This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of Guy Clark’s first — and best — album, Old No. 1. Clark was 34 when it came out, and by then he’d left Texas, eventually settling in Nashville, where it was recorded. Old No. 1 has aged well, more so than most of the outlaw country records of that era, partly because of the cast of musicians (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Gimble) but mostly because of the songwriting. Despite its dated production, it’s a classic, held together by a cycle of songs chronicling the arc of Clark’s life and the characters that inhabited it, and the tracks were so rich that others fashioned them into their own: Jerry Jeff Walker with “LA Freeway,” Vince Gill with “Rita Ballou,” Johnny Cash with “Texas, 1947.” Texas Cookin’, his second album, boasts as its title song Clark’s second most famous food song after “Home Grown Tomatoes.” The rest of the album fades in the shadow of Old No. 1, save for the fiddle-driven hoedown “Virginia’s Real” and the brilliant sing-speak narrative of “The Last Gunfighter Ballad.” Both of Clark’s albums were re-released on this single CD in 1998; it’s a must-have for any Texas music library. by Luann Williams