A YEAR IN MUSIC: GENE CLARK – No Other (1974)

A YEAR IN MUSIC: 1974
Review by: Charly Saenz

To me, “No Other” is one of the top 10 albums of all time. I cannot exaggerate its influence in my life. It’s the album that some years ago brought me back to the emotion of music. 

Gene Clark, one of the creative forces in the original Byrds, was always a low profile man, the classic artist that never “gets there”. This album has a dramatic story of its own, a complicated and long production, economic losses, the usual. But the outcome is.. fantastic. Cosmic. Would it have succeeded, a Psychedelic Soul concept album was the next step. Go figure.

Meanwhile, here we have the most beautiful and deceitful “country rock” album ever; because calling it country rock is like trying to define The Beatles as “a pop group”. The music here is all over the place as defined by the title track – almost a prog rock number, with psychedelic tones, soul, blues and more. “Life’s greatest fool” (the opening number in non-US releases) is country .. with a big soul chorus ensemble in the background. But if you want to be up there with the angels, look no further than “Strength Of Strings”, every little detail, the piano track, the floydish girls chorus (Gorgeous, more than just complementing, they truly stand out), Gene’s voice, sweet and totally vulnerable… 

And If you’re still not convinced.. The acoustic intro of “Silver Raven” sends electricity down my spine to you know where. Or “From A Silver Phial” and its gentle caress, its pretty wah wah solo.. And yet, my favourite “Some misunderstanding”. The song I introduced to my nephew at 15, and he’s a prog rocker ever since. His world shaken totally. A direct child of those great hymns like “I Shall Be Released”. We should be singing this to praise the departed. Why not!? 

Forget Gram Parsons and his Grievous Angel (same year to add more disgrace). That’s just a great album. This is an epic forgotten masterpiece. Only Forever Changes comes close to my heart in terms of resonance. Cherish it. Do never let it go.
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Author: tomymostalas

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