A Late-Discovered Icon Passes
Roy Clark died today at the age of 85.
Growing up, I was too cool for Roy Clark. Why, he was on Hee-Haw, that hick show for hick people! Overall wearin', dirt-farmer soundin' redneck...
Then one day, something strange happened. I was walking around my favorite music store, Appletree, and I stumbled over a new album by Mark Knopfler. Great! I'm a huge Dire Straits fan, Money for Nothin', Sultans of Swing, y'know right? But who's this Chet Atkins guy?
Wait. Wait. Waitwaitwait. That's... oh my god, I bought a COUNTRY album??? But... but... this guy Atkins? He's pretty good! Maybe there's more to this than I thought...
I'm not a country music fan. Most "modern country" is really just pop/rock music with a twang in it occasionally. And most Country & Western music is really still kinda cringeworthy to me. But I can tell talent when I hear it, and there's a LOT of skilled musicians in countrymusicland.
One of them, maybe one of the best, was Roy Clark.
Sure, he's kinda muggin' for the camera there, but there's no denying that being that good on three distinctly different instruments means somebody's got talent in spades.
That he can stand next to Glen Campbell on guitar and not come off looking like a stooge is a pretty good indication that he's got chops... and not just on the side of his face.
This has got to be one of my favorite clips from Hee-Haw that I've ever seen. That's bluesman Clarence Gatemouth Brown he's playing with. Gatemouth wins, but it's not a runaway. I'm more impressed that Hee-Haw put him on, actually. But in my mind, Roy Clark was and always will be a banjo player.
What it really comes down to isn't that I was too cool for Roy Clark... he was too cool for me. My loss.
Mugging for the camera while turning in three successive virtuoso performances on three distinctly different instruments. Yegods. "Go on, break my concentration, if you can." The man looked like he was having the time of his life in all of those clips, really. Respect.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 16, 2018 08:00 AM (rKFiU)
If you look for it, there's a clip of his guest performance on The Odd Couple where he is playing so intensely, it's amazing the guitar held up.
Posted by: Mauser at November 16, 2018 08:12 PM (Ix1l6)
Mauser, indeed there is. I didn't use it because it's so easy to find. It's also not country, and thus didn't really fit the theme of the post. But yeah, it's pretty swell. There are moments where I'm surprised he didn't just cut his fingertips off like the guitar was a giant cheese slicer.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 16, 2018 09:44 PM (I6x9S)
I still have fond memories of Hee-Haw, though I doubt I could sit through a complete episode today...
Posted by: J Greely at November 19, 2018 07:27 PM (LGSd2)
Crud, I forgot the rule about not posting links. Sorry, video here.
Posted by: Thomas at November 21, 2018 12:55 PM (mSIXR)
And now the internet hates me. One more try, then I'll give up with my heartiest apologies.
Posted by: Thomas at November 21, 2018 12:56 PM (mSIXR)