Clark, Gene

Band members                         Related acts

  line up 1 (1967)

- Gene Clark (aka Harold Eugene Clark) (RIP 1991) - vocals, guitar

- Mike Clarke - drums 
- Chris Hillman - bass 

- Jerry Kole - guitar

- Bill Rinehart - guitar 

- Leon Russell - keyboards 

- Clarence White - guitar 

  line up (1972)

- Gene Clark (aka Harold Eugene Clark) (RIP 1991) - vocals, guitar

- Jesse Ed Davis - guitar 

- Bobbye Hall - percussion 

- Chris Ethridge - bass 

- Gary Mallaber - drums 

- John Selk - guitar 

- Ben Sidran - keyboards 

- Mike Utley - keyboards 


  line up (1984)

- David Ossie Ahlers -- keyboards 

- Bret Bloomfield -- bass 

- Gene Clark (aka Harold Eugene Clark) (RIP 1991) - vocals, guitar

- Greg Douglas -- lead guitar, slide guitar 

- Chris Hillman - bass 

- Andy Kandanes -- drums, percussion 

- Thomas Jefferson Kaye -- backing vocals 

- Herb Pederson -- vocals 





The Byrds

- Dillard and Clark

- Firebyrd

- Manassas

- McGuinn, Clark and Hillman

- Joe Meyers and the Sharks



Genre: country rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Gene Clark with the Godsin Brothers

Company: Columbia

Catalog: CL-2618

Year: 1967

Country/State: Tipton, Missouri

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: mono pressing; some ringwear; cut out hole punched through top left corner

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 4688

Price: SOLD $50.00

Cost: $6.00


I'll readily admit I didn't buy the line of reasoning that argued the late Gene Clark was the heart of The Byrds.  Now that I've had the opportunity to hear this album, I'm starting to think there's quite a bit of credence to that claim.


Having just started recording sessions for what was to become The Byrds' "Younger Than Yesterday", legend has it that Clark quit after the third day of sessions.  He was instantly signed to a solo recording contract by Columbia (which was coincidently The Byrds' label) and made his debut with 1967's "Gene Clark with the Godsin Brothers".  Working separately with producers Larry Marks and Gary Usher, this album is simply a must own for anyone interested in country-rock.  Musically the set easily rivals The Byrds' first three studio album.  You thought Roger McGuinn held the keys to that magic sound?  Bullsh*t.  It's all here - gorgeous songs, sparkling group harmonies, sly humor; even jangle guitar.  Just check out Clark originals such as the ornate and sophisticated Dylan-influenced title track, 'So You Say You Lost Your Baby' and 'Elevator Operator' (the latter giving The Beatles a run for their money).  Backed by the Godsins and various past, current and future Byrds alumnist, this is simply Clark's creative zenith and a 'must own' LP.  Columbia pulled two singles from the album, but left  them to flounder with minimal promotion or support:


- 1966's 'Echoes' b/w 'I Found You' (Columbia catalog number 4-43903)

- 1967's 'So You Say You Lost Your Baby' b/w 'Is Yours Is Mine' (Columbia catalog number ???)




In a case of poor timing and inept marketing, Columbia also largely ignored the parent album in favor of pushing The Byrds' "Younger Than Today".  (Good luck finding another mono pressing !!!)  


"Gene Clark with the Godsin Brothers" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Echoes   (Gene Clark) - 3:14

2.) Think I'm Gonna Feel Better   (Gene Clark)  - 1:32

3.) Tried So Hard   (Gene Clark)  - 2:20

4.) Is Yours Mine   (Gene Clark)  - 2:26

5.) Keep On Pushin'   (Gene Clark - Bill Rinehart)  - 1:44

6.) I Found You   (Gene Clark)  - 2:58


(side 2)
1.) So You Say You Lost Your Baby   (Gene Clark)  - 2:06

2.) Elevator Operator   (Gene Clark - Bill Rinehart)  - 2:28

3.) The Same One   (Gene Clark)  - 3:27

4.) Couldn't Believe Her   (Gene Clark)  - 1:52

5.) Needing Someone   (Gene Clark)  - 2:02




Genre: country rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  White Light

