Dave Clark played many roles during a distinguished career but was best known as ‘the dean of black promotion men,’ or even ‘the dean of black music,’ period. Clark once traveled the country looking for radio station towers to find stations that might play the records he was plugging, and he promoted discs to jukebox dealers in the era before radio had opened up to blues and R&B. He also worked as a journalist, booking agent, producer, and songwriter. Clark was born March 6, 1909, and usually gave Jackson, Tennessee, as his birthplace although census records indicate it was probably Hickory Valley, between Jackson and Memphis. He grew up mainly in Chicago but returned to attend Lane College in Jackson, where he played drums and other instruments and started an ‘orchestra service’ to book dance bands. He began writing for the Chicago Defender in 1933 by sending Lane football reports but soon concentrated on music and became Downbeat magazine’s first African American writer in addition to penning columns for the Defender and the Associated Negro Press network. His columns provided an additional outlet to push the latest records from the labels he represented, including Aristocrat, United, States, Parrot, Blue Lake, Peacock and Duke. Along the way he took music appreciation courses at Juilliard and took a hand in writing songs that were recorded by B.B. King (most notably ‘Why I Sing the Blues’), Otis Rush (‘Homework’), Bobby Bland, Little Milton and others. He headed the Gospel Truth label at Stax in Memphis and earned industry-wide acclaim for his work in promoting Z.Z. Hill’s Malaco breakthrough album Down Home, often cited as a record that helped revitalize blues in the 1980s. Stax released a special testimonial album in tribute to Clark in 1972. Said Stax’s Al Bell: ‘He was the most learned record or record music promotion man that I’ve ever witnessed — a man who not only understood all the fundamentals associated with record music promotion but created and wrote the book on many of the concepts.’ After winding up his career as a key figure in the success of Malaco in the Southern soul and blues market, Clark died in Madison, Mississippi, on July 22, 1995.