William Clarke - Deluxe Edition
Over 60 minutes of Clarke's brilliant West Coast powerhouse harp, swinging guitar, soul-filled vocals. Includes "Pawnshop Bound," "The Boss," "Evil" and three previously unreleased songs. Remastered in 20-bit audio, with rare photos and mini-poster
William Clarke, vocal and harmonica, with: Guitar: Alex Schultz (1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14), Zach Zunis (1, 3, 7, 8, 10), Jeff Ross (2, 9,11, 12, 16), Greg Verginio (2, 9,11, 12, 16), Barry Levenson (6), Al Blake (15), Junior Watson (5) Keyboards: Fred Kaplan (1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15), Steve F'Dor (2, 11, 12, 13, 16), John "Juke" Logan (4) Acoustic Bass: Flaco "Slim" Medina (1, 7, 8, 10), Tyler Pederson (4, 6, 14, 15), Rick Reed (2, 9, 11, 12, 16), Willie Brinlee (3, 13), Bill Stuve (5) Drums: Eddie Clark (2, 3, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16), Lee Campbell (1, 7, 8, 10), Bob Newham (14), Jimi Bott (4), John Moore (6), Richard Innes (5) Tenor Sax: Jon Viau (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 16) Baritone Sax: Jon Viau (3), Troy Jennings (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 16) Trumpet: John Marotti (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10) Trombone: John Marotti (3) Valvebone: John Marotti (1, 7, 10)
All tracks produced by William Clarke at Pacifica Studios, Culver City, CA,1986 (5); 1990 (3, 13); 1992 (1, 7, 8, 10); 1994 (4, 6, 14, 15); 1995 (9, 16); 1996 (2, 11, 12)
Engineer: Glenn Nishida
Mixers: William Clarke, assisted by Glenn Nishida (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15); Glenn Nishida (5, 9, 16)
Deluxe Edition Series produced by Bob DePugh, Bruce Iglauer and David Forte
Design by David Forte
Essay by Bruce Iglauer
Cover photo by Clayton Call
Book back photo by Joe Weinroth
Inlay inside photo by Randi Anglin
Inlay outside photo by Peter Amft
Special thanks to Jeannette Clarke
William Clarke was a giant of his blues generation. Until his premature death in 1997, he proved himself not only an astounding blues harmonica player, but also a singer, writer and arranger of depth, intensity and passion. The huge sound of his harp was surpassed only by his massive physique, and his stomping, sweaty presence dominated the bandstand like he dominated his records. He delivered chorus after chorus of wild improvisation, combining the fat-toned, driving harp sound of Chicago with the swinging, jazzy rhythms of '50s California, exhausting his audiences with his energy. And he sang the blues that he wrote from his own life in a voice full of feeling and soul. "For me," he said, "the blues has to be deep, emotional, convincing and from the heart... and must swing." Bill Clarke was no college kid learning the blues from records. He grew up in a blue-collar family in Inglewood, California and discovered the blues as a young teenager. By 17, he was sneaking into the tough blues clubs of Watts, learning from the California masters. He was "adopted" by two former Chicagoans, Shakey Jake Harris and George "Harmonica" Smith. It was Smith who schooled his young protege in the intricacies of the big chromatic harp, and Bill followed in his mentor's footsteps, creating a huge chromatic sound that he was, amazingly, able to translate to smaller harmonicas. He became an in-demand sideman, cutting records behind Smokey Wilson, Shakey Jake and Long Gone Miles. Bill's debut album, on his own label, featured Jake as producer. Bill went on to release his own self-produced albums, which have become collector's items. But the blues was his love, not his job. For 20 years, he labored as a machinist, raising his children and playing on weekends. Only in his late 30s did he hit the road as a full time bluesman. With his Alligator debut, Blowin' Like Hell, Bill packed his huge frame into a ragged van and crisscrossed the country, literally blowing his heart out. Bill produced his own albums for Alligator, backed by the cream of West Coast bluesmen, crafting every note and mix. He constantly stretched his talent, blowing over complicated jazz chord changes and then breaking things down for the subtlest of acoustic tunes. His lyrics were true to his life—songs of economic woes, the loneliness of the road, nights of drinking and partying, and the joy of being home with his family and his beloved wife, Jeannette. He was immensely proud of his 1991 W.C. Handy Award for "Best Song Of The Year" for Must Be Jelly. In the last year of his life, Bill delivered his most ambitious album, The Hard Way, and hit the road with a vengence, winning new fans everywhere he went. He won the three top W.C. Handy Awards: Album of the Year, Song of the Year (for Fishing Blues), and Instrumentalist of the Year–Harmonica. Sadly, he didn't live to accept his awards. His death, at 45, robbed us of a true blues giant.
Also by William Clarke on Alligator Records:
BLOWIN' LIKE HELL AL 4788 "Slashing, fat–toned harmonica...Clarke welds Chicago blues passion to West Coast swing, emerging with a sound of his own." – LIVING BLUES. Includes Lollipop Mama, Greasy Gravy, more.
SERIOUS INTENTIONS AL 4806 "Honest, gritty, foot–stomping blues...heartfelt, inspired vocals."–DOWNBEAT. Includes Chasin' The Gator, The Work Song, more.
GROOVE TIME AL 4827 Clarke's dynamic yet subtle playing, huge voice and original songwriting were the essence of the blues. "A mighty storm on harp."–WASHINGTON POST. Includes The Complainer's Boogie Woogie, more.
THE HARD WAY AL 4842 Clarke's final album chartered new territory in the fusion of jazz and blues, and won the W. C. Handy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album of The Year. Includes Moten Swing, more.
ALLIGATOR RECORDS CHRISTMAS COLLECTION XMAS 9201 William's Christmas wish was simple: Please Let Me Be Your Santa Claus ornaments this Yuletide collection. "An ideal stocking filler."–BLUES & RHYTHM