Texas singer songerwriters kick butt
November 12, 2004
Music discovery... Last year I discovered Guy Clark's combo CD Old No. 1 & Texas Cookin'. Hoo-doggie. That's some FINE music. (Click name above to order.) He's the country singer/songwriter who can take any amount of critical scrutiny and come back swingin'. He's the writer's singer. No, the cowboy's. No, both.
Then I bought a different double CD set of his that has cuts that are equally as good, "Craftsman." If you've ever wondered whether today's rural economic plight doesn't have a counterpart remedy like Prohibition was in yesteryear, take a listen to "Supply & Demand" (then read Jack Rudloe's "Potluck!" novel that I published). Rappers aren't the only ones with a view on the issue. Heard any songs celebrating small family commercial fishing? Say hello to "The South Coast of Texas" and say goodbye to this great slice of America that like so many others is disappearing. Click here to order. Man, this Gulf Coast vibe music is just kickin'.
Then there's TVZ. Townes van Zandt. I'm a johnny come lately to his music. But he's deep and wide. Really, I only found out about any of these guys thanks to the novels of Jack Saunders. He mentions them all. But he mentioned Richard Dobson's memoir, which I read (and now resell), that's about life on the rockin' road with TVZ and rooming with Guy Clark. So that all inspired me to buy all of their music. I sure have been impressed. There's literary talent here to beat the band. TVZ has the sad genius part down pat. He's the best, subtlest of them all. The loner half-Indian black-Irish country singer on heroin, 50+ and living with a teenager back in the hills. He used to do big gigs and not be able to get on stage. Just sit on the edge, slumped, while his band (and Dobson) played the show. Sometimes life hurts. But they're all in there swingin'.
Of course there are a few singers from down there I haven't heard yet. Would I like them all? Probably. : ) What's not to like. If they're being true to themselves that's all it takes. It's when they start getting together in 'writer teams' to create Nashville hits that they lose it all. When it's just musicians livin' on the road, making music, they can't lose. But they can get hungry.
Dobson has a great story. (He's the hippy in the photo.) He spent his best creative years working on oil rigs and shrimp boats. Ya do what ya gotta do when your culture sucks. He's in Germany now, where they appreciate art and Texas. That's right: the bosses in Texas sold out Texas long ago, don't be mistaken.
Did ya hear that the most favorite American musicians in Europe aren't Michael Jackson and Madonna: it's TVZ and Gram Parsons. They know the score that we've forgotten. The mobs among us, anyway.
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