Saturday, April 04, 2009



Another unjustly forgotten set from a most under-appreciated artist. Gene Clark left a void that wasn't easily filled upon his departure from The Byrds as his song writing and vocal contributions were key ingredients to their early success. Clark quickly turned his hand to crafting his first solo release. "Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers" could easily slide into a "top ten best albums you've never heard" list.

Teaming with Vern and Rex Gosdin, he also assembled Doug Dillard, Clarence White, Glen Campbell and had former bandmates Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke anchor the rhythm section. Leon Russell provided string arrangements to round out this stellar cast. Strong songs and Clark's excellent voice should have assured that this gem grabbed a wide audience.

Instead, it got lost amongst the multi-colored parade of 1967 psychedelia. He was a step or two ahead of the times.

"Tried So Hard" is graced by fantastic picking by the late Clarence White. "I Found You" is also included in this audio-only post.

Managing to outdo even his former group with this one, the odd twist is that his record came out at roughly the same time as The Byrds own "Younger Than Yesterday". You can guess which one received more attention.

There is a certain quality in his voice that suggests he had seen some rough times. Certainly, it's not stated directly as these songs are not the "I'm at the bottom of a whisky bottle in a honky tonk" type fare. Country rock/pop/folk is definitely the best descriptor of this excellent collection.

"So You Say You Lost Your Baby". Leon Russell's string arrangement is superb.

Make sure you find the original vinyl copy of this or the 2007 re-release on CD because, in the interim, some horrible decisions were made to tamper with the recording. In one instance, all of the backing tracks were redone, leaving just the original vocals, to give it a "softer" sound. It has also been retitled and put out as "Echoes" with different songs inserted. This is what happens when an artist loses control of their recorded legacy and some genius executive with no musical talent decides to "draw a moustache on the Mona Lisa".

Since his death in 1991, there has been precious little offered in the way of collecting his best work and presenting it to the public. It's a shame as he was a talented writer.

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