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Rock - Released November 8, 2019 | 4AD

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Though wildly misunderstood when first released (like most art that’s ahead of its time), Gene Clark's third solo album—his most focused and intricately-produced shot at musical immortality—is now revered as something of a lost masterpiece. Expectations were high for the former Byrd, who had signed a solo deal after he’d been the bright spot in the band’s abortive 1973 reunion. Clark seemed poised to write and record a blockbuster that could power his solo career; the studio was filled with choice players like Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, percussionist Joe Lala, ex-Byrd Chris Hillman on mandolin, Steve Bruton, Jesse Ed Davis, Danny Kortchmar on guitars and Claudia Lennear on vocals. Instead, No Other busted its recording budget, disappointed its label and perplexed fans—an expensive commercial flop that hung over Clark’s career until his death at 46 in 1991. Remastered with a brighter, more multidimensional sound for its 45th anniversary reissue, the original eight tracks are supplemented by twenty extra takes from sessions that show the songs’ evolutions, including a slow, loopy version of Clark's earlier hit, "Train Leaves Here This Morning," co-written by Bernie Leadon and later recorded by The Eagles. Producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye (aka Tommy Kontos) grew close to Clark during the sessions and came to share his vision for the project. Their collaboration proved to be the doubled-edged sword at the heart of No Other, one that fashioned a mystical, multi-layered, intricately-arranged singer/songwriter album with forward looking psychedelic and R&B touches. The strongest tracks, the menacing synth-backed folk of "The Silver Raven" (written about his wife's shoes), the fragile melody of the seemingly anti-drug themed "From A Silver Phial" (which speaks of "a mind that sleeps inside tomorrow,") and the glorious title track, with its sinuous changes and low keyboard line doubling the vocal choruses, are among the best of Clark's short career. And his singing throughout is extremely moving. He clearly believed in this project. And yet the overdubbed production confounded many. Slow ballads and mid-tempo songs predominate, and as Chris Hillman points out in the liner notes, Clark refused to tour, do interviews or participate in any promotional efforts, essentially dooming an ambitious project to failure. Original label Asylum refused to employ any marketing muscle and the album was deleted from the label's catalog within two years. Genius or a colossal miscalculation? This confounding prism continues to turn. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Gene Clark's 1971 platter, with its stark black cover featuring his silhouette illuminated by the sun, was dubbed White Light -- though the words never appear on the cover -- and if ever a title fit a record, it's this one. Over its nine original tracks, it has established itself as one of the greatest singer/songwriter albums ever made. After leaving the Byrds in 1966, recording with the Gosdin Brothers, and breaking up the Dillard & Clark group that was a pioneering country-rock outfit, Clark took time to hone his songwriting to its barest essentials. The focus on these tracks is intense, they are taut and reflect his growing obsession with country music. Produced by the late guitarist Jesse Ed Davis (who also worked with Taj Mahal, Leon Russell, Link Wray, and poet John Trudell, among others), Clark took his songs to his new label with confidence and they supported him. The band is comprised of Flying Burrito Brothers' bassist Chris Ethridge, the then-Steve Miller Band-pianist (and future jazz great) Ben Sidran, organist Michael Utley, and drummer Gary Mallaber. Clark's writing, as evidenced on "The Virgin," the title cut, "For a Spanish Guitar," "One in a Hundred," and "With Tomorrow," reveals a stark kind of simplicity in his lines. Using melodies mutated out of country, and revealing that he was the original poet and architect of the Byrds' sound on White Light, Clark created a wide open set of tracks that are at once full of space, a rugged gentility, and are harrowingly intimate in places. His reading of Bob Dylan's "Tears of Rage," towards the end of the record rivals, if not eclipses, the Band's. Less wrecked and ravaged, Clark's song is more a bewildered tome of resignation to a present and future in the abyss. Now this is classic rock. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 1, 1974 | 4AD

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Rock - Released November 8, 2019 | 4AD

