Friday, May 18, 2018

Subterranean Miscellanea: Arkansaw Man

Patrick LoVullo and Stephen Clarke (trombonist unknown). Photo: Jeanne Hansen
Arkansaw Man was a trio that was part of the SF scene at Club Foot and The Sound Of Music clubs. Arkansaw Man's discography is limited to a single on Subterranean Records; an EP on Club Foot founder Richard Kelly's Modern Masters label; and two compilation tracks (one of which I can't find: an Epitapes cassette called The Beauty Of The Warning).

Arkansaw Man was led by guitarist Stephen Bartholomew Clarke.  He and bassist Patrick LoVullo also played trumpet. Arkansaw Man drummer Glenn Sorvisto had played in Houston punk band The Hates. In the 90's he was part of the Oakland improv scene and drummed for a trio called Happy New Year. Sorvisto died in 2012.

According to Tom Mallon's recording discography, Stephen Clarke played on a 1983 demo by The American Music Club.  Clarke was later in the groups Servants Of The Public Wheel, Critical Chip, Pluto, and Can vocalist Malcolm Mooney's Tenth Planet. Here is a video of Clarke and other Pluto members performing with Malcolm Mooney in 2010.

Clarke has released two albums of solo acoustic guitar: 2005's Roots N Hubris and 2012's Tomorrow's Train. He has a Youtube channel with videos of several unreleased Arkansaw Man songs that were recorded with Mallon in 1983.

Ten years ago, a Table Of The Elements offshoot label called Radium reissued Arkansaw Man's 1982 EP. From the sleeve notes: "With a brilliant economy of means and a sparseness reminiscent of dub, the band got an amazing jump start on the whole post-Slint, post-Gastr, post-Rock thing." On the EP's first track, "The Ballroom Song", members of the Club Foot Orchestra and a SF quintet called The Varve guest on saxes, trombone, and clarinet.  
LoVullo, Clarke, and Sorvisto (photo by Jeanne Hansen)


  1. Arkansaw Man EP, "Every Job"/"Mark Twain" 45, plus "68°" from the 1983 SF Sound Of Music Club Live compilation LP:

    Check out more of Jeanne Hansen's SF scene photography:

  2. Great! I bought the 7" when it came out but never managed to find the 12"...Excited to hear - Thanks!