Guy Clark

Guy Clark

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On his Warner Brothers debut and third album overall, Guy Clark made a hard turn to a more polished country sound -- though it was hardly the "hard" country of Conway Twitty. It was also the most experimental record he'd released to date, cello, clavinet, and harpsichord gracing some of the tunes, and a backing band that included Albert Lee, Buddy Emmons, and Mickey Raphael, among others. Backing vocalists, always a part of Clark's recordings, included Don Everly, the Whites, and Rodney Crowell as well as a young, previously unrecorded Kay Oslin (later K.T. Oslin). Rather than pen everything himself, Clark wrote only half the tunes on the record; the others came from Townes Van Zandt ("Don't You Take It Too Bad"), Rodney Crowell ("Voila, an American Dream"), and Jimmie Rodgers ("In the Jailhouse Now"), among others. Clark's touch was at once more pastoral and more honky tonk, the folky traces of the RCA albums vanished inside tracks like "Houston Kid," the Van Zandt tune, and "Comfort and Crazy." It's only in the open-wound "Fool on the Roof Blues" that Clark allows himself the same lightheartedness he did on the earlier records. This is a fine label debut, and if Clark hadn't recorded those two albums for RCA, it might have sounded like a great one. The end result, however, is an artist trying new things and trying to grow, coming up with a handful of real gems in the process.

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