It’s 5:05am and once again I’m sitting in an abandoned airport gate waiting for a flight. Can’t you see how impressed I am.
And while I’m on the subject, it must be Murphy’s Law that whenever you do happen to be sitting alone in an empty airport terminal that the next ass hat with a cell phone who passes by will feel compelled to sit directly beside you and proceed to carry on with their conversation at the top of their lungs. Why is that? You have all these seats to choose from – why directly next to me? And why are you talking so loud? At the volume you’re speaking at the person you’re chatting with could likely hear you from wherever they are. I think I’m going to begin drinking my coffee out of a spray bottle so that when one of these moolyaks should try to take the seat next to me I can ward them off with a squirt of hot beverage to the face.
Anyway, I’m going to try and cool off now with the first of my Texas-inspired albums, ‘Cold Dog Soup‘ by Guy Clark.
Sadly, Guy shuffled off this mortal coil just a little over a week ago after a decade-long battle with lymphoma. So memorializing this great songwriter with my first trip selection this morning seems appropriate.
The album, released in 1999, follows it’s predecessor ‘Dublin Blues‘ in its poignant observations of life, love, death, and all the states in between. Clark’s voice may be a little worn (as I feel right now), but his songwriting skills are sharper than ever here. Just check these lyrics out from the opening title track:
“Townes Van Zandt standin’ at the bar
Skinnin’ a Hollywood movie star
Can’t remember where he parked his car
Or to whom he lost the keys
Full of angst and hillbilly haiku
What’s a poor Ft. Worth boy to do
Go on rhyme somethin’ for em’ man
Show him how you really feel”
And then there’s the chorus:
“Ain’t no money in poetry
That’s what sets the poet free
I’ve had all the freedom I can stand
Cold dog soup and rainbow pie
Is all it takes to get me by
Fool my belly till the day I die
Cold dog soup and rainbow pie”
I could go for some of that shit.
uses a group of musicians that revolve around longtime collaborators Verlon Thompson and Darrell Scott and the backing vocals of Emmylou Harris. In addition, there are two new Clark songs and a trio of covers that are awesome and very different interpretations of the originals. There’s Steve Earle‘s ‘Fort Worth Blues‘, written as an elegy for their late friend, songwriter Townes Van Zand (how’s that for Texas inspired? A Texan songwriter covering another Texan’s song about a great Texan songwriter. That’s Texas³!). Then there’s a gorgeous read of Richard Dobson’s ‘Forever, for Always, for Certain‘; and the album closes with the old-time folk song ‘Be Gone Forever‘, written by Anna McGarrigle and Keith Sykes. Performed as a duet, it is one of the most traditional pieces of music Clark has ever recorded.
The tragedy ‘Water Under the Bridge‘ feels a lot like the folk-blues of Bob Dylan‘s ‘Ballad of Hollis Brown‘, and in its own way is just as harrowing, with the mandolin fills floating around the guitar lines. ‘Bunkhouse Blues‘ is a cowboy blues complete with yodels that gets to the high and lonesome that you can almost smell the baking beans over an open fire somewhere on the Texas prairie. ‘Men Will Be Boys‘ is a good-time anthem that could have been written and recorded during the Austin era with Jerry Jeff Walker and the rest.
And thus begins my trip to San Antonio. It’s a hell of a lot better than listening to this dipshit beside me talk about whatever it was his brother-in-law’s sister’s roommate’s cousin had for dinner last night. Seriously dude, if I had that spray bottle right now I’d given you a blast of scalding hot coffee to the puss like the bad kitty you are.