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The Dark

by Guy Clark
 
No one writes songs about life on the fringes with more insight or humanity than Guy Clark. Like his previous albums, The Dark introduces a group of outcast characters trying to get through another day with body and soul intact. "Arizona Star" tells of an iconoclastic woman "with tombstones in her eyes" and a sword-carrying, purple tights-wearing girlfriend

Overview

No one writes songs about life on the fringes with more insight or humanity than Guy Clark. Like his previous albums, The Dark introduces a group of outcast characters trying to get through another day with body and soul intact. "Arizona Star" tells of an iconoclastic woman "with tombstones in her eyes" and a sword-carrying, purple tights-wearing girlfriend named George whose life is a circus, literally and figuratively; Clark doesn't ask us to like these women, but his admiring tone suggests they're more interesting than your run-of-the-mill celebrity. And who would've guessed that the fury driving the narrator of "Queenie's Song" -- unleashed when he finds his dog shot dead -- would produce a chilling final verse revealing the narrator himself to be near the end of his days but unbowed in his quest for revenge? Adding to the resonance of Clark's songs is their timelessness, as his characters reflect not passing trends but the ongoing human condition. "Arizona Star" references the year of '75 and the title song mentions '99, but by not specifying a century, Clark emphasizes the songs' transcendent appeal. And when he does get specific, the results are equally profound. Although its lyrics don't assign it a year, the rustic, Irish-tinged acoustic music behind "Soldier's Joy," the tale of a wounded man's desperation for alcoholic relief as his gangrenous leg is being hacked off, evokes Civil War songs. Similarly, the stark "Homeless" tackles a contemporary problem with eloquence and sensitivity. Reveling in the intrigue and emotion surrounding characters outside the mainstream radar, The Dark is one of Clark's finest hours.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Robert L. Doerschuk
Clark's easygoing, front-porch delivery benefits from the intimate setting provided throughout The Dark. With plenty of space around the instruments and no production clutter in the way, the essence of each song conveys clearly as well. Surprises are few, and perhaps the least-surprising aspect of this set is that it is as well-crafted as one has a right to expect from Clark. (Only one track, by Townes Van Zandt, is a cover.) Subjects range from the historical, in the gruesome yet stoic "Soldier's Joy, 1864," to reflections on more modern tragedies; in the spoken verses and weary-sung choruses of "Homeless," Clark captures the fatalism of living on the streets with vernacular eloquence. Clark turns the death of a beloved dog into a mordant lament on "Queenie's Song" and ruminates on simple, visceral pleasures on "Mud." In truth, no one track stands out; each reflects the care of a writer (or, on these songs, co-writer) and singer -- more than that, an actor for whom music is his stage, and whose high standards seem likely to persist for a long, long time.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/17/2002
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891107028
catalogNumber:
1070
Rank:
45583

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Guy Clark   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Verlon Thompson   Guitar,Harmonica,Mandolin,Percussion,Vocals,Djembe,national steel guitar
Shawn Camp   Fiddle
Tim O'Brien   Fiddle
Darrell Scott   Banjo,Bass,Dobro,Guitar,Mandolin,Accordion,Vocals,Mandocello,Marimbula,Guitar (Baritone)
Gillian Welch   Vocal Harmony
David Rawlings   Vocal Harmony
Chris Latham   Violin

Technical Credits

Guy Clark   Composer,Producer
Verlon Thompson   Producer
Darrell Scott   Producer
Chris Latham   Producer,Engineer
Steve Nelson   Composer

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