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Music Review: Various Artists – This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark

Guy Clark is a Texas singer-songwriter who has released more than 20 albums. His songs have been recorded by many other artists as well. In November 2011, he turned 70 years old and 33 artists came together to record an album in his honor. That album is called This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark.

The two-disc set features 30 of Clark’s songs, ranging from the touching, like “Broken Hearted People” and the heart-searing “Homeless” (which makes you want to go out and start handing food and money to every homeless person you see), to the cheerful, such as “Texas Cookin’” and “Baby Took a Limo to Memphis.”

Among the artists here are Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Roseanne Cash, Willie Nelson, Suzy Bogguss, Jerry Jeff Walker, Joe Ely, Emmylou Harris and John Prine, Vince Gill, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Steve Earle, and Robert Earl Keene. There are others here, too, who were not as familiar to me personally, but who do stellar jobs on this set, including Rosie Flores, whose take on “Baby Took a Limo to Memphis” is a favorite. I also loved Kevin Welch’s heartfelt rendition of “Magdalene,” Townes Van Zandt’s son John’s version of “Let Him Roll,” and James McMurtry’s version of “Cold Dog Soup.” Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark were best friends for over 30 years, so it is particularly touching to hear him do this song.

In fact, every performer puts a very personal touch on these songs and there are no weak numbers among them. To name every song that touched me, made me want to sing along, or just really rang true to my heart would mean listing all 30 songs and make a very long review indeed. You just need to get This One’s for Him and listen. The affection and respect these artists have for Guy Clark comes through in every song, and gives the whole project a lot of soul. There is bound to be something here for everyone, and for most people, the whole set will be required listening for a long time to come.

About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.