Picks and Pans Review: Boats to Build

updated 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Guy Clark

A lively, witty, intelligent collection, this album testifies eloquently to Clark's role as the éminence grise of Texas country music.

Clark's songs are both lyrically plainspoken and wry, and melodically and rhythmically satisfying. "It was a Texas girl that broke my heart/Then she tore my truck apart," he sings in "Baton Rouge." "I like crawfish I like rice/I like girls that treat you nice/I'm gonna find me one in Baton Rouge."

Clark, 51, an idol of, among others, Nanci Griffith, Kathy Mattea, Waylon Jennings and Vince Gill, also writes appealingly of shipwrights (the title song), old folkie Rambling Jack Elliott ("Ramblin' Jack and Mahan"), versatility ("Jack of All Trades") and modern art ("Picasso's Mandolin"). Clark sings of all these varying phenomena in his characteristically gruff, lazy-daisy voice. Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has said, "I don't know a songwriter who wouldn't want to grow up to be Guy Clark." Here's why. (Asylum)

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