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Guy Clark Cold Dog Soup (Sugar Hill)

Cold Dog Soup (Sugar Hill)

Reviewed by Jerry Renshaw, Fri., Dec. 31, 1999

Record Reviews

Guy Clark

Cold Dog Soup (Sugar Hill)

Guy Clark takes a decidedly folky approach on his latest for release for Durham, North Carolina bluegrass indie label Sugar Hill, lining up acoustic guitar, mandolin, mandocello, and fiddle accompaniment for that lived-in sounding voice of his. Verlon Thompson provides rhythm guitar and harmony vocals on nearly every song, with a voice similar enough to Clark's own to blend seamlessly. Emmylou Harris also visits on "Be Gone Forever," and a solemn cover of Steve Earle's "Fort Worth Blues." Like Texas-poet compatriots Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Earl Keen, and Billy Joe Shaver, Clark's voice is imperfect and a little ragged, but he makes the most of it, and doesn't try to overextend himself vocally. Unfortunately, that less-is-more ideology also tends toward songs that don't vary much musically, but Clark's songwriting is engaging enough to merit a close listen. "Men Will Be Boys" is a sardonic take on guys who refuse to grow up (all guys, in other words) that could stand to be rocked-out a bit and should make a fine cover for some other band. "Sis Draper" has a bit more energy and a quasi-bluegrass feel, while pulling off the line, "She's a travelling Arkansawyer." Not everyone can get away with a line like that, but with Guy Clark it's natural.

***

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