Books by Roy Clark

Released: March 10, 1994

Roy Clark, the genial multi-instrumentalist and longtime host of TV's Hee Haw, tells the story of his rags-to-riches climb to stardom. Born in a small Virginia town, Clark grew up in Washington, D.C. His father, a laborer who moonlighted as a semi-pro guitarist, encouraged young Roy's playing and brought him along to weekend square dances as soon as he'd learned a few chords. Soon the boy was playing guitar several nights a week, and his school work suffered accordingly; eventually he dropped out to become a full-time musician. The next few years were a string of appearances with bands playing a variety of musical styles at bars, at dances, and on local radio and TV. Not quite confident of his own ability as a guitarist, Clark added a line of comic patter to his act as a way to cover up his feeling of inadequacy. His craftsmanship, versatility, and ability to make an audience laugh earned him sideman spots with better-known country stars like Jimmy Dean and Wanda Jackson. Finally, all the scuffling paid off in hit records (notably ``Yesterday When I Was Young), Tonight Show appearances, a star spot on Hee Haw, and getting his own theater in Branson, Missouri. Clark's story is heartening, if a bit humdrum—the performer comes across as salt of the earth, a man one would welcome as a neighbor, the farthest thing imaginable from headline material. For juicy gossip and inside dirt, one can look elsewhere. A reader is left feeling that one of the good guys has found success, but with little insight into what, beyond talent and hard work, might have raised him to the top. (B&w photos—32 pages—not seen) Read full book review >