Cowboy Jack Clement
Guess Things Happen That Way
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10
Written by John Metzger
Although Guess Things Happen That Way is only his second album, Cowboy Jack Clement has been leaving his stamp upon the face of country and rock music for the better part of the past half century. He discovered Jerry Lee Lewis, Charley Pride, and Townes Van Zandt; recorded Roy Orbisonís first hit; and watched as Elvis Presley opened concerts for him. He served as the right-hand man for Sam Phillips at Sun Studios, penned a pair of Johnny Cashís biggest songs (Ballad of a Teenage Queen and the tune that lends this set its title), and produced several tracks for U2ís Rattle and Hum. In essence, Guess Things Happen That Way is the summation of Clementís career ó a ragtag concoction of the many styles in which heís worked. For example, The Rolling Stonesí No Expectations is recast with a swinging Memphis-baked groove, plucked straight from an old session at Sun; Every Place Iíve Ever Been, which was co-authored with then-Governor of Georgia Zell Miller, is laced with a bluegrass-tinged bounce, and its heartfelt lyricism offers proof that Miller is more honest in his writing than he is about his political affiliation; the gently waltzing There Ainít a Tune is a throwback to country musicís finer days; and Drinking Carrot Juice and Off to Join the World lend a sense of quirky charm to the endeavor. Virtually nothing on Guess Things Happen That Way is essential by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a fun-filled journey through the mind of a music business legend.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box