Album #321 – No Other
No Other is the sixth studio album by Gene Clark, best known as a member of folk-rock kings, The Byrds. While listening to this album, I could hear traces of The Eagles throughout. It seemed like No Other was a lost Eagles album in which Clark acted as the lead singer and the other members (Henley, Frey et al.) backed him up. It did not hurt that future Eagles member, Timothy B. Schmidt, sang back up vocals. Also to note, fellow Byrds member Chris Hillman plays mandolin. Jesse Ed Davis plays lead guitar on many of the tracks and members of The Section (aka Drummer Russ Kunkel, Keyboardist Craig Doerge, Guitarist Danny Kortchmar and bassists Leeland Sklar) back up Clark. The Section are most known for their contributions to albums by Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King and James Taylor. And Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band also plays drums on No Other. But despite all these well known musicians, there is another, somewhat experimental side to this album. Clark supposedly experimented with funk music on this album, as legend has it that Sly Stone sat in on some of the sessions. It’s sad to think that this album did not sell well. It did abysmally on the Billboard Album Chart and Geffen Records did not believe in this album’s potential. In fact, No Other was not released on CD until about 10 years ago. But, I found half of the songs on No Other to be very accessible. The album’s opening track, Life’s Greatest Fool, instantly reminded me of Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers. It’s a shame this album did not take off but, it allowed Gene Clark to be more creative and authentic with his music. This was not always the case when he was a member of The Byrds. Clark died in 1990 but, he leaves behind a unique mixture of country rock and psychedelic sounds. Clark should definitely be included in the country-rock pioneer category along side The Eagles and Gram Parsons. No Other will definitely go into my collection. Other highlights include: Strength of Strings, From A Silver Phial (should have been a single), Some Misunderstanding, The True One and Lady of the North. Overall, I give No Other 4 out of 5 stars.
Next: Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan