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Gene Clark

  • Flying High
  • With The Gosdin Brothers
  • Fantastic Expedition Of
  • Dillard And Clark,
  • Through The Morning,,
  • Through The Night,
  • White Light,
  • Roadmaster,
  • No Other,

    Gene Clark

  • The Byrds,
  • David Crosby,
  • Roger McGuinn,

  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Gene Clark

    flyin high no other white light roadmaster the gosdin brothers

    Flying High( 1998 )
    You Showed Me / Feel A Whole Lot Better / Set You Free This Time / Tried So Hard / So You Say You Lost Your Baby / The French Girl / Los Angeles / I Pity The Poor Imigrant / That's Alright By Me / Train Leaves Here This Morning / Why Not Your Baby / The Radio Song / Git It On Brother / Somethings Wrong / Wall Around Your Heart / No Longer A Sweetheart Of Mine / Through The Morning, Through The Night / Kansas City Southern / Polly / Dark Hollow / One In A Hundred / She's The Kind Of Girl / With Tomorrow / Spanish Guitar / The Virgin / Opening Day / Winter In / The American Dreamer / Full Circle Song / In A Misty Morning / I Remember The Railroad / Silver Raven / The True One / Lady Of The North / Hear The Wind / Silent Crusade / Past Addresses / Fair And Tender Ladies / Changes / Mr Tambourine Man

    There's not many that could write a song like Gene. Take one song, Spanish Guitar'. A song that which no less than Bob Dylan said was 'something I or anybody else would have been proud to have written'. We open with 'You Showed Me' a song never properly recorded by The Byrds but turned into a hit by The Turtles a few years later. And by The Lightning Seeds here in England many years later! The guy could write songs! We have a couple of Gene's finest Byrds moments before we move onto the solo material. 'Set You Free This Time' is just so fuckin good! That slight quiver is his voice is everything. He wasn't a fabulous singer I suppose but he could sing and that quiver in his voice invested everything he did with a tremendous emotional quality. Besides, the likes of 'Set You Free This Time' contains some of the greatest lyrics written by anybody. No wonder Bob admired his song writing. 'She Don't Care About Time' is a superlative Byrds single that inexplicably was never included on a regular Byrds album. Its just fabulous, the guitars jangle away and it's pop music. Prime Beatles influenced music that in turn influenced The Beatles not least George Harrison who was a huge fan of The Byrds.

    Moving on through the first couple of solo records i've already covered we have highlights with the ridiculously happy 'Tried So Hard', the stone cold classic 'Train Leaves Here This Morning' and the simply brilliant 'Why Not Your Baby'. And, on this compilation at least, a couple of rarities. Rarities? Gene recorded a single 'The French Girl' / 'Los Angeles' after his solo debut. The single never gained release and Gene ultimately decided to ditch that particular style and move more towards a country rock style. Thing is.....ah! 'The French Girl'. This is SUCH a fantastic song. Supremely melodic, the quiver in his voice present and correct and some fantastically romantic evocative lyrics. This song gets to me every time. It was never released? It should have been number one! Really. And, 'Los Angeles'. Rock and Roll! Sorry, i'm getting carried away, but really, these songs are just so damn good and grin inducing. Everybody should get hold of these two songs. They really are that good. More quality out-takes here. Gene had a bunch of them. 'I Pity The Poor Immigrant' - a great Dylan cover given a rock beat but still retaining a country flavour. 'Something's Wrong' from 'Fantastic Expedition' sounding as great and wondrous as ever. The decent 'Polly' and 'Dark Hollow' - yet more Gene Clark out-takes better than most writers best moments. A special mention for the two songs at the end of the first disc. 'She's The Kind Of Girl' and 'One In A Hundred' were Byrds re-unions. The mixes here are different to those that later emerged and were recorded with Jim Dickson The Byrds original mentor. They are simply fantastic, far superior to anything The Byrds were doing at that stage. The jangle is present, the harmonies are stupendous. Really. And, 'She's The Kind Of Girl' is simply beautiful.

