Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Guy Clark, Jimmy Powell RIP

Sorry to hear that Texas singer/songwriter Guy Clark has died at the age of 74. Described by the New York Times as ' a king of the Texas troubadors', the imagery of his songwriting was in a class of its own and his voice perfectly interpreted lyrics that always ensured you listened hard. His first album, Old No. 1, included a couple of songs - L.A Freeway and Desperados Waiting For A Train -
which were covered successfully by Jerry Jeff Walker, whilst many other songs were also recorded by artists such as Lyle Lovett, Jimmy Buffett and Rodney Crowell. He went on to record over a dozen more albums, including Texas Cookin', Better Days and The Dark. His 2013 album My Favorite Picture Of You won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. I saw Guy a couple of times, most memorably at a freezing cold Union Chapel in London in December, 1995, a venue that suited his low key approach.
Another Americana/country singer to have died in the last few days is Steve Young, 73, who was part of the 'outlaw' movement. His first album, Rock Salt & Nails, in 1969, was followed by Seven Bridges Road, Honky Tonk Man and Renegade Picker, among others.
Closer to home, British R and B singer Jimmy Powell has died aged 73. Jimmy recorded some superb soul flavoured rhythm and blues numbers in the early sixties. Jimmy was with the Rockin' Berries and performed in Hamburg before going solo and recording Buster Brown's Sugar Babe, produced by Chris Blackwell, and released on Decca in 1962. Moving to London he formed the Five Dimensions, which initially included Rod Stewart, and played regularly at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. He recorded Miki Dallon's That's Alright for Pye and appeared on TV shows such as Ready Steady Go. After the break up of the Five Dimensions he formed a new band, The Dimensions, and recorded what was probably his best record, I Can Go Down, for the Strike label.
Jimmy memorably appeared at the Tales From The Woods show at the Borderline in January, 2014. I wrote at the time: 'I've never seen him on a stage before and I was impressed. He's a large man with a strong voice well suited to the blues and also plays harmonica at times and air guitar at others. He began with Susie Q and then did his vocal version of Tom Hark, with words co-written with Jack Good. A swamp pop song followed (One More Time, I think) and then one of my personal favourites I Can Go Down. Next was a superb blues number called Ivory, followed by Messing Around With The Blues and Sugar Babe, before finishing with classy versions of House Of The Rising Sun, What'd I Say and Bony Moronie. Definitely a class act.'
Another blues singer who has died recently is San Diego based Candye Kane. Once a porn star, she was signed to CBS in 1985 while married to Thomas Yearsley of The Paladins. She recorded Burlesque Swing for the Antone label and The Toughest Girl Alive for Rounder, followed by four albums for the German RUF label. A musical of her early life, The Toughest Girl In the World, debuted in 2009 and her 2011 album, Sister Vagabond made number one on the Living Blues charts.
Once again, as is happening so frequently these days, The Vinyl Word raises a glass to them all.


At 11:53 am , Blogger Lee said...

Thanks for passing on the sad news Nick. I saw Guy Clark at the Bloomsbury Theatre some years back where he was in sparkling form. At one point he asked if there were any requests to which I called out for Let Him Roll, which he duly played.
I also saw Steve Young once, a long time ago, but forgotten where - perhaps the Weavers Arms? I always liked Montgomery In The Rain.
... and I agree that Jimmy Powell was impressive at the Borderline.


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