Guy Clark May Be the Best Songwriter of the Last Fifty Years That You’ve Never Heard of
I've always admired the songwriters, the men and women that most people don't know, except that they do. Through the words and music they've written that are largely sung by other people.
For the most part, they aren't the people that fill arena's and stadium's with thousands of people. They aren't the one's who stand in the spotlight on stage.
Nope. But they're the one's who fill the mouth's and vocal chords of the singer's that those thousands of fans love. And so, in a way, they are loved, too. Or at least should be.
Guy Clark is a legend. In Texas. You go down to the Lone Star State and Guy Clark is every bit as honored as the better known "Texas" musical legends, people like Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Waylon Jennings.
Now, Tom T. Hall is famous for being country music's "Storyteller", and rightly so. Tom is one of country music's treasures. But this guy named Guy is a legendary storyteller, too, having his words and music come out of the mouths and hearts of people with names like Cash, Harris, Gill, Skaggs, Jackson, Chesney, Paisley and so many more.
To give you an example, listen to The Man In Black tell you a "story" written by the great Guy Clark.
If you know Guy Clark, it is perhaps through his classic "L.A. Freeway", a song made most famous be fellow singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker. I first discovered Guy back in 1975 when I listened to an album called Old No. 1. That album contained a song that would bring the name Guy Clark to an ever larger audience. "Desperado's Waiting For A Train" tells the moving story of a little boy and an old, old man who became more than friends. While it has been recorded by dozens of artist's (In fact, country supergroup "The Highwaymen" recorded it for one of their album's), check out this all-star line-up on David Letterman's Late Show telling this touching story in song.
But with all of Guy Clark's great songs (he really doesn't have a klunker in the whole bunch!), for me personally, the absolute best is one Guy wrote and recorded for his wife, Susanna. If you're looking for a beautiful love song, this is it.
Guy is 73 now, revered in Texas and to this day, a skinny bald Dutch guy in South Dakota is in awe of his talent for stringing just the right words together with just the right music.