    Highlights of the second disc of course include the songs taken from his classic 'No Other' album which still to this day hasn't received a re-issue. Reissue it somebody! We open with some beautiful acoustic songs, 'With Tomorrow' and 'Spanish Guitar'. 'Spanish Guitar' especially is a thing to behold. A wonderful song, heartbreaking and beautiful again. A number of pleasant songs pass by until we reach the next moment of pure genius. 'Full Circle Song' - the version here is different to the version on The Byrds largely disappointing 73 reunion album. This is Gene's original version and dammit if it isn't wonderful! Wonderfully recorded and performed, a little Byrds jangle in the guitar and its just so uplifiting and happy. No wonder The Byrds wanted it to open their reunion album. This song always makes me smile and makes me happy. 'I Remember The Railroad' is so atmospheric, wonderfully desolate in feel. Skipping the 'No Other' songs for the moment, the remainder of the record is tasteful, quality but never again reaching heights of genius. Gene had something of a bad lifestyle and a drinking habit that ultimately cost him his life. 'Fair And Tender Ladies' however is late period Gene Clark and does send a chill up the spine. A beautiful folk song with added female harmonies.

    'No Other' was the album Gene recorded for Asylum records with a budget that went way over what had been originally allocated. The production was state of the art, experimental. The songs were all 5/6/7 minutes plus and daring in their ambition. They remind me of Bob Dylan's 'Desire' album which was released in 1976. 'No Other' came out in 74. 'Silver Raven' and 'The True One' are both amongst the best songs Gene ever wrote. And, then? 'Lady Of The North'. Ah! 'Lady Of The North'. This is the one. I'm crying, i'm sorry. I'm going :) Yes, why did I have to listen to this whilst writing the review? I am crying, actual tears of joy. 'Lady Of The North'. The emotional quiver, fantastic vocals actually, some of the best he ever did. Soaring musical parts, a song in sections each one adding to the last. Violin! Desire! 'flying high, above the clouds. we lay in grassy meadows, the earth was like a pillow - for our dreams'. Wonderful lyrics, great piano. One of the finest six minutes in musical history. It's 4.30pm in the afternoon. I'm half way through the song. I've not drunk any alcohol, i'm sober and sane. One of the best songs and performances of all time.

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    Readers Comments

    Patrick pjreilly2001@yahoo.com
    How true... It is an absolute sacrilege that Gene Clark has been so overlooked and it is only now that his back catalogue is beginning to surface. I am patiently awaiting a copy of No Other on CD. Why has it took so long? Considering the amount of crap that is issued and reissued on CD (step forward Tom Jones, Robbie Williams et al). You would want to be made of stone not to be moved by 'Lady of the North' (or indeed any of the tracks on Flying High). A genius...a true star.

    Ross Thomas ross@iseven.freeserve.co.uk
    Whats so special about Gene Clark?? Thats crazy talk. He had the look, voice and songs of a star! While I am the first to admit that his solo work is erratic, when he was on form he was a legend. All his Byrds songs were good - even on the reunion album, both his songs on his Roadmaster album where he is backed by The Byrds are also stellar! He did no wrong in The Byrds. Shame he didnt manage to rejoin when Crosby left

