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The Essential Guy Clark

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Album Review

It took until 1997 for RCA to get it together and replace their Best of Guy Clark with this package, The Essential Guy Clark. The major differences: almost all of the 20 tracks here were cut by Guy Clark on two separate RCA albums — Old No. 1 and Texas Cookin' — although "It's About That Time," and "Good to Love You Lady" have been cut from the latter album. RCA's Best of Guy Clark contained only 16 tracks. In their place is a true Guy Clark rarity: a cover of Townes Van Zandt's "Don't Let the Sunshine Fool You." Secondly, this collection is represented by an adequate set of liner notes that give all the credits and production information. Lastly, with recordings this important, they are given first-rate sound treatment. All of the cuts on this set have been remastered in 20-bit sound from the original source tapes. Therefore, the original versions of tracks like "Rita Ballou," "The Last Gunfighter Ballad," "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train," and "That Old Time Feelin'" along with as many others, sound better here than they do on any import recordings that are known of. The only complaint concerning this LP is using the term "essential" in the title instead of just using straight reissues of the albums as two-fers with their given titles (The Essential Guy Clark is part of a series RCA had going), which makes it confusing for both the fan and the casual listener. Given this, neither of these records are actually out of print, except individually under their own names, which is ridiculous.


Born: November 06, 1941 in Monahans, TX

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guy Clark didn't just write songs, he crafted them, with the kind of hands-on care and respect that a master carpenter (a favorite image of his) would when faced with a stack of rare hardwood. Clark worked slowly and with strict attention to detail -- he released only 13 studio albums in his 40-year career -- but he produced an impressive collection of timeless gems, leaving very little waste behind. His albums never met much commercial success, but the emotional level of his work consistently transcended...
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