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The Dark - Guy Clark
The Dark
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Reviewed by Jennifer Webb

Not being too familiar with Guy Clark's music, I was anxious to review "The Dark" and after listening to it I am amazed by the song's lyrics and the musicianship as well. Darrell Scott and Chris Latham are just a couple of the guys lending their talents to the music as Guy sings his heart out on every song.

"Mud," the opening song is a down home folksy tune about everything that goes on down by the creek. Whether it is making mud pies, taking a little rain, or getting your feet wet, the lyrics could easily relate to a person's life situations. A person is always bound to have their rough days, but it is how we handle them that makes up the person we are.

Remembering a past relationship is a common thing to do, and Guy sings about one in "Arizona Star." He believed that she could have been anything she wanted to, including an actress because she played the part of premadonna and southern belle so well, even though her whole existence consisted of being an oxymoron. Because of that, he could never figure out who the real person was.

Written by Guy Clark and Shawn Camp, "Soldier's Joy" is a sad old tale about a soldier not being able to walk without a cane because of a bullet that hit his leg. Once the doctor walked in, saw that the leg was green, and said that it was a miracle the man was even alive, he told the soldier to "drink as deep as you can" because he was about to cut the leg off with a hacksaw. From that moment the soldier never felt he would be able to fight again and ended up hitting the bottle until he was in his grave. Tim O'Brien plays the fiddle on this one, as Darrell Scott joins in on banjo.

Starting out with spoken lines, "Homeless" captures the harsh life that will happen to a person living out on the street. The man started out pretty well off and had a job, but in a flash he was living with the abused and the bums. He carries a sign that read "Friend For Life 25 cents" while he wonders how he could ever get to a point in his life where he would beg for money - he wants to be back on the other side. Finally he thinks as positively as he can, and he says that times might be bad and you might lose your way sometimes but at least it is not raining - no matter how bad things are it could always be worse.

"Queenie's Song" is about a horrible guy that shot another man's precious dog. Taking a little trip to Sante Fe on New Year's Eve provided the perfect chance to get revenge as a hole was suddenly dug and the body was buried underneath as "Auld Lang Syne" played over and over in the man's mind. The message is to not mess with another man's dog because there is no greater bond of one that is shared by humans and animals.

Also the name of the album, "The Dark" describes the things that go on when the sun goes down. Along with the house settling and the relaxing drip of the kitchen sink, you can sit down and let your shoulders slump as you relax and unwind from the hectic daytime. Stars and lightning bugs make their appearance and everything is so clear that you can practically see for miles.

If you enjoy a blending of folk and bluegrass sound, then "The Dark" is perfect for you. The songs, which were all written or co-written by Guy Clark, are very vivid and descriptive and they paint a wonderful picture of what is taking place during each line.

Song List:

  1. Mud
  2. Arizona Star
  3. Magnolia Wind
  4. Soldier's Joy, 1864
  5. Dancin' Days
  6. Homeless
  7. Off the Map
  8. Bag of Bones
  9. She Loves to Ride Horses
  10. Rex's Blues
  11. Queenie's Song
  12. The Dark

Album cover courtesy of Sugar Hill

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