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Monday, July 16, 2018

Mickey Clark: Farewell -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Singer-songwriter, musician, Cardinal fan and husband and father Mickey Clark passed away Sunday evening in his home surrounded by his family. He was 78. Clark, a popular performer in the Louisville area for many years with his band Blue Norther, also penned many songs about UofL athletic squads...including the 1983 release Cardinal Cannonball...which you can hear at the link below.


Mickey was a favorite at UofL Pep Rallies during tournament time at many different venues over the years. He was also a very accomplished song-writer -- having penned songs for The Oak Ridge Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis and Tompall and the Glazer Brothers.

He was a regular, in latter years, at Fiesta Mexicana restaurant on Bardstown Road with his band Blue Norther and my wife and I saw him perform there on quite a few occasions. You just never knew who you'd see on stage with night I saw fiddle master Michael Cleveland play with him at the restaurant -- just one of many that got together with him and the Blue Norther guys Dale Perry, Tom Cunningham, Marty Miller and Chip Bush. We heard a version of the "Orange Blossom Special" while dining that night that just might have been the best I've ever heard.  

Mickey was a 1958 Flaget High School graduate and played basketball for the Braves. He attended St. Joseph's University and graduated with a mathematics degree. Musician and mathematician -- quite the interesting combination, right? 

My first encounter with Mickey was in the late 70's when he performed at the Red Barn on the Louisville campus when I was attending there. That was the original Red Barn location on Floyd Street, roughly where Cardinal Park now stands. I would catch him throughout the years at various venues. One hot, summer afternoon he showed up at my office when I was in the coffee business --he was an advertising salesman at the time doing a little bit of cold-calling and prospecting. I knew him right off the bat. Nobody had a smile like Mickey's. My office walls were decorated with quite a few UofL posters from over the years and he was quite pleased to see these -- looking at them and making comments about a particular player or event.  We talked quite a while. He was impressed that I knew several of the songs he did, he was humbled when I told him a was a big fan of his music and we spent a long time just talking UofL and music. Although I had no need to advertise at the time, that didn't seem to matter -- we were just two Cardinal fans and music lovers shooting the breeze. 

He also performed live and there is a significant song-base of his music at the radio station where we do The Cardinal Couple Radio Hour and Handicapping Heroes...WCHQ 100.9 FM. Below is a link that features his 2015 performance at the station: 

Mickey Clark plays at WCHQ

The last time I saw him was at Fiesta Mexicana not too long ago. He was typical Mickey, playing a set with his band and then spending his breaks walking amidst the diners....chatting amicably and sharing stories and jokes. He came up to our table, recognized me and my wife and I told him that I was enjoying his set that night. I got that huge Mickey smile that got even broader when I teasingly asked him if he and the boys could do "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin. 

"We'll have to work on that one." he joked. "I don't think I can handle the range of those vocals."  

My favorite Mickey song has to be and will always be "Don't Piss On My Boots And Tell Me That It's Rainin'"  You can hear him and legend John Prine do it at the link below: 

Don't Piss On My Boots

Louisville's version of Jimmy Buffett has left the building. The tributes, remembrances and memories will go on long after his departure, though. He was one of us. A regular guy with a wife, son, bills and a car. He was a poet, a story-teller and common man. He will be missed. 

Go easy bro and I 'd like to think that you'll be sitting in on a lot of jam sessions and swapping songs in that big music hall in the sky.



  1. I will admit I didn't know much about Mickey but, based on the clips here, I can see and hear where he had a great of talent. A sad day for Cardinal Nation. RIP Mickey.

    Curtis "Knows what a Blue Norther is" Franklin

  2. Mickey will be a Cardinal Forever. I remember when he came to Gatlinburg...I want to say 2009 or 2010. It was in late summer, I do remember that he played an open-air, no cover charge couple of sets out in the plaza in front of The Best Italian Restaurant (a place you HAVE to try if you go to Gatlinburg...) with a couple of other guys that might have been in the Blue Norther. My memory isn't what it used to be, but I remember walking down from my place to listen and enjoyed him.

    Rest well, Mickey. L1C4.

    -- The Real Joe hill --


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