Though wildly misunderstood when first released (like most art that’s ahead of its time), Gene Clark's third solo album—his most focused and intricately-produced shot at musical immortality—is now revered as something of a lost masterpiece. Expectations were high for the former Byrd, who had signed a solo deal after he’d been the bright spot in the band’s abortive 1973 reunion. Clark seemed poised to write and record a blockbuster that could power his solo career; the studio was filled with choice players like Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, percussionist Joe Lala, ex-Byrd Chris Hillman on mandolin, Steve Bruton, Jesse Ed Davis, Danny Kortchmar on guitars and Claudia Lennear on vocals. Instead, No Other busted its recording budget, disappointed its label and perplexed fans—an expensive commercial flop that hung over Clark’s career until his death at 46 in 1991. Remastered with a brighter, more multidimensional sound for its 45th anniversary reissue, the original eight tracks are supplemented by twenty extra takes from sessions that show the songs’ evolutions, including a slow, loopy version of Clark's earlier hit, "Train Leaves Here This Morning," co-written by Bernie Leadon and later recorded by The Eagles. Producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye (aka Tommy Kontos) grew close to Clark during the sessions and came to share his vision for the project. Their collaboration proved to be the doubled-edged sword at the heart of No Other, one that fashioned a mystical, multi-layered, intricately-arranged singer/songwriter album with forward looking psychedelic and R&B touches. The strongest tracks, the menacing synth-backed folk of "The Silver Raven" (written about his wife's shoes), the fragile melody of the seemingly anti-drug themed "From A Silver Phial" (which speaks of "a mind that sleeps inside tomorrow,") and the glorious title track, with its sinuous changes and low keyboard line doubling the vocal choruses, are among the best of Clark's short career. And his singing throughout is extremely moving. He clearly believed in this project. And yet the overdubbed production confounded many. Slow ballads and mid-tempo songs predominate, and as Chris Hillman points out in the liner notes, Clark refused to tour, do interviews or participate in any promotional efforts, essentially dooming an ambitious project to failure. Original label Asylum refused to employ any marketing muscle and the album was deleted from the label's catalog within two years. Genius or a colossal miscalculation? This confounding prism continues to turn. © Robert Baird / Qobuz
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Country - Released January 1, 1973 | A&M

Gene Clark, record business equals bad news. Case in point, this album. Or masterpiece, you could say. After two brilliant Dillard & Clark albums, A&M signed Clark to a solo deal. Okay, fair enough -- so far. In 1972, he delivered perhaps the finest album of his career, Gene Clark, (also known as White Light). Excellent reviews in all the top magazines, including Rolling Stone. Guess what? Almost zero sales. Now, here's the follow up, almost -- if not more -- brilliant. Released only in Holland. Aside from containing some of Clark's finest tracks like "In a Misty Morning" and "Full Circle Song," this record contains two gems recorded with the willing participation of the other original Byrds. "One in a Hundred" and "She's the Kind of Girl" are so good that they would have easily stood out on The Byrds box set, had McGuinn elected to include them. Oh well, the music is still here -- an example of an artist who couldn't quite get in on with commerce. What a disaster. The man should be mentioned in the same breath as Neil Young. Roadmaster is one of the many reasons why. © Matthew Greenwald /TiVo
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Folk - Released September 10, 1991 | Legacy - Columbia

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Rock - Released January 1, 2020 | A&M

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Country - Released November 2, 2018 | Sunset Blvd. Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1977 | Polydor

Gene Clark's 1974 album No Other has come to be seen as a masterpiece in the decades after its release, but that was hardly the consensus at the time, and the album's considerable production cost and negligible sales quickly made Clark persona non grata in the music business. It would be three years before Clark made another album, and Two Sides to Every Story was a very different affair; Clark and producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye (who was also behind the console for No Other) cut the album on their own dime without a record deal in place, and they opted for a simpler, more direct musical approach, with a handful of session pros going through their paces as Clark and Kaye aimed for an organic sound. Two Sides was made at a time when drink and drugs were starting to take their toll on Clark, and the material is uneven, especially when Clark and the band try to rock out (Clark's half-hearted stumble through Ronnie Hawkins' "Marylou" is easily the album's low point) and on a curiously upbeat run through the classic murder ballad "In the Pines." But Clark's muse invariably guided him well even under awkward circumstances, and Two Sides has a number of superb moments, including the heartfelt coal miner's tale "Give My Love to Marie," the literate heartache of "Past Addresses," and the nautical philosophizing of "Silent Crusade." While one can hear moments of wear in Clark's vocals, his instrument is usually strong and so is his spirit, with his phrasing smart and effective, while the musicians (including Doug Dillard, Byron Berline, John Hartford, Al Perkins, and Jeff Baxter, with Emmylou Harris adding harmonies) deliver the goods for the legendary Byrds vocalist. RSO Records eventually signed on to release Two Sides to Every Story, but in typical fashion they had no idea how to promote it and it soon fell out of print (don't feel bad for them -- RSO released the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack a few months later); it turned out to be Clark's last solo album for a major label, but if this is well short of a masterpiece, it's still clearly the work of a masterful singer and songwriter, and the best moments here are honestly magical. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2002 | A&M

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Rock - Released November 5, 1984 | BCD - 3RDP

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Rock - Released June 15, 2018 | Omnivore Recordings

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Rock - Released March 26, 2013 | A&M

White Light is perhaps the greatest of Gene Clark's solo albums, arriving just after the former Byrds guitarist/singer severed his alliance with Doug Dillard. White Light was released in 1971 and while it was trippier, dreamier than anything Clark produced before, it paled in comparison to the wild, intricate psychedelia that came later, particularly on 1974's coke-blown No Other. Compared to that, White Light feels minimalist but Here Tonight: The White Light Demos, a collection released by Omnivore in 2013, is even sparer, capturing Clark alone with his acoustic guitar, working out the songs that would wind up on the finished album, along with tunes that would surface later: two songs ("Opening Day," "Winter") wouldn't show up on the 2002 reissue of the LP; three ("For No One," "Please Mr. Freud," "Jimmy Christ") have never been released; another ("Here Tonight") wound up on the Flying Burrito Brothers collection Close Up the Honky-Tonks. This Spartan setting accentuates the broken heart at the center of the songs, underlining the melancholic undercurrent that flows beneath White Light, and it's certainly possible that some listeners may prefer the melancholic immediacy of these unadorned recordings. Often, the richer production is a benefit -- certainly it adds to the dreaminess of White Light -- but, stripped to the basics of guitar and voice, these songs retain their spooky, otherworldly quality and, arguably, are even eerier in this early incarnation. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 1984 | Fantasy

Gene Clark's post-Byrds solo career was as fraught with false starts and unmet promises as his two years with the Byrds were filled with fame, fulfillment, and recognition. Firebyrd was an artistic triumph and a commercial disaster -- released to rave reviews and an enthusiastic response as one of the finest solo projects ever to come from an ex-Byrd, it was killed by poor distribution (demand in Europe, especially Germany and Italy, where fan interest in Clark and the Byrds was very high, resulted in high premiums being paid for used copies). "Rain Song," "Rodeo Rider," and "Something About You" were some of Clark's best songs in years, and his covers of two old Byrds numbers, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Feel a Whole Lot Better," are perfectly credible reinterpretations, and he even does justice to Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind." Not a "lost Byrds album" by any means, but a must-own for any serious Byrds fan. [In 1995, an expanded version of Firebyrd was released in Great Britain with the title This Byrd Has Flown.] © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Folk - Released June 6, 2019 | Concert World Music

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Country - Released April 13, 2020 | FNM

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Folk - Released June 1, 2020 | Lockdown Music

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Country - Released April 20, 2020 | FNM

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Rock - Released October 1, 2012 | Firefly Entertainment

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Rock - Released December 31, 2019 | Sunset Blvd. Records