Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gene Clark 7: Two Sides To Every Story

For most of his solo career, Gene Clark’s albums had all been worth at least hearing by many more than the people who took the time to do so. But yelling into a vacuum can only do so much, and sometimes one’s creativity suffers. By the time Two Sides To Every Story came out, he’d become a footnote to the record industry, and the album didn’t help his situation any. (RSO was the label, amazingly, and they did a better job pushing the Bee Gees and Eric Clapton.) Various stellar players appear, but it was likely just another session to them.
“Home Run King” is packed with imagery that hints at social commentary, but it’s lashed to bluegrass track that just doesn’t fit. “Lonely Saturday” is a step in the right direction, but it’s a well-worn theme. After a truly and unnecessarily jaunty bounce through “In The Pines”, he barely sounds like himself on “Kansas City Southern”, though the “lonesome sound” coda has promise. It’s not until the heartbreaking “Give My Love To Marie” by James Talley that we finally have something that ranks with his best.
That mood continues on side two with his own “Sister Moon”, which features Emmylou Harris prominently in the background choir. Even the synthesizer melds nicely with the strings. A cover of “Marylou” goes back to the honky tonk songs on side one; it’s good, but it will only inspire comparison to versions by Bob Seger and Steve Miller, and no thank you. It does make “Hear The Wind” more welcome, for all its ordinariness, but that’s not a label we can put on “Past Addresses”, which has all the ingredients in the right combination. The seagull effects notwithstanding, “Silent Crusade” is a very nice “I’m sailing away” song, and ends the set nicely.
We’d like to say even one of the Two Sides To Every Story is worth hearing, but where earlier albums put a unique spin on country rock and its potential, most of what we hear is cliché and ordinary. That’s too bad for the handful of standouts, but he probably knew he couldn’t get away with an album full of downers. So it goes.

Gene Clark Two Sides To Every Story (1977)—2

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