Cold Dog Soup follows Dublin Blues in its poignant observations of life, love, death, and all the states in between. Clark's voice may be a little worn, but his songwriting skills are sharper than ever here. He uses a group of musicians that revolve around longtime collaborators Verlon Thompson and Darrell Scott and the backing vocals of Emmylou Harris. Clark has become comfortable with co-writing in recent years and Cold Dog Soup's no exception. Three of the cuts were penned with Verlon Thompson, a pair with Jon Randall Stewart, and one with Shawn Camp, who is also part of his band. In addition, there are two new Clark songs and a trio of covers that are awesome and very different interpretations of the originals. There's Steve Earle's "Fort Worth Blues," written as an elegy for their late friend, songwriter Townes Van Zandt; there's a gorgeous read of Richard Dobson's "Forever, for Always, for Certain"; and the album closes with the old-time folk song "Be Gone Forever," written by Anna McGarrigle and Keith Sykes. Performed as a duet, it is one of the most traditional pieces of music Clark has ever recorded. The tragedy "Water Under the Bridge" feels a lot like the folk-blues of Bob Dylan's "Ballad of Hollis Brown," and in its own way is just as harrowing, with the mandolin fills floating around the guitar lines. "Bunkhouse Blues" is a cowboy blues complete with yodels that gets to the high and lonesome better than most bluegrass. "Men Will Be Boys" is a good-time anthem that could have been written and recorded during the Austin era with Jerry Jeff Walker and the rest. Ultimately, Cold Dog Soup is another fine Guy Clark album. He's been on a roll for nearly three decades and shows no sign of resting on his considerable laurels.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek