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THE DILLARD & CLARK EXPEDITION


Gene Clark Discography

Michael Clarke Discography


Gene Clark Bibliography

Michael Clarke Bibliography


DILLARD & CLARK SCORECARD:

Dillard & Clark v. 1.0
Gene Clark: Guitar, harmonica, vocals
Doug Dillard: Banjo, guitar, violin, vocals
Bernie Leadon: Banjo, guitar, vocals
David Jackson: String bass
Don Beck: Dobro & mandolin

The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark
A&M 4159
October 1968
US -- / UK --

"Out on the Side" / "Train Leaves Here This Morning" (US)
A&M
November 1968
US --


Courtesy A&M Records.

The Dillard & Clark Expedition v. 1.1
Gene Clark: Guitar, harmonica, vocals
Doug Dillard: Banjo, guitar, violin, vocals
Bernie Leadon: Banjo, guitar, vocals
David Jackson: String bass
Michael Clarke: Drums

"Lyin' Down the Middle" / "Don't Be Cruel" (US)
A&M
February 1969
US --

The Dillard & Clark Expedition v. 1.2
Gene Clark: Guitar, harmonica, vocals
Doug Dillard: Banjo, guitar, violin, vocals
Donna Washburn: Guitar, tambourine, vocals Bernie Leadon: Banjo, guitar
David Jackson: String bass
Jon Corneal: Drums

"Why Not Your Baby" / "The Radio Song"
A&M
May 1969
US --

The Dillard & Clark Expedition v. 2.0
Gene Clark: Guitar, harmonica, vocals
Doug Dillard: Banjo, guitar, fiddle, vocals
Donna Washburn: Guitar, tambourine, vocals David Jackson: Bass, piano, cello, vocals
Byron Berline: Fiddle
Jon Corneal: Drums

Through the Morning, Through the Night
A&M 4203
September 1969
US -- / UK --

"Rocky Top" / "No Longer A Sweetheart of Mine"
A&M
November 1969
US -- / UK --

Kansas City Southern
Ariola 86436 (Dutch)
1975

The Doug Dillard Expedition v. 3.0
Doug Dillard: Banjo, guitar, fiddle, vocals
Billy Ray Lathum: Banjo, vocals
Roger Bush: Bass
Byron Berline: Fiddle



Courtesy A&M Records.


Round robin exchanges:
Dillard & Clark and the Flying Burrito Brothers both grew out of the Byrds, both recorded for A&M, and both combined rock with country. Not surprisingly, the traffic between the two bands was heavy.
No fewer than six musicians played in both groups at some point, namely drummers Jon Corneal and Michael Clarke (who traded places), guitarist and vocalist Bernie Leadon, fiddler Byron Berline, bassist Roger Bush, and steelie Don Beck.
Guest appearances were also common. Chris Hillman appeared on both Dillard & Clark albums, and Sneaky Pete Kleinow showed up on the second. Gene Clark also recorded at least two songs with the Burritos after splitting with Dillard.



Courtesy A&M Records.


Cosmic American Music:
"Cosmic American Music" was a term Gram Parsons coined to describe his vision of American roots music, linked by common and parallel sources and frequent cross-pollenization. His definition was broad enough to include not just country, but also soul (he covered William Bell and James Carr), R&B (Larry Williams), early rock and roll (Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers) and certain of his contemporaries (Dylan, the Rolling Stones).
Parsons's term lives on in the name of the newsletter of his fan club, the Cosmic American Music News, which is devoted not just to Parsons but to other artists who share his vision of roots music.



To find out about Gene Clark's solo career between leaving the Byrds and founding Dillard & Clark, see Gene Clark, With the Gosdin Brothers and the Gene Clark Group: 1966-1968.

Though Gene Clark left the Byrds in March of 1966, his subsequent work often parallelled that of his former colleagues. In part this was the result of their continuing ties and their shared friendships with other LA musicians. Clark's first solo album, recorded and released more or less simultaneously with Younger Than Yesterday (with many of the same personnel) contained some early country rock songs. Those numbers ("Tried So Hard" and "Keep On Pushing") were of a piece with the contemporaneous efforts of Chris Hillman ("Time Between" and "Girl With No Name").
Likewise, Clark's next project explored country and bluegrass music more deeply, just as the Byrds had on their recent Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Clark, like McGuinn and Hillman, was inspired to take the plunge by Gram Parsons. "Just about the time I left the Byrds, Gram Parsons came to town with a group called the International Submarine Band. I really loved them the first time I heard them. I loved his voice, I loved his songs, I loved everything."* (Actually, the ISB arrived in L.A. in early '67, after the recording of Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers (Columbia, 1967), and almost a year after Clark left the Byrds.)


Git It On Brother: Dillard & Clark v. 1.0

In early 1968, Gene Clark was signed to A&M, but several months had elapsed without much progress toward a solo album. Meanwhile, Clark was starting to spend more and more time with Doug Dillard. Dillard was a virtuoso on the banjo and had made his name playing bluegrass with the Dillards in the early '60s. The Dillards had opened gigs for the Byrds in '65 and '66, so the two had known each other for several years. Dillard had also played banjo on Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers in late '66. Both were originally from Missouri and grew up in musical families, so it made sense that they would get along well.
At this point, Bernie Leadon was living with Dillard. Leadon, another talented multi-instrumentalist, was at loose ends after the demise of his folk rock combo, Hearts & Flowers. Clark hit on the idea of forming a modern bluegrass band with Dillard, and began writing songs with Leadon, with Dillard, and with both of them together. Clark's sponsor at A&M, Larry Marks, liked the idea, and the team of Dillard & Clark was given permission to start recording, with Marks producing. David Jackson, a bandmate of Leadon's in Hearts & Flowers, came in on string bass, and Don Beck helped out on dobro and mandolin. Chris Hillman added some mandolin, and Andy Belling played harpsichord on a few cuts.
By October of '68, they had released their first LP, The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark (A&M, 1968). The album was rooted in bluegrass, with elements of rock, folk, and country added. Clark, Dillard, and Leadon harmonized beautifully, and the band's acoustic musicianship was tight. Framing the LP were a pair of terrific ballads: "Out on the Side" and "Something's Wrong." In between was one energetic but respectful cover of a bluegrass standard ("Git It On Brother") and a brace of midtempo songs with strong melodies. Leadon would cover one of these, "Train Leaves Here This Morning," (which he co-wrote) on the first Eagles album. Unfortunately, the commercial success of the Eagles was not afforded to Dillard & Clark: the album missed the charts entirely.


