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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Guy Clark Tells It Like It Is, Likably

March 29, 1997|BUDDY SEIGAL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — For those who enjoy a simple, laid-back evening of intelligent and passionate song-stories over a few quiet drinks, Guy Clark at the Coach House on Thursday night would have been just the ticket.

It was like listening to a favorite uncle spin yarns with his guitar out on the old front porch. Taking the stage in an appropriately rumpled white shirt, black vest, jeans and cowboy boots, accompanied by his son Travis on acoustic bass and vocal harmonies, Clark held sway with a small but adoring gathering that seemed to dote on every word.

Tales of trains, cowpokes, drunks, lovers, heartbreak and Clark's native Texas swept away the audience. (Many of the songs, old and new--including "L.A. Freeway," "Texas--1947," "Out in the Parking Lot," "Homegrown Tomatoes" and "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train"--are included on Clark's new live album, "Keepers.")

Between tunes, he joked with the audience and offered anecdotes about such musical running partners as Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Jerry Jeff Walker and the late Townes Van Zandt, keeping the nearly two-hour set moving along nicely.

As a treat, the younger Clark got to strut his own stuff. The 30-year-old proved to be a classy tunesmith with a nicely dark sense of humor (with lines such as "I refuse to beat myself up, so instead I'll whup ass on you").

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