CD of the Day; Workbench Songs, Guy Clark

Workbench Songs by the great Guy Clark came to the top of my rotation this week; I couldn’t help but notice the coincidence of our recent weather, when I heard “Tornado Time in Texas.” My note on the insert: “09–27–06, Artist-In-Residence, Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville.” How lucky am I to have lived in Nashville and to have seen so many of the amazing artists on this album, performing live — all around town?!?

Of all the co-writers and musicians listed on the insert, Verlon Thompson probably made the most significant contributions to this album and to Guy Clark’s music. YAY for Oklahoma! He is Guy’s guy; and also, of course, Demetria’s guy! I love Guy’s tag on the case: “Recorded at EMI Music Publishing Studio; “Diamond Joe” recorded at Verlon’s barn; engineered and mastered by Chris Latham.” A real high point of the album comes at the the beginning of “Diamond Joe” (traditional), when Guy gives a shout-out to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott: “Hey, Ramblin’ Jack! Here’s a big ole swoop of the cowboy hat to you from me and Verlon.”

Another personal coincidence, an original painting of Jimi Hendrix by multi-talented Ray Stephenson is hanging in my music room. Also, by no coincidence — a bottle of “Whitey’s Worry Be Gone, Aromatherapy for the Blues” is sitting on a table beside me; I just misted some about! Thank you, Gary Nicholson!

Of course, hearing “Analog Girl” brings to mind the scene of precious Susanna’s Christmas party from Heartworn Highway, James Szalapski’s documentary. But that’s another story — for another day.

If I had to pick my favorite cut, I’d hafta say “Out in the Parking Lot,” co-written by Guy and Darrell Scott. This song took me there — to all the parking lots of all the bars! For every woman I know who loves the “boys in the band,” I will always remember this image: “Now the band is on the bus, they’re all loaded up to leave; but the drummer’s got a girlfriend and she’s tuggin’ on his sleeve. Out in the parking lot.”

In fact, every single line of every single track is like a multi-faceted gem, strung on a solid gold chain. I love, too, that there are “liner notes” listing the who’s who of Nashville songwriters, musicians, technicians, artists, and publishers who contributed to this remarkable album; the lyrics are printed there, too!

Also from the case: “Thanks to Gary Overton, Bob Mather, Judy Wray, Keith Case and Company, Shirley Catalina, and Susanna.”

From the insert: Tracks: Walking’ Man, Magdalene, Tornado Time in Texas, Funny Bone, Exposé, Out in the Parking Lot, No Lonesome Tune (by Townes Van Zandt), Cinco De Mayo in Memphis, Analog Girl, Worry B Gone, Diamond Joe (traditional). Co-writers: Rodney Crowell, Hank DeVito, Chuck Mead, Steve Nelson, Gary Nicholson, Lee Roy Parnell, Darrell Scott, Ray Stephenson, Verlon Thompson. Photography: “Señor” [Jim] McGuire. Design, Gina Binkley. Musicians: Eddie Bayers, Bryn Bright, Shawn Camp, Kevin Grantt, Jamie Hartford, Morgan Hayes, Wayne Killius, Chris Latham, Verlon Thompson. ONLY IN NASHVILLE!

Dualtone Music Group, EMI April Music Inc. (ASCAP), Nelsounds (SESAC), GSC Music/East Valley Music (ASCAP), Whipsaw Music/Victor Tango (ASCAP), Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing (ASCAP), Sony/ATV Tunes, LLC (ASCAP), Famous Music LLC/Chuck Wagon Gourmet (ASCAP), Pagan Idol Music (BMI), Dean-Parnell Music, LLC/Lillie Dale Music (BMI)