    Alex Heslop alex.heslop@hackney.gov.uk
    Gene Clark - The Artist who deserved so much more, September 7, 2004 Reviewer: Alex Heslop from London United Kingdom I was introduced to the Byrds recently by a friend of mine who suggested that I buy the Notorious Byrd Brothers from the record store in Greenwich Market. Although that masterpiece of an album was created after Gene was pushed out of the Byrds by Roger McGuinn due to his famous fear of flying, it led me on to the earlier Byrds albums, notably Mr Tambourine Man, Turn!Turn!Turn! and of course 5D which contained Eight Miles High (originally the brainchild of Gene Clark). Flying High clearly illustrates the creative force that was Gene Clark and is an excellent introduction to Byrds fans who have not bought his solo work yet. It also serves as a brilliant insight to people who have not even listened to the Byrds yet. Gene's musical style could only be described as varied, in a similar way to work of John Cale of the Velvet Underground. They h! ave another similarity in that their musical rivals, Roger McGuinn and Lou Reed, went on to to become more successful than the more talented Gene Clark and John Cale! I first heard I'll probably feel a whole lot better on Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever and to me it is the best track of that first Byrds Album. Set you Free the best track from Turn!Turn!Turn! If I could have added anything else from No Other! I think it would have to be the title track which is a creative tour de force. While you could argue about what should have been omitted from the playlist and what should have been there instead, the end result is always a pleasure to listen to. Gene deserved to be as successful as Dylan, Lennon and Neil Young to name but a few of his contemporaries who were equally talented but acknowledged as great artists during their working lives. That success and appreciation only materialised for Gene after his untimely death in 1991, famously on the same day as Bob! Dylan's birthday. Why was Gene so unprepared to go o! ut on th e road and promote his art? Why was his fear of flying so entrenched? How did he manage to fly to London and meet up with the Beatles in 65 and later as part of McGuinn, Clark & Hillman? Listen to Gene, read the excellent notes by Sid Griffin (Sid if you happen to read this, please work on a Gene documentary similar to the one you've just done on Gram Parsons!) and you will clearly see how good an artist Gene was. You will also understand why Chris Hillman still rates Gene as the original creative force of the Byrds, even though Roger McGuinn was theoretically their Leader.

    FU Somma fsomma@landismeat.net
    I think that Gene Clark is a vastly underrated talent. Crosby and McGuinn are also great talents, but as far as songwriting, Gene Clark had them all beat at this stage. Their contributions, to keep with the Beatles comparison, were like that of George Harrison: classic performances, riffs and embellishments(backround vocals) that make someone else's compositions shine. And like George, it wasn't until the later albums that their songs really were on par with Gene's. By then though, the band had taken a radical turn in their evolution and become something different all together.

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    Gene Clark With The Gosdin Brothers 8 ( 1967 )
    Echoes / Think I'm Gonna Feel Better / Tried So Hard / Is Yours Is Mine / Keep On Pushin / I Found You / So You Say You Lost Your Baby / Elevator Operator / The Same One / Couldn't Believe Her / Needing Someone

    This is the album that, rather unfortunately for Gene, was released the very same day as The Byrds 'Younger Than Yesterday'. The release by his former group of course received all the attention and Gene's debut struggled for both airplay and sales. Both Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke of The Byrds contribute here though, and future Byrd Clarence White helps out on guitar. And! We have the sheer wondrous splendour of the orchestrated 'Echoes' to open. Immediately, it sounds nothing like The Byrds. It's clearly written by the same pen as the likes of 'Set You Free This Time' however, and is certainly up there with Gene's finest ever compositions. We have poetic lyrics to rival Dylan at his best and the orchestration really does something here. In contrast, 'Think Im Gonna Feel Better' is jaunty, short and simple. Jaunty? Well, its happy! The Gosdin Brothers add harmonies and it's a fine song. The guitar sound is 'chugging' rather than the Jangle of The Byrds, but everything is well played and performed. 'Tried So Hard' is a sheer delight, and ensures a strong album opening. Country picking and such a happy melody mixed in with Gene's poetic imagery. 'Is Yours Is Mine' is the one song here that that most evokes memories of The Byrds. The harmonies are mighty fine and provide the main enticing highpoints of the song. Fantastic psychedelic moments mixed in too, though! Ah, 'Keep On Pushin' is perhaps a little too simplistic but the song that follows is mighty fine and matches any of the opening three.

