It’s been a while since I’ve posted in this category, so I probably should let you know: the purpose of my Wrestling With The Angel series is to highlight and share individual songs that are on a list of mine entitled: Devastatingly Great Songs. The title phrase, “Wrestling With The Angel,” is my paraphrase of a line from a poem by Herman Melville called “Art.” You can read the complete poem in “The Source,” my archived post of November 4, 2011.
Songs are like old friends.
You know you’ve got a good one when it puts a smile on your face even when you can’t remember how long it’s been since the last time the two of you got together.
“Cold Dog Soup” by Guy Clark is one of those songs.
I’ve been listening – and smiling – to Guy Clark quite a bit lately.
I was inspired to do so after reading the news about and watching the trailer for “Without Getting Killed or Caught,” the documentary film by Tamara Saviano & Paul Whitfield about Guy, Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Originally scheduled to debut at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, the movie premiered this week – March 16-20 – at the 2021 SXSW event.
The Guy Clark album I listened to first after reading the news about the film was Boats To Build. That 1992 collection from the American Explorer series on Asylum Records features many outstanding, smile-inducing songs including “Baton Rouge,” “Ramblin’ Jack & Mahan,” “Must Be My Baby” and the title track.
Today however, my hand plucked Cold Dog Soup from the Guy Clark section of my CD rack.
This 1999 album on the Sugar Hill label starts off with the title track and… well, I never did make it to Track #2. The name-dropping, image-rich spoken verses and the harmony-soaked anthemic chorus of this definitely devastatingly great song demanded more than one listen.
And the more I hit “replay,” the more I smiled.
“Cold Dog Soup” – the song – was written by Guy Clark & Mark D. Sanders.
The recording features: Guy on lead vocal & acoustic guitar; Verlon Thompson: harmony vocal & acoustic guitar; and Darrell Scott: harmony vocal & mandolin.
Give a listen.
“Now there’s a pride of lions to draw to.”
Cold Dog Soup – the album – was recorded by Chris Latham at EMI Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Guy, Verlon, Darrell and Chris shared the production duties. The release date was October 26, 1999.