HOR: Review: Gerald Clark – Black Water

Please note that the below article was originally posted on the now closed High on Reviews:

I was sitting in a car on the way to Vredendal to go a festival that shall not be named. The driver, a good friend of mine, had just finished pelting me with Afrikaans treffers. I looked at him and reached in my bag to pull out Gerald Clark’s Black Water. After some struggling I popped it into the car’s CD player and what happened next was nothing short of amazing.


See, before that exact moment I had never even heard about Gerald Clark and therefore had no idea what to expect. So I was pretty surprised when I was greeted by a beautiful Blues guitar and a voice belonging to a man that sounds like he was raised in the Deep South of the United States, land of the Blues. Or at the very least, went to get his black belt in the blues.

The song that played first was called “It’s not you”, a story of a man coming to terms with the fact that his love for a woman, “has run cold”. This is followed by the more upbeat, title song “Black Water”. Here you might start to think that Gerald is just showing off his knowledge of the blues with the way he changes the tone of his voice. But really what you are listening to is an education. Songs like “Poorman Blues” took me back to my childhood where Toy Story exposed me to the blues with Randy Newman’s You’ve got a friend in me. I think of Otis Taylor and even Buddy Holly. I wonder if these musicians had an influence on Gerald. I mean, how could they not? All of sudden I hear “Baby, I want to marry you” and I wonder if that guy from the first song finally found a girl he would like to spend his life with. “As the crow flies” ends off the the brilliant ride of an album and I imagine I am not in this car anymore but on a Harley on Route 66 with the wind in my hair. But I am back in the car thinking, I watch way too much Sons of Anarchy.


Gerald Clark is one of those artist that might be called a ‘diamond in the rough’ by some. However for some reason I feel like I have stumbled upon an already perfectly cut diamond that will outshine the rest. If you are a fan of the blues or just want to expose yourself to some, Black Water is a great place to start.

You can order the cd online from the artist webiste www.geraldclark.co.za