    'So You Say You Lost Your Baby' is full of echo and reverb, and strings as well! Its a strange combination, but it works. Impressive drumming on 'Elevator Operator', 'The Same One' foreshadows Genes future work by being a dense intricate ballad yet with wonderful melodic guitar fragments. Neither of the final two songs are essential, but both are still pleasant enough, if still straying the wrong side of the line marked 'simple'. They retain the sound of the rest of the album however and fit in happily enough, if nothing else.

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    Mike Harrison fughedaboudit455@yahoo.com
    Gene Clark remains an underappreciated musician, and this album is definitely a lost gem. The country-rock elements are tasteful AND ahead of their time.....even the Byrds didn't have a handle on country-rock to this extent. Several of the tracks could have used McGuinn's 12-string, but Clarence White makes up for the loss with classy guitar work. Just think.....if Clark had remained with the Byrds and contributed material to YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY, both would have benefitted.

    Ross Thomas ross@iseven.freeserve.co.uk
    An album marred by the truly awful mixing. The Gosdins drown out poor Gene on almost every track. Its the worst mix I have ever heard. Only So You Say You Lost Your Baby is spared and is a truly excellent track worthy of The Byrds. This album was remixed and rerecorded in parts by Gene a few years later (he obviously agreed with me!) but don't think its out on cd unfortunately. Some of the songs suck though, well overrated

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    The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard And Clark 8 ( 1968 )
    Out On The Side / She Darked The Sun / Don't Come Rollin' / Train Leaves Here This Morning / Why Not Your Baby / Lyin Down The Middle / With Care From Someone / The Radio Song / Git It On Brother / In The Plan / Somethings Wrong / Don't Be Cruel

    Gene's next move was to form the Dillard and Clark grouping, comprising of himself and Doug Dillard on backing vocals and banjo. They existed only for two albums and a couple of singles, and showcased a move towards country and away from the rockier edge of Genes solo debut. Gene himself writes the majority of the songs and they continue to be high quality songs. Opener 'Out On The Side' has organ buried in the mix amid nice guitar and vocal work. Its a mid-tempo ballad and nothing astonishing, but still a good quality tune. Bluegrass influences abound on the second song with good harmony vocal work from Doug and Gene. After the slightly forgettable 'Don't Come Rollin' the first real gem of the set arrives with the Clark/Leadon co-write 'Train Leaves Here This Morning'. It also appeared on The Eagles debut set and has proved something of a durable composition. Gene's version doesn't differ too much from The Eagles but possibly features more suitable playing with the banjo and mandolin. Even more of a gem arrives with 'Why Not Your Baby' :) The banjo is present in the background, the rhythm section is pure pop/rock, not a million miles away from The Byrds. The vocals are heavenly and the lyrics clever and charming. Its a pop song that really should have been a hit - someone should cover it and turn it into one. A wonderfully dreamy song.

    The album continues much in an alternating rock/country vein, and in places combining the two. Some great playing on this record, wonderful work on banjo and mandolin. None other than Chris Hillman on mandolin! 'With Care From Someone' is a fantastic bluegrass song instrumentally, the layering of the harmonies on top really makes you sit up and take notice. 'The Radio Song' is a highlight from a writing point of view and 'Git It On Brother' from a performance point of view - the latter being a hugely entertaining bluegrass romp. A couple of lesser moments are mixed toward the end of the record and the cover of 'Don't Be Cruel' is odd to say the least. One final gem does remain, however. 'Somethings Wrong' is clearly in the same ballpark as Gene's songs for The Byrds and shares a similar feel to the likes of 'Here Without You' and 'If I'm Gone'. The banjo and mandolin backing, the bass - all work to support gene's vocal, which is full of yearning and emotion. Overall we have another decent album! There are one or two lesser moments for sure, but importantly, nothing that's actually bad as such. 

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    Donnelly, Mark mark.donnelly@hp.com
    I only heard 'why not your baby' yesterday (02/10/03) and it hasn't left my CD player since, what a tune I can't believe it is not more famous. Thank you for pointing it out in your review.

    Gary Davis garydavis9361@go.com
    "Why Not Your Baby", "Lyin' Down the Middle", and "Don't Be Cruel" were actually non-LP singles included on the reissued CD as "bonus" tracks. With the Dillards, this group was the first to combine bluegrass and pop - something quite common today (Allison Krauss, Nickel Creek, etc.).

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    Through The Morning, Through The Night 7 ( 1969 )
    No Longer A Sweetheart Of Mine / Through The Morning, Through The Night / Rocky Top / So Sad / Corner Street Bar / I Bowed My Head And Cried Holy / Kansas City Southern / Four Walls / Polly / Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms / Don't Let Me Down

    A plethora of cover versions. Gene Clark songs weren't wanted anymore! Not commercial!! Some stupid fool thought that. It didn't make any difference. This sold no better than anything else he's put out. His fear of flying resulting in a lack of touring dented promotion. Nobody played the damn songs on the radio, so who the hell exactly was going to buy it anyway? No promotion. Its nothing to do with Gene Clarks writing ability, which, by the way, isn't exactly on display here anyway! We do have a charming version of a Beatles song to close though, and still impeccable performances all round. Can't fault them on that. Dillard And Clark could harmonize well and were damn fine country performers, all told. Ah, the opening song is perfect in execution, for example and 'Kansas City Southern' is a fun energetic rocker. The title song is mighty fine and beautiful, the pedal steel is wonderful and Gene sounds on great vocal form. On the lesser side, 'Rocky Top' is a ridiculously silly bluegrass tune, and seems to not even feature Gene at all as far as I can tell. Female vocals dominate, and its just.....well. Musically, it's fine but otherwise pretty much just a piece of entertaining nothing. Gene deserved better.

    'So Sad' was a cover of an Everly Brothers song of all things, but it sounds pretty wonderful. Gene sings very affectingly, piano is added to the musical mix and the harmonies work as well as ever. And by golly, 'Polly' was a Gene Clark original! One of the few on this album! And, dammit if it isn't perfect. So, overall, this album is somewhat spotty, but it does still contain enough reasons why Gene Clark had something. He HAD something.

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    White Light 9 ( 1971)
    The Virgin / With Tomorrow / White Light / Because Of You / One In A Hundred / For A Spanish Guitar / Where My Love Lies Asleep / Tears Of Rage / 1975

    It was more like a dream than reality. Gene loses most of his backing, so this is a very laid-back, mostly acoustic affair. The backing when it's there, 'Because Of You, for instance. A lovely bass just gently picks out a melody in the background, there's percussion rather than drums, faint you can hardly hear it organ in places, really rather beautiful. Gene of course with a slow, drawn out pattern repeating on his acoustic, and such glorious lyrics over the top. This isn't one of the better tracks, but it's still stupendous, really. 'Spanish Guitar' is a song so good Bob Dylan himself admitted he wish he'd written it. The commercial failure of 'White Light' could be said to be due to relatively lack-lustre promotion, not helped of course by Gene's fear of flying. The promotion wasn't helped by the fact there's no 'Heart Of Gold', no 'Sweet Baby James' for radio programmers to get behind. Gene would remain languishing in the background of the pop/rock scene, such a shame when he himself had done so much to shape the country/rock/singer-songwriter genre. The Eagles would barely exist without Gene, some might say that's a good thing. Gene's own work has lyrical similarites with Dylan circa the mid-sixties, especially the heavily symbolic and arcane 'Spanish Guitar'. The Dylan comparisons are inevitable really, the gorgeous harmonica break during 'Where My Love Lies Asleep'. On the one hand I can understand this album failing to sell, it's no more commercial than an 'Astral Weeks' for example. It's of a singular mood and setting and demands time to be fully appreciated. It's an album the deserves to be fully listened to, these subtle and laidback musical backdrops are beauties in themselves, let alone the wonderful vocals of Gene and the lyrics.

