Capitol city soul

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W.C. Clark
Capitol city soul

As John Lennon once put it, the blues is a chair: a functional piece of architecture that's sturdy, unadorned, and made for sitting. With that in mind, no one on the Austin music scene has done more to maintain the condition of that chair than W.C. Clark.

An Austin blues fixture since the 1950s, when he played bass for T.D. Bell's band, the Cadillacs, Clark mentored an endless parade of blues disciples such as Angela Strehli, Lou Ann Barton, and the Vaughan brothers. It was in the mid-'70s, while working with Stevie Ray Vaughan in the Triple Threat Revue, that Clark co-wrote the soulful shuffle "Cold Shot," later to become one of Vaughan's most indelible tracks.

In recent years, Clark's legendary status in Austin (where he's known as "the Godfather") has extended to a national audience. In 2002, he won widespread

W.C. Clark
(CD Release show)

Saturday, July 17
Luna Fine Music Club
6740 San Pedro
acclaim for his Alligator Records debut, From Austin With Soul. Clark's new disc, Deep In The Heart, finds Clark in Memphis R&B mode, covering the Stax Records classic "You Left The Water Running" (with vocal help from Marcia Ball) and rasping it up like Sam Moore on horn-driven tracks like "Stronger Than You Need To Be," "I Didn't Know the Meaning of Pain," and "Cold Blooded Lover."

Throughout the disc, Clark's guitar playing is clean, economical, tasteful, and invariably in the pocket. At 64, he conveys ease without complacency, professionalism that's never pro forma. He's been carrying the torch for Austin blues for nearly half a century and doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon. •

By Gilbert Garcia

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