slowly and with strict attention to detail -- he released only 13 studio albums in his 40-year career -- but he produced an impressive collection of timeless gems, leaving very little waste behind. His albums never met much commercial success, but the emotional level of his work consistently transcended sales figures and musical genres. He's the archetype of the modern country songwriter that young artists study and seasoned writers (and listeners) admire.

Clark was born in the West Texas town of Monahans. His mother worked and his father was in the Army, so he was raised mostly by his grandmother, who ran the town hotel. One of her residents was an oil well driller who would later end up the subject of one of Clark's most moving and stunningly beautiful songs, "Desperados Waiting for a Train." Many of Clark's songs, in fact, centered around his days growing up in West Texas, including "Texas 1947" (from his debut album) and the 1992 song "Boats to Build," which harked back to a summer job he once had as a teenager on the Gulf Coast.

The first songs Clark learned were mostly in Spanish. Later, when he moved to Houston and began working the folk music circuit, he met fellow songwriter Townes Van Zandt (the two often toured together until Van Zandt's death in 1997) and blues singers Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb. It was here that Clark began playing and writing his sturdy brand of folk- and blues-influenced country music.

In the late '60s, Clark moved to California, living first in San Francisco (where he met and married his wife Susanna, a painter and songwriter) and then in Los Angeles, where he worked in the Dopyera brothers' Dobro factory. Tiring quickly of Southern California (sentiments he expressed in another of his classics, "L.A. Freeway"), he and Susanna packed up and headed for Nashville in 1971, where he picked up work as a writer with publishing companies and, eventually, a recording contract with RCA. Clark's first album, Old No. 1, came out in 1975, a few years after Jerry Jeff Walker had turned "L.A. Freeway" into a minor hit. By this time Clark was considered one of the most promising young writers in country music, and while he didn't live in Texas anymore, the state's influence still ran thick in his blood.

Clark recorded one more album for RCA, Texas Cookin', before switching to Warner Bros. for his next three albums, released between 1978 and 1983. Three of his songs from these albums cracked the Top 100. By the mid-'80s, however, a number of his songs had been made into hits by country stars such as Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Ricky Skaggs (who took "Heartbroke" to number one), George Strait, Vince Gill, and the Highwaymen. Clark continued to work as a writer but didn't record again until 1988's Old Friends, released by Sugar Hill. He then switched labels once more, this time to Asylum, which released his 1992 album Boats to Build as part of their acclaimed American Explorer series.

His eighth album, Dublin Blues, came out in 1995, and among its finely crafted moments was a rereading of one of his most enduring songs, "Randall Knife," about the death of his father. Clark next released a pair of albums for his old label Sugar Hill, Cold Dog Soup in 1999 and Dark in 2002. He moved to Dualtone beginning with 2006's Workbench Songs, and received great reviews, both for it and the follow-up Somedays the Song Writes You in 2009. The year 2011 found Clark releasing Songs and Stories (recorded live at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville), an intimate recap of his 40 years as a singer, songwriter, and storyteller.

Clark's wife Susanna passed in 2012. A year later in 2013, her memory figured heavily on his first new studio album in four years, My Favorite Picture of You. It was an intimate set of songs showing that Clark at the age of 71 was still a master songwriter, as good and as elegantly moving as ever. It was the final album he released during his life; years of illness, including a bout with cancer, finally claimed him on May 17, 2016. ~ Kurt Wolff & Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Live From Dixie's Bar & Bus Stop

