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Guy Clark - Workbench Songs

Workbench Songs

Guy Clark

Dualtone Records 80302-01239

Available from EchoTunes

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Those of you lucky enough to have a friend or family member that had an personal comprehensive workroom/workbench that was important to them, even if it was just a place to go and sit and not be disturbed, know the care and order that goes into one, whether they worked with wood, cars, stones, or a typewriter. These songs all have that same ordered, simple, organic feel to them, which makes them seem so intimate.

Guy Clark is the man who has given us such gems of songwriting as Homegrown Tomatoes, Desperados Waiting for A Train, and L.A. Freeway. He and friends have given us another disc full of gems, such as Out In The Parking Lot and Analog Girl. The songs seem so simple that the listener immediately identifies the situation/person and recalls their own personal story which relates directly to the yarn being sung. Before you get the impression he wrote all of these gems, 9 of the 11 are co-written with friends such as Darrell Scott, Rodney Crowell, and Verlon Thompson all of whom are accomplished songwriters on their own. Of the other two, one is traditional, and the other was written by his good friend Townes Van Zandt. This co-writing, he says, forces the words out loud and "… It cuts out a lot of bullshit of just sitting there fooling yourself for two or three days."

He has a way of looking astutely at the situations life presents and distilling them down to an essence that we can all identify with, and at the same time he doesn't pass judgment on either the characters or their reactions. It is incisive observation presented to you, often with a kind of droll take on the situation you might not have considered. Walkin' Man, which leads off the disc, is his way of honoring those that had the courage to walk their talk; people such as Gandhi and Woody Guthrie, and encourage all of us to follow their lead. This is a gem of a fine disc by the man who epitomizes the observant Texas songwriter.

Track List:

  • Walkin’ Man
  • Magdalene
  • Tornado Time in Texas
  • Funny Bone
  • Exposé
  • Out in the Parkin’ Lot
  • No Lonesome Tune
  • Cinco de Mayo In Memphis
  • Analog Girl
  • Worry B Gone
  • Diamond Joe

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2006, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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