Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gene Clark 3: Through The Morning, Through The Night

The Dillard & Clark duo kept the momentum going somewhat for a second album, though the songwriting collaboration between Gene Clark and Doug Dillard seemed to have dried up. Just to twist the branches of the family tree, drummer Jon Corneal came over from the Flying Burrito Brothers, which is where Bernie Leadon headed. (Former Byrd Chris Hillman and Sneaky Pete Kleinow wandered over from the Burritos as “special pickers” for the sessions.)
The drums make Through The Morning, Through The Night more country than bluegrass, and most of the program is devoted to covers as opposed to originals. “No Longer A Sweetheart Of Mine”, “I Bowed My Head And Cried Holy”, and “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” are fairly generic, while “Rocky Top”, while then only a couple years old, is sung by harmony singer Donna Washburn evoking a Hee Haw caricature. However, Gene’s take on the Everly Brothers’ “So Sad” is heartbreaking, and he does a passable Jim Reeves impression on “Four Walls”. The most surprising choice is the Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down”, utterly transformed into Gram Parsons’ vision of “Cosmic American Music”.
As for the handful of songs he actually wrote, the title track and “Polly” are up there with his best. (T Bone Burnett agreed, and had both recorded by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss for their smash collaboration Raising Sand.) “Kansas City Southern” is decent for a train song, but “Corner Street Bar” is unfortunately delivered in a corny ragtime style. We’re hoping that’s Doug singing, but the truth remains elusive.
We want to give it a better rating, but the seesawing in quality puts Through The Morning, Through The Night at a disadvantage to its predecessor. Gene must’ve thought so too, since he left Doug to run the expedition on his own soon after. The album is best heard in conjunction with the album before; Mobile Fidelity was the first label to combine them on a single disc, and a European-only reissue on A&M interspersed three rare single sides. Worth seeking out.

Dillard & Clark Through The Morning, Through The Night (1969)—

No comments:

Post a Comment