Disc 1

2. Home Grown Tomatoes (Live)

4. L.A. Freeway (Live)

6. Texas 1947 (Live)

14. She Ain't Goin Nowhere (Live)

16. New Cut Road (Live)

20. Desperados Waiting For A Train (Live)

24. Texas Cookin (Live)

Disc 2

1. Rita Balou (Live)

2. Virginia's Real (Live)

3. Fools For Each Other (Live)

4. Supply And Demand (Live)

5. Indian Cowboy (Live)

6. Broken Hearted People (Live)

7. Like A Coat From The Cold (Live)

8. The Last Gunfighter Ballad (Live)

9. Calf Rope (Live)

10. Partner Nobody Chose (Live)

11. She's Crazy For Leavin' (Live)

12. That Old Time Feeling (Live)

13. South Coast Of Texas (Live)

14. Randall Knife (Live)

15. In The Jailhouse Now (Live)

16. No Deal (Live)

x

Track List: My Favorite Picture Of You

1. Cornmeal Waltz

2. My Favorite Picture Of You

3. Hell Bent On A Heartache

4. El Coyote

5. Heroes

6. Rain In Durango

7. Good Advice

8. The Death Of Sis Draper

9. Waltzing Fool

10. The High Price Of Inspiration

11. I'll Show Me

x

Track List: Songs And Stories

1. Introduction (Live)

2. L.A. Freeway (Live)

3. Story: Sometimes They Come Easy (Live)

4. Maybe I Can Paint Over That (Live)

5. Story: Townes? Road Keets (Live)

6. If I Needed You (Live)

7. The Cape (Live)

8. Homegrown Tomatoes (Live)

9. Shawn And Verlon (Live)

10. Story: The Legend Of Sis Draper (Live)

11. Sis Draper (Live)

12. Magnolia Wind (Live)

13. Story: I'm From Greasy Bend (Live)

14. Darwettia's Mandolin (Live)

15. Story: Hang In There (Live)

16. Joe Walker's Mare (Live)

17. A Nod To Rodney Crowell (Live)

18. Stuff That Works (Live)

19. Out In The Parkin' Lot (Live)

20. Intro: The Randall Knife (Live)

21. The Randall Knife (Live)

22. Curtain Call For The Cast (Live)

23. Dublin Blues (Live)

x

Track List: Somedays The Song Writes You

1. Somedays The Song Writes You

2. The Guitar

3. Hemingway/S Whiskey

4. The Coat

5. All She Wants Is You

6. If I Needed You

7. Hollywood

8. Eamon

9. Wrong Side Of The Tracks

10. One Way Ticket Down

11. Maybe I Can Paint Over That

x

Track List: Hindsight 20-20 Anthology 1975-95

1. L.A. Freeway

2. Rita Ballou

3. She Ain't Goin' Nowhere

4. Texas 1947

5. Desperados Waiting For The Train

6. Texas Cookin'

7. Broken Hearted People

8. The Last Gunfighter Ballad

9. Comfort And Crazy

10. The Houston Kid

11. New Cut Road

12. South Coast Of Texas

13. Heartbroke

15. Homegrown Tomatoes

16. The Randall Knife

17. No Deal

18. Baton Rouge

19. Boats To Build

20. Dublin Blues

21. The Cape

x

Track List: Americana Master Series: Best Of The Sugar Hill Years

1. Magnolia Wind

2. Cold Dog Soup

3. Soldier's Joy, 1864

4. South Coast Of Texas (Live)

5. Sis Draper

6. Mud

7. Ain't No Trouble To Me

8. A Little Of Both (Live)

9. Dancin' Days

10. Fort Worth Blues

11. Red River

12. Arizona Star

13. Bunkhouse Blues

14. Queenie's Song

15. Out In The Parking Lot (Live)

x

Track List: Workbench Songs

1. Walkin' Man

2. Magdalene

3. Tornado Time In Texas

4. Funny Bone

5. Expose

6. Out In The Parkin' Lot

7. No Lonesome Tune

8. Cinco De Mayo In Memphis

9. Analog Girl

10. Worry B Gone

x

Track List: The Dark

1. Mud

2. Arizona Star

3. Magnolia Wind

4. Soldier's Joy, 1864

5. Dancin' Days

6. Homeless

7. Off The Map

8. Bag Of Bones

9. She Loves To Ride Horses

10. Rex's Blues

11. Queenie's Song

12. The Dark

x

Track List: Old No 1 / Texas Cookin'

