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Any Gene Clark fans here?

michaelr 22 Feb 14 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,eldergirl on another computer 22 Feb 14 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 23 Feb 14 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Roger Knowles 23 Feb 14 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Ed 23 Feb 14 - 07:36 AM
michaelr 23 Feb 14 - 10:13 PM
Eldergirl 24 Feb 14 - 07:57 PM
michaelr 24 Feb 14 - 08:31 PM
Janie 25 Feb 14 - 01:51 AM
Murray MacLeod 25 Feb 14 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,JK23 25 Feb 14 - 09:06 AM
michaelr 01 Mar 14 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,henryp 06 Mar 14 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,michaelr 07 Mar 14 - 12:40 AM
GUEST,eldergirl on another computer 07 Mar 14 - 05:41 AM
Lonesome EJ 07 Mar 14 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,Ed 07 Mar 14 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,michaelr 07 Mar 14 - 06:32 PM
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Subject: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: michaelr
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 03:15 PM

Harold Eugene Clark would have been 70 this year. Along with Roger (then Jim) McGuinn, he founded the groundbreaking folk-rock band The Byrds in 1964. Clark was the band's lead singer (and Tambourine Man) and main songwriter. After leaving the Byrds in 1966, he was instrumental in creating country rock, arguably having a greater influence than (and preceding) the more famous Gram Parsons.

Gene went on to lay the groundwork for what became known as "newgrass" with banjo ace Doug Dillard in the group Dillard & Clark. He then released the acclaimed solo albums White Light (1971), Roadmaster (1973), and the psychedelic country rock masterpiece No Other (1974).

Sadly, major success as a songwriter and recording artist eluded Clark, due both to the fact that in all his musical endeavors he was slightly ahead of his time (musicians he inspired, most notably the Eagles, went on to hit huge) and to his propensity for drug and alcohol abuse. There was a dark and melancholy hue to his writing, and his singing voice, pleasant but always on the brink of cracking, conveyed an inner sadness akin to some of the great trad singers.

In 1986, after many years of failed efforts to re-establish himself in the public eye, Gene hit critical gold again with a collaboration with Textones singer Carla Olson, So Rebellious a Lover, which featured some of his best latter-day writing as well as stellar versions of Woody Guthrie's "Deportees" and the traditional "Fair and Tender Ladies" (aka "Silver Dagger").

But commercial success and public acclaim kept eluding him. Clark's health continued to decline as his drinking accelerated. He died of "natural causes" (brought on by bleeding ulcers) on May 24, 1991 at age 46.

During his career and subsequent to his death, Gene Clark's songs have been covered by a number of artists. Ian (now Iain) Matthews was an early promoter of Clark's songs, covering "Polly" on Matthews' 1972 Journeys from Gospel Oak album, and "Tried So Hard" on his 1974 Some Days You Eat The Bear album. In 2007, two of his songs, "Polly Come Home" and "Through the Morning, Through the Night", were recorded by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant on the T-Bone Burnett produced Raising Sand.

Just last year, British filmmaker Paul Kendall released the documentary The Byrd Who Flew Alone, a labor of love that chronicles Gene's trajectory through archive clips and interviews with
his colleagues and contemporaries. Highly recommended!

If there's anyone reading this who has memories of the Byrd who flew alone, of seeing him live or having epiphanies listening to his music, please post here. I'm planning a tribute concert later this year with some of my fellow pickers here in NorCal.

Let Gene Clark not be forgotten!


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,eldergirl on another computer
Date: 22 Feb 14 - 09:16 PM

I have not forgotten him, and never will! (who is this Gram Parsons geezer anyway?) More power to your elbow, Michealr, I'm unlikely to get to your tribute concert but wish you all success with it. Gene's music deserves a wider audience. ( and I'll keep on singing his songs at our local folk clubs! every little helps.)
my other half bought me The Byrd who flew Alone for Christmas, and a few years back he bought me an Australian tribute album by a whole crew of musicians and singers in Melbourne. called, I think, You Can't Hide Your Love Forever. v good with some interesting versions. esp Lisa Miller singing Why Not Your Baby. Gorgeous!
I think there are at least 3 albums' worth of Gene songs without which I would be a lesser person. Some songs just help you to survive the crap days! like Lady of the North, or Past addresses, or She don't care about time, or One in a Hundred..
I saw him twice, when for 15 years I had never expected to see him at all; first in 1977 at the Hammersmith Odeon, looking a bit like Grizzly Adams but sounding just wonderful; and in 1980? 81? dammit, brain fade! Anyway it was at the Venue nr Victoria station, gone now. He just quietly owned the stage. mcguinn & Hillman were fine, but I wasn't focused on them, was I? (sorry guys) I was walking on clouds for at least a week after each concert. couldn't believe my great good fortune that he'd made it back here in spite of the fear-of-flying thing. happy days. hope this thread runs for a while yet. Gene deserves better. not sure why the radio guys only ever play his least interesting and most Average stuff..


