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No Other and Two Sides to Every Story: 1974-1977

Gene Clark Discography

Gene Clark Bibliography

To read about Clark's solo career from 1970 to 1973, see Gene Clark, White Light & Roadmaster: 1970-1973.

No Other

After the Byrds reunion album, Clark (like Hillman) remained with Asylum Records. Clark devoted several months to songwriting, then went into the studio with producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye and a platoon of session people and backing vocalists. The core band consisted of impeccable session players: keyboardist Mike Utley, a vet of the Miami R&B house band the Dixie Flyers who played a key role in the album's arrangements; guitarist Jerry McGee (also a Dixie Flyer); bassist Leland Sklar; and drummer Russ Kunkel. Others on hand included Chris Hillman, Jesse Ed Davis, Joe Lala, Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, fiddler Richard Greene, and singer Timothy B. Schmit.
After months of recording and almost a hundred thousand dollars, Kaye and Clark had an album of eight Clark ballads, produced in an ornate style that calls to mind Clark's earlier collaborations with Leon Russell and Curt Boettcher. There are traces of country picking, gospel choirs, CSN-style harmonies, layers of keyboards, string sections, and various other baroque touches, but the production stays just the right side of overbearing. Indeed, the treatments suit the abstract subject matter of these eight Clark ballads perfectly. The quality of the songs was generally very high, with "Silver Raven," "Strength of Strings," "Lady from the North" and "From a Silver Phial" being highlights. Indeed, many Clark fans regard No Other as his greatest work.
Unfortunately, Asylum honcho David Geffen did not share this view. The label was unwilling to spring for a double album, although Clark had another five songs intended for No Other. (Reports vary over whether these songs were actually recorded.) After its release in September of '74, the label didn't promote it, and once again only hardcore Clark fans heard the album -- despite the usual round of critical praise.

Gene Clark and the Silverados

Clark put together a backing band called the Silverados to play out in support of the new album. Guitarist Roger White, bassist Duke Bardwell, pianist John Guthridge and drummer Mark Singer backed Clark on series of college and club gigs during late '74 and early '75.
In the meantime, Clark recorded half a dozen demos for his next album. The Asylum brass were unimpressed -- so much so that they released Clark from his contract. After a few more months of gigging with the Silverados, Clark and Kaye decided to record the next album with their own money and shop it to labels when it was done. Sessions began in early '76 with the Silverados, but Clark and producer Kaye quickly decided that they needed more experienced hands in the studio.

Two Sides to Every Story

Clark and Kaye rounded up another set of high-powered session players, including Dixie Flers Mike Utley and Jerry McGee from the No Other team. They brought their bandmate, drummer Sammy Creason. Jim Fielder, formerly of the early Mothers of Invention and the latter-day Buffalo Springfield, played bass, while Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, an alumnus of Steely Dan and a member of the Doobie Brothers at the time, played guitar. Three old friends also contributed: banjo player Doug Dillard, fiddler Byron Berline, and steelie Al Perkins. Emmylou Harris added backing vocals to two tracks as well.
Most of the tracks this team recorded dated from Clark's rejected Asylum demos, and they represented a sort of journey through Gene Clark's past. "Marylou" and "Kansas City Southern" (remade from the second Dillard & Clark LP) hearken back to the '50s rock that Clark grew up on; country ballads "Lonely Saturday" and "Hear the Wind" and bluegrass numbers "Home Run King" and "In the Pines" recall Dillard and Clark; acoustic ballads "Past Addresses" and "Silent Crusade" sound like White Light outtakes; and orchestrated ballads "Give My Love to Marie" and "Sister Moon" wouldn't have been out of place on No Other.
While the career sampler concept was sound, the execution was not up to the high standards of his previous releases. A deliberately commercial approach on many tracks indicated a bid for chart success. The basic problem, though, was weak material. The rockers are tedious. Several of the other numbers are uninspired and, in the case of some of the ballads, overlong. That said, there are some appealling songs, including "Give My Love to Marie," "Lonely Saturday" and "Hear the Wind." Still, for the first time in his career, Clark had recorded an album that could be called mediocre.
Clark's tracks eventually won him a deal with RSO Records. Though the tracks were finished by the fall of '76, the label held off on the release of Two Sides to Every Story (RSO, 1977) until the next February in order to avoid conflicting with fall releases by labelmates Eric Clapton and the Bee Gees. The attempts to attract commercial favor ultimately failed, and this time critics were less kind than in the past.

Gene Clark & the K.C. Southern Band

While waiting for the release of the LP, Clark formed a band with some old friends, guitarist Billy Shea, bassist Peter Oliva, drummer Andy Kandanes, a pianist and a conga player. The group was dubbed the Mendocino Rhythm Section, and they reworked many of Clark's compositions with a Latin, almost disco treatment. In short order, Kaye joined up, the congas and piano player were out, and the band eschewed Latin rhythms. They rechristened themselves the K.C. Southern Band. ("KC" for "Kaye-Clark" as well as "Kansas City.") After the release of the album, this group was signed to a package tour of Europe along with Chris Hillman's band and Roger McGuinn's Thunderbyrd. Two shows from this short-lived tour were recorded for the BBC, and were recently released as Three Byrds Land in London (Windsong, 1997). Though the tour fell apart, within a few months of their return to the States, Clark had disbanded the K.C. Southern Band and was touring as an acoustic duo with Roger McGuinn.

For the tale of Clark's ill-fated reunion with his fellow Byrds, see McGuinn, Clark & Hillman. Or skip forward to the resumption of Clark's solo career in Gene Clark, 1980 - 1991.

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Band Members | Gene Clark | 1974-1977

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This page was last revised on August 19, 1997.