Lee Hazlewood transformed Duane Eddy and Nancy Sinatra into major stars, but was unable to work the same magic with Sanford Clark, an Arizona rockabilly whose mellow vocal style anticipated the sound of Ricky Nelson. Clark's one big hit, "The Fool," marries guitarist Al Casey's cribbed blues lick to a Hazlewood song that, stylistically, is halfway between country and rock; Clark's almost monotonous delivery and the hypnotic repetition of the guitar riff mirror the ruminative quality of the lyric. It sounds like a hit, but so do many of Clark's other recordings, so what happened? The Fool compiles all of Clark's Dot sides, from the title track and his minor sophomore hit "A Cheat" to the many failed attempts that followed. Also included are most of his Jamie recordings from 1958-1960, which have a stronger country flavor. Nearly a third of the recordings were not issued in their day, including some excellent cuts like the rockabilly tune "A Cross Eyed Alley Cat" and the ballad "Promise Me Baby." Dot Records' Randy Wood tried to pattern Clark after Pat Boone on occasion, leading to some regrettable moments like "Swanee River Rock" and "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" (the latter of which Boone also recorded), but most of Clark's repertoire is much better than one might expect of a one-hit wonder.
The Fool Review
by Greg Adams