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W.C. Clark

Saturday, May 14, at the Big Easy, 5733 Kirby, 713-523-9999.

Quite simply, guys like guitarist-singer W.C. Clark exemplify Texas music. In Clark's case, it's hard-charging, mesquite-smoked soul, blues, jazz, R&B, country and rock, sometimes in pure forms and other times all jumbled up joyously. The "Godfather of the Austin Blues Scene" backed up soul man Joe Tex for a time in the '60s, but he had pretty much traded in his guitar for a monkey wrench when a skinny white kid by the name of Stevie Ray Vaughan walked into his auto mechanic's shop and sweet-talked him out of retirement in the late '70s. Clark re-entered the scene as the bassist in the Triple Threat Revue with Vaughan on guitar and Lou Ann Barton on vocals. All three members of that band have gone on to successful careers, and Clark even got some major mailbox money from Vaughan when Clark's co-written tune "Cold Shot" became one of SRV's signature songs. Clark's solo career has been marked by professional triumphs (a Handy Award, several Austin City Limits appearances) and personal tragedies, such as a recent bout with cancer and a van wreck in 1997 that claimed the lives of his fiancée and his drummer. And yet his musical force remains undiminished, and this year's Alligator debut, Deep in the Heart, could be his finest album yet. Clark and an all-star lineup of Austin's blues Mafia -- Derek O'Brien, Kaz Kazanoff and Riley Osbourn, among others -- have served up a sizzlin' record, one that culminates in one of the finest covers ever of "Okie Dokee Stomp," the Duke-Peacock instrumental that would be the national anthem of Texas in a more perfect world.

 
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