Cowboy Jack Clement 

Guess Things Happen That Way

One of country music's finest songwriters and producers, Cowboy Jack Clement was born in 1931 in Memphis, Tennessee, and served as a key creative force at Sun Records in the '50s, when he discovered a wild young hick named Jerry Lee Lewis and recorded his first smash, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On." Clement wrote the two longest-charting number one hits of Johnny Cash's career -- "Guess Things Happen That Way" and "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" -- and produced one of the more significant records of the outlaw movement, Waylon Jennings' Dreaming My Dreams. He's been there, slightly in the background, at country music's most pivotal phases, penning timeless numbers such as "Fools Like Me" and "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger," as well as such memorable novelty tunes as "Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart."

Though Clement possesses a warm, wise, been-around-the-block-a-few-times voice, this is the first album with him singing his own classic material since his only other release, 1978's All I Want to Do in Life. Of the many hits he wrote, several didn't turn out the way he'd originally conceived them -- these versions seek to rectify that. For instance, the charming, lovelorn "Guess Things Happen That Way" has a calypso/rumba beat. One of the greatest I'm-leaving-you country tunes, "Leavin' Is the Lovin' Thing (to Do)," is bolstered by some fine horn-blowing. And "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" is simple and sweet thanks to Clement's romantic lyrics. His versions have neither Cash's hard edge nor Lewis' country soul sound, but instead exude a kindness and lonesomeness that seem to be his trademark.

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