Guy Clark 1941-2016 May 21, 2016Posted by yourcousin in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
When George Jones died I shrugged and gave his memory a metaphorical “tip of the hat”. I felt something more for Merle, but Guy Clark’s passing genuinely upset me. Next to Johnny Cash he is my favorite country musician/singer/songwriter. And as I told my friends from Texas aside from Ray Wiley Hubbard, and Willie Nelson, Guy Clark was one of the last three things Texas had going for it (That list originally included the author John Graves). Perhaps it is telling that my list of decent Texans only includes old white men, but que sera. For some reason I as I reflected on his passing I couldn’t help but keep coming back to Graves and his book Goodbye to a River. In the fifties a last canoe trip was taken down the Brazos river that was to be dammed. The book, part travelogue, part local history, part memoir is a moving picture of the price of progress. It is also a reminder that the old ways were not always better. The idea of husbandry and stewardship were/are never universal. The line that I keep coming back to (one that eventually became its own book, The Last Running).
Damn you for not ever getting to know anything worth knowing. Damn me, too. We had a world, once.
Perhaps it’s that as part of my job now I regularly drive all over northern Colorado and hardly recognize the land I grew up in. Between the fracking sites with their hay bale walls and mcmansions springing up all over what was once prairie and farm land is now being squeezed out of existence. Guy Clark was the soundtrack to that existence. A literate red neck of sorts whose music was essentially poetry set to music. He sang of an America that was passing even in his youth and one whose gravestones are being bulldozed for a new strip mall.It is telling that he is often referred to as a folk singer or grouped in the “Americana” genre. I can think of no greater indictment of modern country music. He has graced TWIMBT before, but he certainly deserves his own remembrance.
These songs are essentially the “best of” cuts. There are so many great songs that he has. I never even saw him in concert so I guess his passing is an abstraction but my world has become a little greyer, less colorful for his passing. Enjoy.
Desperados Waiting for a Train
That Old Time Feeling
The Randall Knife
My Favorite Picture of You