Gene Clark (1944-1991) was one of the founding members of the legendary The Byrds, and this is what he is known for among the majority. This is too bad…In 1974 he made a solo album “No Other”. It was released on David Geffen’s Asylum Records. Apparently, after spending more than 100 000 $ to record the album (with an all-star cast of musicians, singers, and Thomas Jeffereson Kaye at the helm producing), the album was named “uncommercial” , it was considered the “Heavens Gate” of records.
In my humble opinion, this is the most successful fusion of country, soul, gospel and psychedelia that has ever been presented. In addition to being a work of art on its own, it is a meta-album and a post-modern masterpiece. It is a comment of the past seen through the eyes of the present. Fortunately, without the ironic undercurrent that spoils so many attempts at these kind of albums.
This album is a masterpiece, it has elements of Brian and Dennis Wilson, Sly Stone funk, Neil Young, classic country-rock from his time with the Byrds, and straight up 1970s renegade country. It merges beautifully to create a roller coaster ride of a record.
Many have claimed that the lyrics are weak, I don’t think so. Dreamy, yes, transparent and hovering, yes, that to, but the spiritual considerations and dream explanations fit the cosmic music. Now it sounds like this is a pretentious album (which many critics also pointed out when it was released), I do not perceive it that way. This just adds to the music’s meaning. The lyrics are not poems that should stand without music, but a verbal explanation and symbiosis of / with the music of Gene Clark. Ok, I agree, it does sound pretentious when I try to explain it, but the music is not pretentious at all.
“…Clark saw the lights at a young age, feeling the rush of fame as well as its pressures. In the end, he also refused to tour to support No Other, and it was barely promoted. His career never fully recovered. “No Other I really consider is a great album, myself,” Clark said in 1977. “I’m very proud of it. But I was very disappointed and let down after its release.”
Clark was right. He created one of the most fascinating and powerful records of its time.”