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 23 Feb 14 - 03:48 AM

I didn't know his work apart from the Byrds stuff but I had Rebecca and Ken, the American duo Hungrytown, staying with me last autumn and was introduced to both his solo stuff and the Dillard collaborations. Really great albums. Just had 'No Other' on the MP3 player yesterday whilst out walking.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,Roger Knowles
Date: 23 Feb 14 - 04:36 AM

I had a beer in Amsterdam, back in the .70s, with my old pal, Richie Bull, who was backing Clark on a European tour. He (Clark) seemed to be a lively tour companion, from Richie's memories.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 23 Feb 14 - 07:36 AM

Big Gene Clark fan.

Love pretty much everything he did from The Byrds onward.

Think that you did a good biographical summary there, Michael, but you didn't mention his first post Byrds release 'with The Gosdin Brothers' which is a fine and much underrated album.

Elevator Operator is genius.

Haven't seen 'The Byrd Who Flew Alone' yet, but fully intend to.

Here's a good recent radio BBC Radio interview about him.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: michaelr
Date: 23 Feb 14 - 10:13 PM

Agreed, Ed. With the Gosdin Brothers is, like most of Gene's work, much underrated. However, IMO "Elevator Operator" is a bit of tongue-in-cheek songwriting not entirely typical of Clark's style.

He would do one of these occasionally (e.g. "Roadmaster"), but for the most part what is striking about his lyrics is their entirely original poesy. One wonders where Clark, who was not well-educated or, by any accounts, well-read, sourced the inspiration for lines like "She was fire on the borderline/A lion in the fall of roles/Said she saw the sword of sorrow sunken/In the sand of searching souls" or "how could we have been put upon this planet/Fools enough to think that we could be/The first to form a civilized envolvement (sic)/ from the charismatic sea".

In Paul Kendall's documentary, witnesses describe how Gene, when the muse did to him what it is muses do, would go into a trance-like state and be all but unreachable by those in the room with him for long periods of time, until the song was written. Makes you wonder where it came from.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: Eldergirl
Date: 24 Feb 14 - 07:57 PM

Music is a gift.
Poets are born, not made.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 14 - 08:31 PM

Hi eldergirl, that's great you got to see him twice! I only managed one time, in the late 80s when he did a solo acoustic set at a crappy fair hereabouts (Northern California). He didn't look well but sang fine, and was gracious enough to sign my album covers of Roadmaster and So Rebellious a Lover.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: Janie
Date: 25 Feb 14 - 01:51 AM

Can't share anything of value here, Michaelr, other than to say that I came to him very late, and am a fan.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 25 Feb 14 - 06:58 AM

I saw Gene Clark only once, back in the 70's, in the Apollo in Glasgow, on stage along with his record producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye . He was doing the opening set for Roger McGuinn, and the best I could say of his performance that night is that it was embarrassing.

I am well aware that Gene Clark was arguably the most talented member of the Byrds, but that particular set was excruciatingly awful. He had obviously consumed a skinful prior to going on stage, and believe me it showed, both in his singing and his playing, as well as in his stage demeanour.

Roger McGuinn, OTOH, turned in an absolutely stellar performance, helped in no small measure by having a very young Rick Vito playing Telecaster in his small backing band.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,JK23
Date: 25 Feb 14 - 09:06 AM

Byron Berline talks about working with him a bit in his autobiography - citing difficulties with Clark's (as well as Doug Dillard's) consumption tendencies. But Berline acknowledges and is complimentary of their musicianship and originality.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: michaelr
Date: 01 Mar 14 - 01:46 PM

Refresh -- I'm hoping to see a few more personal reminiscences, especially from our American members.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 06 Mar 14 - 10:54 PM

BBC4 TV will broadcast The Byrd Who Flew Alone on

Friday 14 March 2014 at 9.00pm,

repeated after midnight at 12.30am (the next day)

and available on BBC iplayer for seven days.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,michaelr
Date: 07 Mar 14 - 12:40 AM

That's great, Henry, thanks for letting us know. It's a very well-made documentary with lots of interviews of the people who were involved at the time, and a bunch of great music.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,eldergirl on another computer
Date: 07 Mar 14 - 05:41 AM

yaaaay! ten out of ten for the Beeb! even though I own a copy I will watch it on t'telly just to make a point.. and it'll be the 12am as a good guest at our local folk club on Fri. (James Findlay, FYI.)


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Mar 14 - 03:38 PM

I am a big fan of Gene. I didn't keep up with his work after the Byrds until very recently, with the exception of No Other, which is a brilliant album. I am no big proponent of anyone as the Father of Country Rock, or Americana, or whatever you call it. But Gene was at least as involved as Parsons, Hillman, Fogarty and several others who are often mentioned. With a voice that seemed to epitomize melancholy, with songs sadly soothing and heavy with minor chords, Gene's is a legend certain to far outlive his life span.


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 07 Mar 14 - 04:33 PM

A voice that seemed to epitomize melancholy

I think that's a pretty much perfect summation, EJ.

No better example, I think, than here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNX5lGsmAnI


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Subject: RE: Any Gene Clark fans here?
From: GUEST,michaelr
Date: 07 Mar 14 - 06:32 PM

Wow, Ed, thanks for posting that! I thought I knew all of Gene's songs, but that one was new to me.


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