I wake up every mornin’ Lord and what do I see
I got a fool in my mirror and he’s lyin’ to me
On May 17 the Lone Star State lost one of the quintessential Texans and the world lost one of its great songsters.
Guy Clark was much more self-knowing than most singer-songwriters; he was also much less self-indulgent.
None of his songs was merely about him, although his directly autobiographical The Randall Knife has very few peers among “father and son” songs.
My father died when I was forty
And I couldn’t find a way to cry
Not because I didn’t love him
Not because he didn’t try
I’d cried for every lesser thing
Whiskey, pain and beauty
But he deserved a better tear
And I was not quite ready
Guy Clark’s 1975 debut disc Old No 1 is still one of the greatest singer-songwriter albums; not co-incidentally, its maker was not a youth.
It was no fluke; in terms of “great songs, all in in a row” he never topped Old No 1, but for another four decades Clark wrote and co-wrote (often, with his late wife Susanna) a large number of wonderful songs.
In one of them – Dublin Blues – Clark praised three great artists who would otherwise never have appeared within a single, pithy verse – Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Doc Watson.
Highly literate, but unpretentious, erudite but earthy, Guy Clark often made me smile.
Sometimes, he made me cry.
For many years – whenever my beloved and I were not at home – Guy Clark (unwittingly) answered our telephone.
If you’d like your unattended ‘phone to amuse your friends whilst deterring salesmen, simply apply a little of Guy and Susanna Clark’s How’d You Get This Number!
Click here to read a good obituary that also leads to audio of many choice songs.