Artist Profile: W. C. Clark

Research assistance and archival material provided by Clay Shorkey of The Texas Music Museum
Photo Credit: Max Crace

W. C. Clark was born Wesley Curley Clark, was born in Austin, Texas on November 16th, 1939. He grew up singing with his family in the choir at St. Johns College Heights Baptist Church and in the early 1950s, he started playing the guitar. At his first gig at Austin’s historical landmark Victory Grill, he was introduced to T. D. Bell and shortly after he joined Bell’s band, T.D. Bell and the Cadillacs.

In the early 1960s, Clark played with Blues Boy Hubbard and The Jets at a popular Austin nightclub, Charlie’s Playhouse. He met R&B hitmaker Joe Tex at Charlie’s, who later recruited W.C. to fill the vacant guitar slot in his group. While touring the Southern “chitlin’ circuit” with Joe Tex, W.C. learned from legends such as Tyrone Davis and James Brown.

Clark soon formed Southern Feeling with singer Angela Strehli and guitarist/pianist Denny Freeman. Later taking a job as a mechanic when Southern Feeling disbanded. Shortly after, Stevie Ray Vaughn, a friend of Clark’s, recruited him to join his band Triple Threat Revue. Stevie was successful in his pursuit and W. C. eventually left his job to become the bass player in the Triple Threat Revue with Stevie, keyboardist Mike Kindred, drummer Freddie Pharoah, and singer Lou Ann Barton. During his time with Vaughn, W.C. earned his first platinum record for co-writing “Cold Shot,” along with Mike Kindred, which ended up being a big hit for Stevie.

Clark eventually formed his group W.C. Clark Blues Revue in the early 1980s and self-released his first recording, Something for Everybody, in 1986. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, his band played regular gigs at legendary hot-spots such as Antone’s and helped to shape the Austin Music Scene while opening for B.B. King, James Brown, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Albert King. He later signed with Black Top Records and released Heart Of Gold in 1994. Texas Soul followed in 1996, in which Clark won a WC Handy Award for “Soul Blues Album of The Year.”

Throughout his career, he has released 7 albums, with Were You There? being his most recent in 2011. Clark has made over 100 festival appearances in the U.S. and abroad.  Last year Clark celebrated his 80th birthday and he is still inspiring generations to come and making a lasting impression on his fans one show at a time!

 

– Miles Bloxson, KUTX Host

 

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