No Other

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No Other
Studio album by Gene Clark
Released September 1974
Recorded Spring 1974 at The Village Recorder, West Los Angeles
Genre Psychedelic rock, Folk rock, Country rock, Americana, Gospel
Length 43:01
Label Asylum Records 7E 1016
Producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye
Gene Clark chronology
Roadmaster
(1972)
No Other
(1974)
Two Sides to Every Story
(1977)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Stylus Magazine A[2]
No Depression (magazine) Positive[3]
Head Heritage Positive [4]

No Other is the fourth solo studio album by Gene Clark. On release in late 1974 it was a critical and commercial failure; the studio time and cost being seen as excessive and indulgent.[5] The record label, Asylum Records, did not promote the album, and by 1976 had deleted it from their catalog. Clark never recovered from the failure of the album.[6] Just after Clark's death in 1991,[7] "No Other" was reissued in its entirety on CD. In 1998, a double disc compilation, Flying High, was released with three songs from No Other.[8] Then in the early 2000s, No Other was reissued a second time in its entirety to positive critical reappraisal.[9]

Background[edit]

In late 1972, Clark was invited to join a reunion of the original Byrds line-up on Asylum Records. The resulting album was a showcase for Clark, who sang on two Neil Young covers and two original songs. By the strength of his contributions to the album, Clark was signed to Asylum as a solo artist by David Geffen.

While preparing to record, Clark briefly joined the backing group of former Byrds colleague Roger McGuinn; the two even shared a home together during the period in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. During an engagement at The Troubadour in Los Angeles with McGuinn, he introduced a song that would remain in his repertoire for the rest of his career, "Silver Raven"; it would be recorded in an arrangement featuring Jesse Ed Davis and L.A. session player Danny Kortchmar on No Other. Of the song's composition, Clark said in a 1976 interview:

Production[edit]

Retreating to his coastal home in Mendocino, Clark began to compose songs for his new album, Analyzing the Material, for over a year. According to Clark:

Contrary to rumors that many of the album's songs were conceived under the influence of mescaline and other illicit chemicals, Clark's wife Carlie stated in Mr. Tambourine Man: The Story Of the Byrds' Gene Clark that he was sober throughout the Mendocino years and was disinclined to experiment for the sake of his children. Living up to the "hillbilly Shakespeare" moniker accorded him by later band mate John York, the weighty and ponderous nature of most of his lyrics from the period were drawn from his Christian upbringing and discussions regarding Carlos Castaneda, Theosophy and Zen with his wife and friends like David Carradine and Dennis Hopper.

Entering the studio in April 1974, Clark was paired with producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye, who subsequently would become a dependable collaborator of the singer for the next fifteen years. This was a foreboding sign for the label, as Kaye had accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in cost overruns on Bob Neuwirth's solo debut, which subsequently failed to dent the charts. Most sessions were conducted in Los Angeles and featured the cream of the era's session musicians: Korchmar, keyboardist Craig Doerge, bassist Leland Sklar, and drummer Russ Kunkel, aka 'The Section;' percussionist Joe Lala, Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band, Jesse Ed Davis, backup vocalists Clydie King, Claudia Lennear, & Venetta Fields, Cindy Bullens and former Byrd Hillman. The plaintive country-folk sounds of White Light and Roadmaster were replaced by intricate vocal harmonies and heavily overdubbed, atypical arrangements in Kaye's "answer to Brian Wilson and Phil Spector as a producer". However, there was a pronounced R&B/funk feel to the title track, which has often been attributed to the presence of Sly Stone at some of the sessions. According to John Einarson's Mr. Tambourine Man, all of the assembled musicians were impressed by Clark's perfectionism and genial, humble attitude.

Initially, Carlie Clark and the children temporarily relocated with him to Los Angeles, in the hope that the family routine of Mendocino could be preserved. However, it was not long before Clark reacquainted himself with L.A.'s party circuit and the latest fashionable drug - cocaine. After his disgusted wife moved the family back to Northern California, Clark established house with old friend and band mate Doug Dillard in the Hollywood Hills; "Lady of the North", a song for Carlie and also the album's closer, was written by the twosome in a cocaine haze, their final collaboration on a song.

For years rumors circulated that only half of an intended double album had been recorded, with Geffen balking at the excessive cost and eventually pulling out. This was corroborated by Clark in a 1976 interview. According to Kaye in Mr. Tambourine Man, 13 or 14 songs had been demoed with acoustic guitar at early sessions but only nine were recorded with a full band. "Train Leaves Here This Morning", a rerecording of a song first released on The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark, was omitted from the final album.

Release[edit]

No Other was delivered to Asylum Records in the tumultuous summer of 1974. As recording costs had ballooned to over $100,000, a considerable investment in a performer who had seen his last Top 40 hit in 1966, Geffen was dismayed by the dearth of potential hits and the uncommercial nature of the material.

Released in September 1974, No Other reached a disappointing peak of #144 on the charts without any active promotion from the label. It was also a critical failure; the studio time and cost being seen as excessive and indulgent.[5] Further confounding matters was the album's artwork: the front cover was a collage inspired by 1920s Hollywood glamour, while the back featured a photo of the singer with permed hair and clad in full drag, frolicking at the former estate of John Barrymore. A rare fall tour staged by the singer could not salvage the endeavour, and demos for a new album—reportedly a fusion of country rock with R&B, funk, and early disco stylings—were promptly rejected by Asylum. (By 1976 No Other had been deleted.)

In later years, Clark remained disappointed with the lack of success achieved by No Other, which he deemed to be his masterpiece in several interviews.

In 1991, No Other was finally issued on CD in its entirety. By the late 1990s, perhaps indirectly because of his death, interest in Clark's catalog had grown to the point where three songs from No Other were included on the double disc compilation entitled Flying High. A 2003 European reissue included "Train Leaves Here This Morning" and several alternate, semi-acoustic renditions while a skeletal version lacking the bonus tracks but containing restored packaging and new liner notes appeared in the United States on Collector's Choice Music.

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Life's Greatest Fool"   Gene Clark 4:44
2. "Silver Raven"   Gene Clark 4:53
3. "No Other"   Gene Clark 5:08
4. "Strength of Strings"   Gene Clark 6:31

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "From a Silver Phial"   Gene Clark 3:40
2. "Some Misunderstanding"   Gene Clark 8:09
3. "The True One"   Gene Clark 3:58
4. "Lady of the North"   Gene Clark, Doug Dillard 6:04

2003 bonus tracks[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
9. "Train Leaves Here This Morning"   Gene Clark, Bernie Leadon 4:59
10. "Life's Greatest Fool (alternate)"   Gene Clark 4:16
11. "Silver Raven (alternate)"   Gene Clark 3:06
12. "No Other (alternate)"   Gene Clark 5:35
13. "From a Silver Phial (alternate)"   Gene Clark 3:42
14. "Some Misunderstanding (alternate)"   Gene Clark 5:17
15. "Lady of the North (alternate)"   Gene Clark, Doug Dillard 5:54

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Weiner, Matthew. "Gene Clark - No Other - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Delaney, Kevin. "Gene Clark - No Other". No Depression (magazine). Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Head Heritage review
  5. ^ a b "No Other - Gene Clark". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  6. ^ Johnny Rogan (1997). The Byrds: timeless flight revisited. Music Sales Distributed. p. 490. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  7. ^ The rough guide to rock. books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  8. ^ "October 1998 issue of Record Collector". www.geneclark.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  9. ^ "Gene Clark - Disc of the day - Mojo". www.mojo4music.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18.