    The one and only place this album falls slightly flat for me is the cover of the Dylan/Band tune 'Tears Of Rage'. With all the other compositions seemingly being of a piece, this sticks out, although it's performed with the same sensitivity as everything else here. One song really amazes me, 'One In A Hundred', already recorded in 1970 by the original Byrds line-up with their original producer. Gene entirely re-casts the two, not relying on the harmonius, golden jangle of a McGuinn and stripping away any backing vocals. The country feel is subtle here, it's a mid-pace rock tune, albeit a very quiet one. Fully singer-songwriter then in the folk tradition, with bass and drums there, yet not stealing the show from Gene. His performance is glorious, very heartfelt and stirring. It's a beautiful tune with excellent and moving lyrics. The Byrds version was a happy joy, Gene's makes you burst into tears of a different kind, but the shivers are there across your arms and up your spine, all the same. Quite something, especially the 'sun......' ending which is a new addition to how this song appeared on the 1970 one-off Byrds reunion ( see 'Flying High' ). I've not even mentioned the first three songs. They're all great! It's an excellent, classic LP release that most of you have never heard, yet please do so. Make the effort, Gene will reward you. <

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    Mark Peasley Perth, Australia
    Nice review but this is a certified 10. I agree that "Tears of Rage" is the inferior track on the album but that only emphasises the excellence of the entire work. As a songwriter's collection, it is matchless; as a singer/songwriter's creation it reigns supreme.

    Gazza Edinburg
    While i agree its a wonderful record , i think the oversimilar sound and pacing of the record hamper its chances of getting across each individual songs qualities . It all tends to blur together too much , the record was crying out for a more distinctive touch to the arrangements . Its a shame really , beautiful songs abound sometimes reminiscent of townes van zandt or leonard cohen in their poetic style . Sonically i suppose its similar to "john wesley harding" although this is a much warmer sounding record . The version of "tears of rage" works pretty well to my ears and the album boasts some knock out songs like "with tomorrow" "the virgin" and "where my love lies sleeping" . Its just a pity you have to work so hard to pick out the quality of these songs thanks to the uniformity of the sound and playing .

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    Roadmaster( 1973)
    She's the Kind of Girl / One in a Hundred / Here Tonight / Full Circle Song / In a Misty Morning / Rough and Rocky / Roadmaster / I Really Don't Want to Know / I Remember the Railroad / She Don't Care About Time / Shooting Star

    The first two songs are actually Byrds songs recorded in 1970. It wasn't really a Byrdís reunion as such; McGuinn in particular was against that idea at the time. These tracks saw release on the 90s compilation, 'Flying High' but via different mixes than these. Well, these particular mixes saw release in 1973 when 'Roadmaster' saw the light of day, in the Netherlands only, for some reason. I'll talk briefly about the two Byrds reunion tracks then. In short, they pee all over The Byrds official reunion album on Asylum Records. The mixes presented here ( as opposed to the 'Flying High' mixes ) lessen the sound of McGuinn's guitar and the harmonies are quieter, but other than that, the recordings are the same. The post Clark & post Crosby Byrds very rarely matched the beauty of these songs. 'She's The Kind Of Girl' is initially sorrowful before the mid section where that Byrds magic just shines through joyously. The McGuinn guitar can be heard noticeably through the opening sections of 'One In A Hundred' and is a wonder to hear, especially when the 'bells chime' lyric comes in and the guitar indeed chimes like bells. It's all you need, even if the 'Flying High' mix is superior. Two utterly fantastic songs though. They ain't the only ones here. 'In A Misty Morning' is a superior, atmospheric and utterly gorgeous country ballad that shames 99.9% of all country music you may ever have heard. It sends chills all through me and if anything, this is even better than the two 'Byrds' tracks. Musically, the highlight of the two is an undulating violin, adding texture.