Company: A&M

Catalog: SP-4292

Year: 1972

Country/State: Tipton, Missouri

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / +VG

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Cost: $6.00


With Manassas on hiatus after an excellent debut album, 1972 saw Gene Clark returning to a solo career with the release of "White Light".  (Interesting piece of needless trivia - due to a printer error you won't actually see the title anywhere on the cover, which explains why many folks refer to title as 'Gene Clark'.)  Produced by guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, musically the set was somewhat of a change in direction; Clark abandoning Manassas-styled rock in favor of a largely acoustic singer/songwriter set.  Interestingly, this is the one Clark LP that seems to divide folks into one of two camps.  Fans (including us) find its very introspective approach only enhances its considerable charm.  In contrast, detractors find it under produced and frequently dull.  As in most cases, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.   Okay, since we're in the former category, here are the reasons to love this LP.  1.) Clark's instantly recognizable voice has seldom sounded as good - if you want to get a quick Byrds flashback, check out the opener "The Virgin".  2.) Clark's "stripped down" approach makes for a wonderful set of bittersweet and reflective music.  This is a perfect Sunday morning album.  3.) Clark originals such as the title track and "With Tomorrow" are arguably better than anything on Neil Young's "Harvest".  A commercial bust, it remains our favorite Clark solo effort; an LP that we play on a regular basis.  (This also gets one of our cool cover awards.)


"White Light" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) The Virgin   (Gene Clark) - 3:35

2.) With Tomorrow   (Gene Clark - Jesse Davis) - 2:25

3.) White Light   (Gene Clark) - 3:38

4.) Because of You   (Gene Clark) - 4:03

5.) One In a Hundred   (Gene Clark) - 3:30


(side 2)
1.) Spanish Guitar   (Gene Clark) - 4:37

2.) Where My Love Lies Asleep   (Gene Clark) - 4:20

3.) Tears of Rage   (Bob Dylan - Richard Manuel) - 4:11

4.) 1975   (Gene Clark) - 4:28



Genre: country rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Firebyrd

Company: Takoma

Catalog: TAK-7112 / ST-72812

Year: 1984

Country/State: Tipton, Missouri

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 5382

Price: $15.00

Cost: $6.00



In the wake of his commercially successful, but critically panned late-1970s pseudo-Byrds reunions with Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark's solo career should have exploded.  Unfortunately, in spite of trying, it simply didn't happen.  After spending a couple of inactive years in Hawaii trying to overcome addiction issues Clark returned to music with the band Flyte.  Apparently envisioned as sort of Byrds survivor super group, the line up included Michael Clarke, Jim Ed Dickson, Chris Hillman, Al Perkins, and Herb Pedersen.  The band managed to play some live dates and record some demos, but rapidly ran out of steam at which time Clark moved on to form Firebyrd.  Showcasing keyboardist David Ossie Ahlers, bassist Bret Bloomfield, guitarist Greg Douglas, and drummer Andy Kandanes the group recorded an album, eventually finding a distribution deal with the small Takoma label.  Though irecorded as a group effort, Takoma decided to release the album as a Clark solo effort.


Produced by Andy Kandanes and Thomas Jefferson Kaye, "Firebyrd" certainly had its moments but wasn't an overwhelming creative blockbuster one would have hoped for.  Sticking with a country-rock feel, Clark sounded more comfortable than he had on the earlier McGuinn-Clark-Hillman efforts.  Clark's decision to cover a pair of classic Byrds tunes was a mixed success. He played on the originals and wrote 'Feel a Whole Lot Better' so had every right to re-record them and while the results weren't bad, the updates did nothing to make you forget the originals.  A cover of Gordon Lightfoot's 'If You Could Read My Mind' was similarly professional, but pedestrian.  Elsewhere the new originals 'Rain Song' and 'Blue Raven' were major returns to form, though the album's stand out tune took the form of the moody ballad 'Vanessa' - shame Douglas' great slide guitar solo was cut off so soon.  Hard to say this was one of Clark better solo ventures, though the album tends to grow on you the more you play it.  Unfortunately as seemed to be the case throughout his career, the album generated strong reviews among critics, but small label Takoma simply couldn't handle national distribution.  