1. Rita Ballou

2. LA Freeway

3. She Ain't Goin' Nowhere

5. That Old Time Feeling

6. Texas-1947

7. Desperados Waiting For The Train

8. Like A Coat From The Cold

9. Instant Coffee Blues

10. Let Him Roll

11. Texas Cookin'

12. Anyhow, I Love You

13. Virginia's Real

14. It's About Time

15. Good To Love You Lady

16. Broken Hearted People

17. Black Haired Boy

19. The Ballad Of Laverne And Captain Flint

20. The Last Gunfighter Ballad

x

Track List: Cold Dog Soup

1. Cold Dog Soup

2. Fort Worth Blues

3. Sis Draper

4. Ain't No Trouble To Me

5. Water Under The Bridge

6. Forever, For Always, For Certain

7. Men Will Be Boys

8. Indian Head Penny

9. Bunkhouse Blues

10. Red River

11. Die Tryin'

12. Be Gone Forever

x

Track List: Keepers: A Live Recording

2. Texas-1947

3. Like A Coat From The Cold

5. The Last Gunfighter Ballad

6. Better Days (live)

7. Homegrown Tomatoes (live)

8. She Ain't Goin' Nowhere

9. South Coast Of Texas (live)

10. That Old Time Feeling

11. A Little Of Both (live)

12. Out In The Parking Lot (live)

13. Let Him Roll

14. Texas Cookin' (live)

15. Desperados Waiting For A Train

x

Track List: The Essential Guy Clark

1. Texas 1947

2. Desperadoes Waiting For A Train

3. Like A Coat From The Cold

4. Instant Coffee Blues

5. Let Him Roll

6. Rita Ballou

7. L.A. Freeway

8. She Ain't Goin' Nowhere

9. A Nickel For The Fiddler

10. That Old Time Feelin'

11. Texas Cookin'

12. Anyhow I Love You

13. Virginia's Reel

14. Broken Hearted People

15. Black Haired Boy

16. Me I'm Feelin' The Same

17. The Ballad Of Laverne And Captain Flint

18. Don't Let The Sunshine Fool You

19. The Last Gunfighter Ballad

20. Fools For Each Other

x

Track List: Dublin Blues

1. Dublin Blues

2. Black Diamond Strings

3. Shut Up And Talk To Me

4. Stuff That Works

5. Hank Williams Said It Best

6. The Cape

7. Baby Took A Limo To Memphis

8. Tryin' To Try

9. Hangin' Your Life On The Wall

10. The Randall Knife

x

Track List: Craftsman

Disc 1

1. Fool On The Roof

2. Fools For Each Other

4. Voila, An American Dream

5. One Paper Kid

6. In The Jailhouse Now

7. Comfort And Crazy

8. Don't You Take It Too Bad

9. The Houston Kid

11. Who Do You Think You Are

12. Crystelle

13. New Cut Road

14. Rita Ballou

15. South Coast Of Texas

Disc 2
x

Track List: Boats To Build

1. Baton Rouge

2. Picasso's Mandolin

3. How'd You Get This Number

4. Boats To Build

5. Too Much

6. Ramblin' Jack & Mahan

7. I Don't Love You Much Do I

8. Jack Of All Trades

9. Madonna W/Child Ca. 1969

10. Must Be My Baby

x

Track List: Old Friends

1. Old Friends

2. Hands

3. All Through Throwin' Good Love After Bad

4. Immigrant Eyes

5. Heavy Metal

6. Come From The Heart

7. The Indian Cowboy

8. To Live Is To Fly

9. Watermelon Dream

10. Doctor Good Doctor

x

Track List: Better Days

1. Blowin' Like A Bandit

2. Better Days

3. Homegrown Tomatoes

4. Supply & Demand

5. The Randall Knife

6. The Carpenter

7. Uncertain Texas

8. No Deal

9. Tears

10. Fool In The Mirror

x

Track List: The South Coast Of Texas

1. Who Do You Think You Are

2. Crystelle

3. New Cut Road

4. Rita Ballou

5. South Coast Of Texas

6. Heartbroke

7. The Partner Nobody Chose

8. She's Crazy For Leavin'

9. Calf-Rope

10. Lone Star Hotel

x

Track List: Guy Clark

1. Fool On The Roof

2. Fools For Each Other

4. Voila, An American Dream

5. One Paper Kid

6. In The Jailhouse Now

7. Comfort And Crazy

8. Don't You Take It Too Bad

9. The Houston Kid

Comments

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Guy Clark. He's very special, really like all of his recordings!
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Love this song.
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God I miss his simple poetry, this honest, beautiful soul.
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As a west Texas ex-pat his songs always take me home, no matter how many years or miles I'm away. God bless.
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Very few that lived the words are left. Will be missed.
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Amazing song writer . His music will out live all of us . Say hello to my father Guy .
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Don't be a stranger when your looking for a friend, Even Heroes need a little help,words to live by...... Thanks Guy. Truly a modern day outlaw, although he didn't sling guns he slung a guitar.
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raidercampbe l l
Too soon !
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judson15
going to miss him , all the good ones are going !
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cowdog68
RIP Desperado. The train is finally here.
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RIP
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snall5
I know that Guy will be Greatly Missed!!!
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The song is a musical short story called Off the Map. I think Anton Chekhov was reincarnated as a Texas songwriter.
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jbashore2
I had an opportunity to see him in the Plano Tx area several years ago, simply amazing in concert....a s s u m e song writer, entertainer. :)
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Cool kat
True talent is Guy
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aelwyn1964
Guy Clark is one of my favorite songwriters. Just amazing. He is a gift.
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This is a very
Folk storytelling Artist
WAY underrated
Love him!!

0:o)))
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Just how I feel today..
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The voice of West Texas
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mike3345mike
You were a shadow of me in THE SW. Loved CA but settled in LAS VEGAS. LOVE YOUR TUNES. Army - 18 years.
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That being said missy Jerry Jeff does a great version of LA Freeway.
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"Only two things that money can't buy, and that's true love and Homegrown Tomatoes!" An anthem!
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In spite of the many excellent covers of Guy Clark's songs, no one does them like Guy. Give yourself a treat and sit without other distractions and listen, really listen.
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This aint Hollywood, it never really gets that good~call it love it you think you should-There ' s no need to explain ... does anyone recognize that one? How about Jimmy LaFaeve?
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I saw Guy n Susanna a couple times play at Jed's in New Orleans. He is still my all time fave. .
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I call Him Shakespeare in cowboy boots he is my favorite songwriter
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elenawakeman
Incredible songwriter - my husband played bass for Guy years ago so that is how I became aware of his music. Fortunate enough to meet him a few times - he's the real deal and such a gentleman. Love Homegrown Tomatoes
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katie.wonder l i n g
Spread your arms learn to fly and always trust your cape, Amazing song writer, My kids embraced this song and sing it like they wrote it, They are 12 and 14,now but still love the Cape by jerry Jeff, written by Guy
Clark, a legendary composer and a messenger to the masses.
Peace ya all . David J. Dehner. God Bless these United Souls of Music,,,,,,, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Report as inappropriate
Guy Clark, old friends, bigger and better than Texas, hope it never ends, from old El Paso, past Big Bends, to eastern winds from Louisiana,ba c k to Monahans, blue ribbon, blue bottle,blue bonnet,I want it ...
Report as inappropriate
lindayoungaz
Aaaaaaaahhhh h h h h h h h h h this is a song about a very tough time in my life. My teddy bear M.R. Snuffles was burnt to death by some teddy bear haters and republicans. That night I planted a bomb in their tree house. Then the violence began. A series of murders tortures and robberies followed. This song is about that violence.
(chorus)
(MEOW! MEOW!MEOW! Said the cat in the kitchen.
HA!HA!Ha! Screamed the pigeon on the porch.
LA!LA!LA!Sai d the man who saw the gore.
But OH!OH!
Report as inappropriate
rickdsnow
Taylor Swift "REALLY". Not much of a connoisseur I see.
Report as inappropriate
I've been in love with Guy and his music since the 70's. The evocative, meaningful lyrics and haunting melodies are the BEST out there, and always have been. It's just so sad now to think of him without Susanna. What a love story they are.
Report as inappropriate
He gets to the heart of the song. No overdubbed crap to get in the way of the song.
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Mostly, this style of music doesn't do a lot for this old jazzer, but Mr. Clark is the amazingly great exception to that. You can just step into the story when Guy is singing it.
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The way he plays is simply amazing. Great guitar player, glad I stumbled across this. Guy Clark for President!!
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I dig guy however I find him a bit overrated In a lot of ways, but he is still the man, good stuff!!!
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Guy Clark john prine Steve Goodman what if
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mgmdvm
I was turned on to Guy Clark in the early 70s from a Jerry Jeff Walker cover of Desperados Waiting for a Train. At the same time I had a live music bar in Ames,Iowa, and one of the bands did a cover of L.A. Freeway. I was hooked!!! His songs continue to be thoughtful, poignant, sometimes funny, and always excellent.
Report as inappropriate
I always thought that the lyrics referred to the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin, TX. It has a mighty fine bar. Where did you see lyrics that say Chilly?
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heidel5
Why do the lyrics to Dublin say Chilly parlor bar? It's a CHILI ParLOR!! like the stuff you eat.
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Guy Clark is one of the best!
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colinusa2
Magnolia wind was my choice for our first dance when my wife and I got married.
Report as inappropriate
I love Guy Clark music ... To listen to and cover at my Australian gigs ... Sadly few know about him here but I'm having fun educating them as to what real country music is
Report as inappropriate
Guy Clark is the Earnest Hemingway of Texas songwriters.
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I have to admit that I missed guy the first time around. I can't believe just discovered him the past year. Real music from real people.
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went to see Jerry Jeff & Guy in NYC back in the mid 70's.I was the only one who knew anything about Guy most had come to see Jerry jeff.Jerry Jeff was so drunk that he only got thru 6 songs and left.Guy blew everyone away and saved the evening.Mr Walker you owe me!I went there a Jerry Jeff fan and left a Guy Clark fan.Thanks Guy!
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BOY DOES THIS AND SHOOTER SOUND SIMILAR
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hearstadam
Certain artists come up with the most profound way to express what we all feel, guy Clark is definitely one of them. He is right up there with Kristofferso n , and waylon
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Buy the album cheepo.
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betkorn597
can I choose an entire albulm to play in sequence?
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