Super Rare Clint Black Demo Tape Found at a Goodwill
Well this is pretty damn cool. Kevin Curtin, who is the man about the streets for the Austin Chronicle, was rummaging through one of those Goodwill outlet facilities where they sell you stuff at a $1.50 a pound (this was pre pandemic, mind you), and along with some other cool musical stuff, he came across a cassette tape that appears (and sounds) to be one of the first, if not very first demo tape of none other than country legend Clint Black.
On a totally black cassette tape (what else would you expect?) that is simply marked “Clint Black” with the phone number “589-0560” on a label, someone who most certainly sounds like a young Clint Black spends 7 minutes and 59 seconds reciting minute-long renditions of solid gold hits, some from country like George Strait’s “Fool Hearted Memory,” and others like Jim Croce’s “Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”
“I put the tape on an era-appropriate Sony boombox and hit play,” Kevin Curtain writes in The Chronicle. “What I heard wasn’t what I expected. Rather than primitive versions of material from ‘Killin’ Time’ and other seminal songs from a budding country hero, out of the speakers emanated—presumably—an advertisement from a guy who came up singing cover songs in restaurants and bars.”
So is it really some of the earliest, if not the earliest recordings of Clint Black? Kevin Curtin sent in some requests to the Clint Black camp to no avail, and Saving Country Music has received no response from reps either, so there’s no guarantee this is actually Clint Black singing. But who else would want to impersonate Clint Black before Clint Black was Clint Black?
The timeline and circumstances also line up pretty well. Raised in Katy, TX on the west side of Houston, Clint Black dropped out of high school to pursue music with his brothers. As he labored as a construction worker and in the fishing industry by day, he would play music in lounges by night, and his repertoire included a wide variety of genres, not just country. It was the success he saw fellow Texan George Strait achieve with his more neotraditional style that inspired Black to go country full-time.
Also, Clint Black’s original manager Bill Ham (known for being the mastermind behind ZZ Top) was based in Austin about the time Clint Black was coming up. Ham is who got Clint Black his first deal with RCA, which led to Black recording his debut record Killin’ Time, crowning Clint Black as a member of the legendary “Class of ’89” in country music.
Kurtis Machler at Million Dollar Sound in Austin loaded up the music onto a YouTube player, and you can find the track list below. The songs are just Clint and an acoustic guitar, but it does sound like some bass accompaniment was added as well.
And if this recently-unearthed Clint Black material doesn’t suit your fancy, you can wait until June 19th when Clint’s new album Out Of Sane is released.
(Possible) Clint Black Demo Tape Track List:
1. “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” (Jim Croce)
2. “Old Man” (Neil Young)
3. “Fool Hearted Memory” (George Strait)
4. “Two More Bottles of Wine” (Delbert McClinton, Emmylou Harris)
5. “Leader of the Band” (Dan Fogelberg)
6. “Night Moves” (Bob Seger)
If the video comes up “unavailable,” CLICK HERE to listen.
May 30, 2020 @ 10:43 am
would definitely buy an album of 10 country singers, from the 1990s, currently recording their own versions of 2 more bottles of wine. am not picky at all about which 90s stars, except I don’t need garth’s, (but trisha’s version would be okay).
Bill from Wisconsin
May 30, 2020 @ 11:03 am
Starting with Delbert’s version…!
Bill from Wisconsin
May 30, 2020 @ 11:01 am
Funny I am reading this and Clint pops on my Amazon station playing Summer’s Comin! Can’t wait for the new album.
May 30, 2020 @ 12:47 pm
Great story. Great stuff. Great voice. And it sounds damn good, too!
May 30, 2020 @ 1:00 pm
Impressive audio quality for a tape that’s more than 30 years old.
May 30, 2020 @ 1:16 pm
He sounds really damn good here.
May 30, 2020 @ 1:57 pm
No doubt, this is definitely THE Clint Black singing. It’s pretty neat that he already had that signature growl back then, as heard on “Two More Bottles Of Wine.” Wonder how old he was here? This is such a cool find!!
May 30, 2020 @ 11:26 pm
He was 27 in 1989 when he “made it” in the music word. This is just incredible. He was a great impressionist and has an impressive vocal range.
strait country 81
May 30, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
Crazy what someone can find when they are Killin Time bet he was really happy Walkin Away from the Goodwill with it
May 30, 2020 @ 6:15 pm
10 points for this comment.
May 30, 2020 @ 9:08 pm
Now I feel like we’re being deprived of a Clint Black Sings George Strait album that the 60s surely would have given us. Clint is such a treasure.
Strait Country 81
May 31, 2020 @ 6:49 am
Garth mentioned doing a tribute to Strait album awhile ago but doesn’t look like nothing is gonna come of it.
I’d much rather hear Clint do a album of Strait covers.
June 11, 2020 @ 7:18 pm
What an incredible find! His talent is on full display here as a singer and guitar player. Kinda sucks no one from his camp has responded back yet.