Glen Clark – You Tell Me
GlenCo Records/Blind Raccoon Promotions
CD: 10 Songs, 35:00 Minutes
Styles: Piano Blues, Ensemble Blues, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock
“Sing us a song – you’re the piano man.” Eight words from Billy Joel, so simple yet so haunting, have etched themselves into our collective memory. From Pinetop Perkins to Ray Charles, Leroy Carr to Roosevelt Sykes, countless piano men (and women) have proven that the guitar isn’t the only instrument that makes legendary blues. Enter Texas-born Glen Clark and his latest CD, You Tell Me. It’s his first solo album since 1994, and such a return is a welcome one. A collaborator with superstars such as Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, and Willie Nelson, Clark has found a uniquely-grooved niche in the piano blues and blues-rock scene. His vocals are reminiscent of McClinton, and also Tom Petty. With just a touch of angst, the weariness of one who’s seen too much of the world over several decades, Glen sings his heart out and hopes to reach yours. On nine original songs and one cover (Kris Kristofferson’s “This Old Road”), he gives his all.
Born in Fort Worth, TX, Clark studied music at North Texas State University. He moved to L.A. in the 1970s, where he co-founded the seminal southern roots rock group Delbert and Glen. They recorded two albums for the Clean/Atlantic label, produced by Daniel Moore and T Bone Burnett. Beginning in 1980, Glen began touring and writing with Kris Kristofferson, many of whose songs are featured in the film Songwriter. Ever heard of Billie Swan’s hit single “Do I Have to Draw a Picture”? Clark wrote it, and it’s one of ASCAP’s most-performed numbers.
Performing along with him (keyboards, guitar and vocals) is the Glen Clark Band: John Bryant on drums, percussion and vocals; Jim Milan on bass and vocals, and Sam Swank on guitar. Additional players include James Pennebaker on guitar; Jeff Silbar on acoustic guitar; Jim Foster on trumpet, and Ron Jones on saxophone. Additional background vocalists are Paige Clark, Ty Clark, Tracy Truong, Cierra Franco, Ryan Franco, Pat Peterson, and Benita Arterberry.
All the songs on this CD are fantastic, so let’s do a rundown of the first three.
Track 01: “You Tell Me” – “Here I am alone at the Motel 6. How in the world are we getting this big? Same old fight about the same old thing – running hot and cold.” Who knew a tune about getting kicked to the curb could be so catchy? You almost want to do the Twist, because there’s a definite 50’s vibe under the gritty bass and guitar lines.
Track 02: “Accept My Love” – For some people, love’s the thing. Other folks just want the bling. The narrator in track two, which calls to mind John Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good,” is “a man of humble means” who can’t provide what his inamorata really wants. Nevertheless, he soulfully persists: “Won’t you please accept my love. Got nothing else to give except my love.” Wonderful harmony here, and a refrain that’s a certifiable earworm.
Track 03: “I Can Tell By Looking” – Funky keyboards are the highlight of number three, a meditation on Clark’s struggle and search for meaning in life. Here’s another chorus that will get in your head and not find its way out: “I can tell by looking: you’re what I’m looking for.” Smooth horns add a finishing touch, as does a wicked cool guitar solo in the middle.
Are you “in the mood for a melody?” You Tell Me, and I’ll tell you that Glen Clark satisfies!