Man Clark, singer-songwriter – obituary


Man Clark, who has died aged 74, was a rustic music and people singer-songwriter and one of many most interesting exponents of brooding troubadour music in songs similar to Desperados Ready for a Prepare and LA Freeway (each launched in 1975).

The son of a Texan lawyer, Man Charles Clark was born on November 6 1941 in Monahans, West Texas. His grandmother ran a motel and a few of her friends would later characteristic in his songs, notably Jack Prigg, the oil speculator in Desperados Ready for a Prepare (1975).

When Man was 16 the household moved to Rockport on the Texas Gulf coast and following a spell within the Peace Corps and a quick interval of research on the College of Minnesota, within the mid-Sixties he opened a guitar restore store in Houston.

He additionally started performing in bars and low retailers, and befriended some native musicians, together with Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker and Kay (later KT) Oslin. Throughout this time he met and married the people singer Susan Spaw. Their son Travis was born in 1966.

The wedding didn’t final, nevertheless, and in 1969 Clark moved to San Francisco and opened one other guitar store. However he quickly returned to Houston, the place he met the painter and songwriter Susanna Talley.  They then each moved to Los Angeles, the place Clark labored for an organization that made Dobro resonator guitars whereas enjoying any gigs he may discover and making an attempt to promote his songs.

In 1971 the couple moved to Nashville, the place Clark had landed a publishing deal, and so they had been married the next yr. After they settled in Nashville – the place they’d stay for some 40 years – the Clarks’ home grew to become what his web site described as “a gathering place for songwriters, people singers, artists and misfits; many who sat on the toes of the grasp songwriter in his aspect, prepared Man’s essence into their very own pens.”

However Clark didn’t launch his debut album, Previous No 1, till 1975, when he was 34. A set of 10 fastidiously crafted nation songs, the album included Desperados Ready for a Prepare, which had already been recorded by a number of different artists and was later launched by the Highwaymen (Johnny Money, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings), Slim Pickens and Nanci Griffith. This primary album additionally included LA Freeway, written about Clark’s expertise – and that of so many artists – of thwarted desires in Los Angeles.

On his subsequent album, Texas Cookin’ (1976) – which included The Final Gunfighter, a heartfelt lament for instances passed by – Clark was accompanied by musicians similar to Emmylou Harris and Waylon Jennings.

Different albums included Man Clark (1978), The South Coast of Texas (1981) and Higher Days (1983). In  1982 Ricky Skaggs’s model of Clark’s Heartbroke reached No 1 within the nation music charts and his songs had been succesfully lined by quite a few different artists together with Johnny Money, Vince Gill and Kenny Chesney.

Clark continued to launch albums for the following three many years, notably Boats to Construct (1992) and Dublin Blues (1995) which included a re-working of The Randall Knife, a touching spoken ode to Clark’s father, fantastically realised by the motif of the knife which he had taken with him to the Second World Struggle.

Clark’s closing album, My Favourite Image of You (2013), which received a Grammy for greatest people album, was impressed by {a photograph} of Susanna, who died of most cancers in 2012.

A meticulous craftsman who honed his songs with the identical consideration to element he utilized to creating guitars, Clark took a modest view of his abilities. They had been, he stated, “only a strategy to whereas away the time till you die”.

Man Clark stopped performing quickly after Susanna Clark’s loss of life.

He’s survived by his son, Travis Clark.

Man Clark, born November 6 1941, died Might 17 2016


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