The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark.
Courtesy A&M Records.


The Dillard & Clark Expedition v. 1.1

Although the album was recorded without a drummer, the group decided they needed one for live performances. Michael Clarke, always a close friend of Gene Clark, was summoned from Hawaii, where he had been laying low since leaving the Byrds at the end of '67. Don Beck bowed out at this point, and the quintet began playing live gigs around L.A. under the name "the Dillard & Clark Expedition." (Shows elsewhere were precluded as a result of Clark's reluctance to fly.)
This version of the band recorded a single, "Lyin' Down the Middle," backed with a cover of Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel." (Presley had been one of Clark's early musical heroes.) Neither side of this single appeared on either Dillard & Clark album, but they were appended as bonus tracks to the Edsel reissue of Fantastic Expedition. The song's rock arrangement reflected the band's brief flirtation with electric instrumentation.


Why Not Your Baby: The Dillard & Clark Expedition v. 1.2

In the first of several round robin exchanges with the Burritos, drummer Michael Clarke left Dillard & Clark in January 1969 to join the Burritos. To replace him, the Expedition hired Jon Corneal, who had been one of several drummers on the first Burritos album. Around the same time, Dillard brought in his girlfriend, vocalist and guitarist Donna Washburn, who took over harmony vocal duties from Bernie Leadon. This version of the band recorded another non-LP single, the lovely ballad "Why Not Your Baby," which also appeared as a bonus track to the Edsel reissue of Fantastic Expedition.


Through the Morning: The Dillard & Clark Expedition v. 2.0

Unhappy that Washburn had taken over his vocals and some of his guitar chores, Leadon split in May of '69. (Within a few months he, too, joined the Burritos.) Fiddler Byron Berline joined up with the Expedition. (Berline was a friend of Dillard, having made his vinyl debut on the Dillards LP Pickin' and Fiddlin' (Elektra, 1965).)


Through the Morning, Through the Night.
Courtesy A&M Records.

This lineup -- Dillard, Clark, Washburn, Berline, Jackson and Corneal -- cut the group's second LP, Through the Morning, Through the Night (A&M, 1969), released in September of that year. (Hillman, Leadon and Sneaky Pete Kleinow are credited as "Special Pickers.")
This album was a departure from its predecessor. For one thing, it had a lot more covers, mostly well-chosen. Two are bluegrass standards: "I Bowed My Head and Cried Holy" and "Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms." Three are country classics: "No Longer A Sweetheart of Mine," "Four Walls," a number one hit for Jim Reeves in 1957, and "Rocky Top," a Felice and Boudleaux Bryant song that was a hit for the Osborne Brothers in 1967. Two come from the rock tradition: "So Sad" by the Everly Brothers (an early Clark favorite), and "Don't Let Me Down" by the Beatles (the band that made Clark quit the New Christy Minstrels back in '64).
Of the originals, there are two trademark Clark ballads (the title song and "Polly"); one unimpressive train song ("Kansas City Southern"); and one throwaway (the corny '30s-style number "Corner Street Bar").
The album was panned by many of the critics who had raved about Fantastic Expedition. They complained about all the covers and about not-so-tight playing. In retrospect, the album doesn't sound so bad. The covers are uniformly fun, the Everly and Beatles songs being particularly effective. The complaints about sloppiness seem exaggerated, churlish, and somewhat irrelevant when the album is compared to later (classic) works by the Rolling Stones or the Faces. Donna Washburn's lead vocal on "Rocky Top" is unspectacular, but evokes the plain-spun, nasal style of Sara Carter or Molly O'Day. Her harmony vocals with Clark pleasantly anticipate the sound of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris on "No Longer a Sweetheart of Mine," "So Sad," "Polly," and "Through the Morning."


Something's Wrong: The Doug Dillard Expedition v. 3.0

Dissatisfied with the album's chart failure, with its poor critical reception, and with Dillard's more conservative vision for the band, Clark departed, resuming his solo career. David Jackson and Jon Corneal also departed. With the addition of bassist Roger Bush and banjoist Billy Ray Lathum, the others soldiered on as Doug Dillard and the Expedition. Washburn soon left as well, to join Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour. A&M had dropped the group by this time, so there was nothing to stop their move toward traditional bluegrass. The foursome played together through the end of 1970 before dissolving altogether. Dillard resumed his solo career; Lathum joined the Dillards; and Berline and Bush formed Country Gazette, which became part of the Flying Burrito Brothers in March of 1971.

Gene Clark was one of the first musicians to seize on the musical vision of Gram Parsons. Dillard & Clark didn't just copy the music of Parsons; they absorbed his approach to honky tonk country and applied it to bluegrass. Along with the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo and the first album by the Flying Burrito Brothers, the resulting work of Dillard & Clark is certainly some of the best "Cosmic American Music" of the late 1960s.



To follow the career of Gene Clark, see Gene Clark: 1970 - 1973.



Notes

"I really loved them..." Darlington at 100.


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Spinoffs | Dillard & Clark

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