Thursday, November 17, 2016

Happy Birthday To The Late, Great Gene Clark, Co-Founder Of The Byrds!!!

                                                                             Gene Clark with Bob Dylan, 1965

The late, great Gene Clark would be 72 today. He co-founded The Byrds (singing on their #1 hits "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn Turn Turn") and wrote their classics "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" and "Eight Miles High". After The Byrds, he did a bunch of awesome stuff, working with people like The Godsin Brothers, Douglas Dillard, Jesse Ed Davis, and Tom Kaye. Of particular note are White Light and No Other. Sadly, his post-Byrds material, while gaining a cult following (especially among musicians), has yet to capture the public's ear. I feel that one well-placed Gene Clark song in a film or TV show could change all that.

Sierra Records is releasing a highly anticipated Gene Clark rarities collection today.

Some info about the release from Sierra:


1964 Sessions 
The Way I Am/I'd Feel Better/That Girl/A Worried Heart/If There's No Love 

These Jim Dickson-produced tracks reveal a sensitive acoustic balladeer honing his songwriting craft. Already apparent are the unexpected chord changes, soaring tenor and preoccupation with heartache that would characterize his later, more well-known work, both with The Byrds and as a solo artist. 

Back Street Mirror/Don't Let It Fall Through 

On the verge of being dropped by Columbia following disappointing performance of his debut album, Gene Clark With The Gosdin Brothers, Gene hooked up with South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela to record several songs in the spring of 1967. "Back Street Mirror," released later that fall by actor David Hemmings (produced by Dickson as well) on his Happens LP (using the same backing track), recalls the rich baroque stylings of "Echoes"; while the spirited "Don't Let It Fall Through" shows Gene was no slouch singing swinging, R&B-based rock. 

Back To The Earth Again/The Lighthouse/The Awakening Within/Sweet Adrienne/Walking Through This Lifetime/The Sparrow/Only Yesterday's Gone 
Virtually an album within an album, these seven tracks constitute a convincing, cohesive testament to Clark's extraordinary growth as a writer, especially when juxtaposed with the 1964 material. Temporarily eschewing the pressures of life in LA for the pastoral peace of his Northern California retreat, Gene's music reflected uncommon maturity, grace and scope, with songs that embraced philosophy, ecology and spirituality. 

She Darked The Sun 
Recorded in spring of 1970 before Gram Parsons' firing, Gene revives a song that first appeared on the first Dillard and Clark album (also covered by Linda Ronstadt). This uptempo interpretation shows how effortlessly Gene could have slipped into another band situation had he chosen to do so. One can't help but think that this version, paired with Gene's other Burritos-backed song, "Here Tonight," would have made a great double-A-side 45!

Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms/She Don't Care About Time/Don't This Road Look Rough and Rocky/Bars Have Made a Prisoner Out Of Me 
Similar to the situation with "Back Street Mirror," two of these tracks eventually saw release on Terry Melcher's self-titled album from 1974; Gene's vocals having been wiped and replaced by Melcher's. Thankfully, Chris Hinshaw had the good sense and vision to record these featuring Gene's original vocals. Jim Dickson always maintained that "these were the best Gene ever sounded!" One would be hard pressed to argue. 

1982 NYTEFLYTE - Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Al Perkins, Michael Clarke 
One Hundred Years From Now/ (The) Letter/ Still Feeling Blue/No Memories Hangin' Round/I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better 
The July 1982 "Nyteflyte" sessions were an effort by the team of Tickner & Dickson to re-energize country-rock in Nashville. Alas, they were too early; so-called "New Country" had not yet hit Nashville tune masters. Nyteflyte's music, featuring Gene as lead singer, may not have caught on with the 16th Avenue Music Row crowd, but we may now enjoy these exciting, previously unreleased recordings. Sadly, this would be the final occasion in which ex-Byrds Clark, Hillman and Clarke would record together.


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