RIP W C Clark

From the Alligator Records website. He will be missed here. Well worth exploring if you don’t know his work.

NOVEMBER 16, 1939 – MARCH 2, 2024

W.C. Clark, the guitarist, bassist, vocalist, and songwriter known as “The Godfather Of Austin Blues,” died on March 2, 2024, of natural causes. He was 84. He released eight albums and performed countless live shows. But he was famous not only for his own music, but also for mentoring an entire generation of younger Austin blues artists, including Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, Angela Strehli and Lou Ann Barton. He was a prolific songwriter, including co-authoring Stevie’s classic song Cold Shot. As The New York Post declared, Clark was “a legend of the blues world.”

Born Wesley Curley Clark, his career spanned more than seven decades, starting with his first performance at the age of 16. He became a stalwart in Austin clubs before leaving to tour with soul star Joe Tex in the mid-1960s.

Upon his return to Austin in the early 1970s, he found the city exploding with young blues talent. He formed the band Southern Feeling with vocalist Angela Strehli and guitarist Denny Freeman. He then formed The W.C. Clark Blues Revue, which shared stages with James Brown, B.B. King, Sam and Dave and Bobby “Blue” Bland. In 1977, Clark joined Stevie Ray Vaughan in the Triple Threat Revue, with Lou Ann Barton as the other featured vocalist.

Celebrating Clark’s 50th birthday in 1989, the critically acclaimed PBS television show Austin City Limitsbrought Clark together with his disciples Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson, Lou Ann Barton, Angela Strehli and Will Sexton, in front of a live audience. The broadcast, one of the series’ most popular, brought Clark to the attention of a national audience for the first time.

Clark made his recording debut with the album Something For Everyone on Drippin’ Records in 1987, followed by signing with New Orleans’ Black Top label. He recorded three albums for Black Top, Texas Soul, Heart Of Gold and Lover’s Plea. He then joined the roster of Chicago-based Alligator Records in 2002, releasing From Austin With Soul and 2004’s Deep In The Heart. He began doing extensive national touring and was hailed and celebrated by the blues press. Blues Revue magazine called his music “modern Texas blues at its best…soothing, sweet-as- molasses soul and flashy, jumped-up roadhouse blues. As a vocalist, he’s untouchable.” Living Blues magazine said, “W.C. Clark has it all…everything from good old rock ‘n ’roll and gritty R&B to strutting Memphis soul, second-line funk and contemporary blues.”

Tiring of the road, Clark returned to performing primarily in Texas. He played as many as four nights every week as a solo performer and weekends with the W.C. Clark Blues Revue. He self-released two independent albums, 2011’s Were You There and 2018’s W.C. Clark. He was honored with induction into the Texas Songwriters Association’s Music Legends Hall of Fame in 2020. He also received a Special Citation of Achievement presented by BMI in recognition of the great national popularity as measured by over one million broadcast performances attained by Cold Shot.

W.C. Clark’s last show was a solo performance on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. He was hospitalized on Thursday, February 22 and moved to the Christopher House (Hospice Austin) on Monday, February 26.

W.C. is survived by his brothers Daniel Shelby, Charles Shelby, Joseph Shelby, and Willie Shelby, and his sisters Mary Ward and Lois Manor, his daughter Brittany Mays and six grandchildren.

Funeral services will be March 14, 2024, at Grant Chapel AME Worship Center, 1701 Kramer, Austin, TX. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. with the service beginning at 11 a.m. Clark will be interred at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.