Picks and Pans Review: Dublin Blues

updated 04/10/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/10/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Guy Clark

This is a fine and sturdy album from a fabled songwriter. None of Clark's seven records have been big sellers, but they're always welcomed by country-music cognoscenti. Sung in his whiskeyed, weathered voice, Clark's songs don't make the startling leaps or have the rich verbal play of the tunes of his friend and fellow Texan Townes Van Zandt; if Van Zandt is country folk's Picasso, Clark is its Winslow Homer, a hardworking craftsman whose insights are sturdy, not startling. A Guy Clark song is built to last (he gave Ricky Skaggs "Heartbroke" and cowrote, with Rodney Crowell, "She's Crazy for Leavin' "), and Dublin Blues adds a few to his canon: "Black Diamond Strings," "The Cape" and the title song. Clark can stray into cliché, but more often than not, he rescues himself. "The Randall Knife," an epitaph for his father, may flirt with mawkishness, but it winds up giving you goosebumps. (Asylum)

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