Both of these classic songs were written by Dr. “Tex” Logan, a bluegrass pioneer, who died recently at the age of 87. The New York Times referred to his musicianship as a “hare quick bluegrass fiddler.” He performed for years, off and on, with the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, as well as with Joe Val and the Bluegrass Boys, and Peter Rowan among many others.
“Diamond Joe” is oft covered and has truly become a classic; and the composer of the song is apparently, however, in some doubt. You can read that it was written by Cisco Houston, Woody Guthrie, Tex Logan, etc. I can’t prove it, one way or another, but The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan, as well as The New York Times give Tex the writing credit. Dylan, Mellencamp, Jerry Garcia and literally hundreds of others recorded “Diamond Joe,” also known as “Willie’s Diamond Joe.”
Tex, for sure, wrote “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” which is among my favorite of Christmas songs. I have more than a dozen versions on this very computer, which I offer as proof that I love the song, and tonight I recognize it’s creator, Dr. Benjamin “Tex” Logan, who, among other things, earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University. So, here is Emmylou Harris’ version, from her album Light in the Stable.
Rest in Peace, Tex. – Harry, in Boston, on Cinco de Mayo.
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Damn, when you start to get up there in years, and you are Guy Clark; people get all mushy, and you hear things like “national treasure.” I know that Guy cringes when he hears that shit and I know that he hears it plenty.
Well, he is treasured, this Texan gone to Tennessee. He ain’t so famous as Willie. But them that know; them that love the songs and their Texan songwriters, they all will agree that Guy Clark should be in the pantheon of Texas music and Texas musicians.
Guy has recorded a bunch of version of Texas Cookin’ This is the one I like best. – Harry Lipson
My old friend, Jack Elliott was one of the stars who showed up to fete Guy and Susannah Clark on Guy’s 70% of the way to 100 birthday. All of the music was Guy’s and the talent list was a mile deep. This is a special song, one of those Guy tunes that probably just about wrote itself. We all respect what Guy can do with a pen in hand, and that got me to thinking about Jack Elliott.
Jack is under appreciated, semi respected, and generally overlooked by far too many of us. He was a true disciple of Woody Guthrie and did some hard travelin’ with Woodrow. Not many can say that. Pete can, and a few others, but the list has dwindled down to less than a handful. I had the pleasure of presenting Jack in concert way back when, (and a handful of Guy Clark shows too) and Jack stayed at my house for about a month, (my wife calls him “Non-Ramblin’ Jack”) so I got to know him a little and pick his brains with questions about his life and Woody, Bob, Cisco, et al. Both Guy and Jack are heroes to many, myself amongst em.
So here’s to you Guy. And here’s to you Mr. Elliott. Jack’s here now and it’s time to give him his due too.
“The Guitar” is a great Guy Clark song and Jack Elliott does it proud. I hope you enjoy it ’cause it’s the Song of the Day at HarryShots. HL
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Once in a while, I gotta go to my favorite player, so today, it’s “Tennessee Blues” which was written and is performed by Steve Earle. Those not familiar with Steve Earle will find certain truths that make him who he is in the fact that he is a Texan, living for the past 35+ years in Nashville; has had seven marriages to six women, been in jail for heroin posession, sang back up on Guy Clark’s “Desperado’s Waitin’ For A Train” with Emmylou, was a friend to Townes Van Zandt, and his son Justin Townes Earle is a singer songwriter as well. Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, Townes Van Zandt, and Steve Earle all played for FolkTree (my concert company) way back when, and my memories of them are each varied and wonderful.
Steve Earle is a songwriter’s songwriter and a musician’s musician, as well as a political activist. He wears his music and his heart on his sleeve. He is the best of the best in my opinion. Hope you like ‘Tennessee Blues” a Steve Earle tune and the Song of the Day. HL
Well my old friend. I wish you a happy 70th birthday. Ain’t no better writer of songs than you, Guy. The shows you did for FolkTree all had a bit of magic to them, which you were always pretty good at doin’. “Texas, 1947”, “Desperados”, “Homegrown Tomatoes”, “Randall Knife”, “L.A. Freeway”, “Texas Cookin’ “, the list is long and you wrote ’em all.
Today’s HarryShots Song of the Day is Guy Clark’s “She Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” Check out the lyrics if you are new to Guy Clark. Then you’ll know.
Wish I could have been in Austin for the concert and the afterparty.
Happy Birthday, Guy. HL