    'Here Tonight' is worth the price of admission alone for the graceful and refined country feel and the gorgeous vocals. The title track of this motley assorted of various tracks record at various times successfully casts Gene is sexy blues-funk mode, believe it or not. Its lots of cool fun. I see the travellers comin' he sings on 'I Remember The Railroad' and the way the song is presented and sung, you remember it too. It's that kind of song. I see some smiling faces he sings. He has the habit of putting together very simple, evocative lines together. He re-casts his Byrds song 'She Don't Care About Time' very imaginatively to hit his country mode. This is all very subtle country, by the way. This isn't Stetsons and Dolly Partonís chest. Heaven forbid! 'Full Circle Song' was re-recorded for The Byrds re-union, but didn't shine anywhere near as brightly as it does here. Gene was a talent, that's for sure. Deliberately anti-commercial at times and certainly not able to tour or promote his own music, due to his own insecurities, yet Gene was a talent. Seek out this or any of his albums and see why.

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    No Other 9 ( 1974)
    Life's Greatest Fool / Silver Raven / No Other / Strength Of Strings / From A Silver Phial / Some Misunderstanding / True One, The / Lady Of The North

    In 1973 Gene's fortunes appeared to be on the up when Asylum Records identified his contributions to the doomed Byrds reunion project as the only bright moments. Spending an absolute fortune of Asylum's money recording 'No Other', Gene still failed to promote the project due to his chronic fear of flying. It sank and even earlier than that when Gene presented it to Asylum they complained it only contained eight tracks, wondering where exactly all their money had gone. Much much later, you wonder now with 'No Other' often referred to as genius and the man's best work whether the artistic legacy of Gene Clark is actually best served by that. Well, don't people often plump for what's considered an artists best work when delving into trying to discover if they are any good or not? 'No Other' is a tightly knit yet expansive, rich and textured album of eight songs. It's not 'Smoke On The Water' or 'Paperback Writer'. It's not going to burst out of your speakers all happy like 'Wouldn't It Be Nice'. It's much more akin to a Van Morrison 'Astral Weeks' kind of project, one that works only as a whole and only if you have the desire and patience to let the album into your heart over repeated listens. Initial listens will reveal nothing more than several mid-tempo country chuggers, with a couple of songs perhaps not reasonably exceeding eight minutes in length. You'd be forgiven for wondering what it was all actually for, after all, Clark's lyrics are often legendarily obtuse in their poetic imagery.

    So, 'Life's Greatest Fool' is perhaps the nearest we get to something that could have been released as a single, even though the second track 'Silver Raven' is closer to the overall style and magic of 'No Other'. Acoustic guitar, appropriately soaring vocals, female backing vocals and less of a country chugger and more of a cosmic American magical wonder is born. The title track follows this with weirdly disconnected vocals, a great groove and you wait for fire to erupt yet this is subtler and cleverer than that, naturally. Well, some fine electric guitar appears two and a half minutes in and the lyrics keep you captivated and that groove continues ever onwards and seemingly outwards. Psychedelic keyboard lines, jazz funk, more great electric guitar? Yeah, how's that for an instrumental break? As the album progresses, you'll continually find yourself astonished by the overal sound of the LP, a rich, multi-layered sound with numerous guitars, basses, keyboards, harmonies, keyboards and other assorted merriment. Well, not really merriment, Gene isn't often known for that. Still, what a sound to just envelop yourself in! 'The True One' is a sweet country tune out of place almost between two of the albums epics, but it changes the mood when it needs to be changed. Which leaves? Well, 'Lady Of The North' gives new meaning to the term epic, this is Gene flying high to use a well known Gene Clark cliche and words often fail me, this soaring, majestic finery is almost too good to be released to us mere mortals. At times 'No Other' is too much, at times the pace of the album does get a little trying with almost everything being in and around mid-tempo, yet there's no denying the heart, craft and achieved ambition the album displays.

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    this page last updated 13/02/10

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