Saturday, 24 October 2009

God like Genius - Gary Clark

Gary Clark , probably best known for being the lead singer of Danny Wilson (originally called Spencer Tracy until his estate objected - what is it with families of dead hollywood stars, the same thing happened to the Prefab Sprout lp Steve McQueen) , is one of those songwriters who has that uncanny knack for a catchy tune. It is such a shame that Danny Wilson only lasted 2 lps. They are both full of pop songs that credit the listener with a bit of intelligence. Again it is back to that songwriting as a craft thing. When "Meet Danny Wilson" came out i loved everything about it from the songs to the cover to the Sinatra hats worn in the photo. Mary's Prayer is the one everyone knows but it doesn't tell half the story. A bit like early prefab sprout songs they often wander down unexpected turnings to keep you on your toes. It all sounded at the time so polished and rich as if from another age. The second lp "Bebop Moptop" was in some ways even better, the only gripe being that the production is a bit fuzzy with some of the vocals sounding like they were sung under a blanket

From the first lp I've posted "Aberdeen" a song about losing a loved one to that city. despite the subject matter it is a rush of an uplifting song

Aberdeen - Danny Wilson

"Though the northern lights have claimed her as their own
Tell her that I hope she's well and beg her to come home"

From the second lp I've posted "The Ballad of Me and Shirley Maclaine" . I remember Nicky Campbell playing this on his late night radio show to a very bemused Shirley Maclaine as she went on about reincarnation.

Ballad of Me and Shirley Maclaine

You can buy both Danny Wilson's lps here both are £6:99 and worth getting

I wasn't too worried that Danny Wilson had split up when Gary Clark's first solo lp came out. The first I assumed of many (to date it is his only solo lp). Called "10 Short Songs About Love" in a ronseal moment it does what it says on the tin. I fact it was a tad too short with a couple of the tracks almost doodles. However this is one of those lost classics that got buried under all things grunge. The track I've posted here is the first single .... needless to say it did not gallop up the charts

We Sail on Stormy Waters - Gary Clark

I was born with the blood of a whaler
Your daddy loved the ocean to

You can buy "Ten Short Songs about Love" here If you liked Danny Wilson but missed this give it a go.

I always held out hopes for a Danny Wilson reunion (2 of them were brothers after all) , as a 2nd solo lp failed to appear I quietly hoped that Gary was holed up working on a new Danny Wilson record. He had started to appear as co writer on other records working with Lloyd Cole , Boo Hewerdine etc. Then out of the blue a new band appeared with what is possibly the worst band name ever "King L". The lp "A Great Day for Gravity" was released in 1995 and was harder than Gary's previous work with his and Neil MacColl's guitars to the front. I saw them live and they were amazingly loud. The quality of the songs again means that it is no noisefest. I have posted 2 tracks as I guess this will be the one lp even Danny Wilson fans may not have.
The first is "Dumbest Story" which is fairly representative of the rest of the lp and the second track is "Two Cars Collide" which is one of the slower ones, with a great lyric
You can buy the King L lp here
Again i waited in vain for a second King L lp.
Instead a new band was formed "transister" which sounded a little like Garbage. I lost interest here.
Gary Clark has now moved to LA where he concentrates on writing and producing and has just scored a US number 1 with a track written for Demi Lovato (showing my age I've not a clue who she is and to be honest I'm not that interested in finding out) so a Danny Wilson reunion or a 2nd solo still doesn't look on the cards!
Gary Clark's myspace site is here although this focuses more on his songwriting for others.


  1. I've been wondering who would be up next in this series, I don't know why but I was sure it would be Brian Wilson! How wrong was I!?
    These are all great albums and my favourite is his solo effort.
    I also bought the Transistor album and played it once!Horrible.
    As for songwriting credits ,I really like his work for the American duo Swan Dive.If you like Everything But The Girl before they discovered the dancefloor you should like Swan Dive (Boo Hewerdine has also helped write for them)
    Currently listening to the new Alan Windram CD(ex-Spledid singer).Very Cosmic Rough Riders!
    Tel Aviv

  2. Hi phil

    I'm afraid I'm not a Brian Wilson fan at all - I tend to like bands that sound like the beachboys much more than the beach boys themselves
    Alas I'd have to put him in the most over-rated pile (top of which is Bob Dylan.
    Cheers of rthe recommends - I have got one splendid cd so will give the Windram cd a go . I'll check out Swandive as well as I've seen them mentioned alot on Boo hewerdine's website

  3. Great post. "Aberdeen" is one of my fave Danny Wilson tracks, brings back great memories of the late 80s. I've just posted the 2CD version of "Sweet Danny Wilson on my blog. The KING L album is also fabulous and on tracks like "Tragedy Girl" he puts his Pop hat back on.

    I quite liked Transister, "Dizzy Moon" was very good indeed. Best wishes.

  4. You've stirred a few memories with this bit of writing. My favourite Danny Wilson song reamins 'Second Summer of Love'

  5. thanks for the comments - I'm going straight to coincidence v fate for a visit.

    Hi JC - apparently second summer of love was writtien as an after thought and really quickly - they then spent an age figuring out how to stretch it out to last single length. There was a great interview with Gary Calrk on popdose recently but having read it I can't now find the link!

  6. confidence v fate - thanks for the pointer to your blog , I didnt relasie a 2 disc version existed - it has about 5 danny wilson songs I've never heard before

  7. Great vocalist and lyricist, faded from view but always present in the rear view mirror.


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