- Revisiting a classic Byrds tune (yes, I know Dylan wrote it), was a questionable proposition, but the decision to slow down 'Tambourine Man' to what was almost a dirge wasn't the smartest thing Clark could have done.  While the revamped arrangement didn't stray too far from the original, the slow pace simply sapped away most of the original's energy.  'Course you could always focus your attention on the lyrics (provided you could stay awake).   rating: ** stars

- 'Something About You Baby' served to showcase Clark's knack for penning catchy melodies.  Yeah, his vocal was a bit ragged, but with a keyboard-propelled killer hook and some nice group harmonies this one would have sounded great on mid-1980s college radio.   rating: **** stars

- Opening with some tasty Greg Douglas slide guitar 'Rodeo Rider' may have been a touch too country for some folks, but I'll readily admit that I've grown to love the tune.  Employing a deeper than normal singing voice, Clark seldom sounded as good.  If you liked early Eagles this one should strike a chord with you.   rating: **** stars 

- Easily side one's standout performance, 'Rain Song' found Clark returning to prime form.  A dark, haunting ballad, the song was built on a wonderful mix of jangle rock, sterling harmony vocals, and one of Clark's starkest lead vocals.   Wonderful tune ...   rating: ***** stars

- It wasn't a Clark original, but the dark, moody, and bluesy 'Vanessa' was nevertheless one of the album's highlights.  Another showcase for Clark's instantly recognizable voice and I've always loved the fuzz guitar solo and the falsetto backing vocals.   rating: **** stars

- Clark's cover of Gordon Lightfoot's 'If You Could Read My Mind' was okay, but nothing here was going to make you forget the original.   rating: ** stars

- He wrote it so there wasn't anything to stop him from re-recording it ...  Unfortunately this updated version of 'Feel a Whole Lot Better' didn't even come close to the Byrds' original version.   Bland and forgettable country-rock ...   one of the album's biggest disappointments.   rating: ** stars

- 'Made for Love; was easily the album's most Byrds-styled folk-rocker ...  Another album highlight with a greta lead vocal and some fantastic backing vocals.   rating: **** stars

- Another radio friendly slice of jangle rock, 'Blue Raven' started out sounding like a Rick Roberts and Firefall outtake (blame the comparison on the prominent flute), but 'ended the album on a commercial highlight.   Shame if faded out so early ...  rating: **** stars


Sadly this served as Clark's final solo studio album.  Only 46, he died in 1991 of complications related to a bleeding ulcer, which was reportedly brought on by excessive drinking.


"Firebyrd" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Tambourine Man   (Bob Dylan) - 5:22

2.) Something About You Baby   (Gene Clark - Andy Kandanes) - 2:48

3.) Rodeo Rider   (Gene Clark - Andy Kandanes) - 3:56

4.) Rain Song   (Gene Clark - Andy Kandanes) - 2:56


(side 2)
1.) Vanessa   (A. Taylor - T.S  Kayne) - 3:03

2.) If You Could Read My Mind   (Gordon Lightfoot) - 3:48

3.) Feel a Whole Lot Better   (Gene Clark) - 2:42

4.) Made for Love   (Gene Clark) - 3:15

5.) Blue Raven   (Gene Clark) - 3:14


For anyone interested, YouTube has a clip of a solo and somewhat guant Clark playing "Feel a Whole Lot Better"


In 1995 the British Edsel label released "This Byrd Had Flown" (Edsel catalog number EDCD 436).  Essentially an expanded version of "Firebyrd" the compilation resequenced the original collection, adding three new tracks ('C'est la Bonne Rue', 'Dixie Flyer' and 'All I Want') and included interesting liner notes from producer/keyboardist Andy Kandanes. 



I've never had the time to track them down, but there appear to be at least five versions of the "Firebyrd" album.  Anyone know the story behind them?: