|Studio album by Gene Clark|
|Studio||The Village Recorder, West Los Angeles, California|
|Genre||Folk rock, country rock, roots rock, soul, R&B, gospel|
|Label||Asylum 7E 1016|
|Producer||Thomas Jefferson Kaye|
|Gene Clark chronology|
No Other is the fourth solo studio album by Gene Clark. On release in late 1974 it was a critical success but a commercial failure; the studio time and cost were seen as excessive and indulgent. 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.
Just after Clark's death in 1991, 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. Then in the early 2000s, No Other was reissued a second time in its entirety to positive critical reappraisal.
In late 1972, Clark was invited to join a reunion of the original Byrds line-up on Asylum Records. Although organized and produced by David Crosby, the resulting album evolved into an indavertent 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 longtime Clarke collaborator Jesse Ed Davis and L.A. session player Danny Kortchmar on No Other. Of the song's composition, Clark said in a 1976 interview:
|“||It actually came about from a news story that was about some satellite, or something, they had discovered. They said they couldn't figure out where it came from. It was beyond our solar system. They were getting signals from it that they said were about 100 years ahead of our technology.||”|
Retreating to his coastal home in Mendocino, Clark began to compose songs for his new album for over a year. According to Clark:
|“||The whole album was written when I had a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. I would just sit in the living room, which had a huge bay window, and stare at the ocean for hours at a time. I would have a pen and paper there, and a guitar or piano, and pretty soon a thought would come and I'd write it down or put it on tape. In most instances, after a day of meditation looking at something which is a very natural force, I'd come up with something.||”|
Contrary to rumors that many of the album's songs were conceived under the influence of mescaline and other drugs, 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 bandmate 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, most notably David Carradine and Dennis Hopper.
Entering the studio in April 1974, he was paired with producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye, who subsequently would become Clark's collaborator for the next fifteen years. Earlier in the year, Kaye had accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in cost overruns on Bob Neuwirth's solo debut, which failed to dent the charts. Kaye continued that pattern with No Other. 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 of The Section; Davis; former Blues Image percussionist Joe Lala; Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band; backup vocalists Clydie King, Claudia Lennear, Venetta Fields and Cindy Bullens; and former Byrd Chris Hillman. The plaintive country-folk sounds of White Light and Roadmaster were replaced by intricate vocal harmonies and heavily overdubbed, vertiginous 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 roomed with old friend and bandmate Doug Dillard in the Hollywood Hills; "Lady of the North", 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 that would entail. 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.
No Other was delivered to Asylum Records in the summer of 1974. 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 further 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 at the time, with many writers lambasting Kaye's "bloated" and "pretentious" production style. 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 from the Asylum catalog.
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 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.
Gene Clark No Other Band
In 2014, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally of Beach House put together a band for a four-concert tour where they performed the entire album to bring it to a new audience. The band consisted of fellow Baltimore musicians including members of Lower Dens, Wye Oak, Celebration, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and The Walkmen, along with Iain Matthews of Fairport Convention and Plainsong fame.
|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|
|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
|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|
- Gene Clark - guitar, vocals
- Chris Hillman - mandolin
- Jesse Ed Davis - guitar
- Stephen Bruton - guitar
- Bill Cuomo - organ
- Craig Doerge - keyboards
- Howard "Buzz" Feiten - guitar
- Danny Kortchmar - guitar
- Russ Kunkel - drums
- Joe Lala - percussion
- Ted Machell - cello
- Jerry McGee - guitar
- Lee Sklar - bass
- Butch Trucks - drums
- Michael Utley - keyboards
- Richard Greene, Beryl Marriott - violin
- Sherlie Matthews, Cindy Bullens, Ronnie Barron, Clydie King, Claudia Lennear, Venetta Fields, Timothy B. Schmit, Carlena Williams - background vocals
- Allmusic review
- Lager, Mark (26 March 2011). "Gene Clark No Other". Head Heritage. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Delaney, Kevin. "Gene Clark - No Other". No Depression. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Weiner, Matthew. "Gene Clark - No Other - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- "No Other - Gene Clark". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- Johnny Rogan (1997). The Byrds: timeless flight revisited. Music Sales Distributed. p. 490. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- The rough guide to rock. books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "October 1998 issue of Record Collector". www.geneclark.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- "Gene Clark - Disc of the day - Mojo". www.mojo4music.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
- Michaels, Sean (4 December 2013). "Beach House spearhead project to tour Gene Clark's No Other album". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 November 2015.