Monday, October 27, 2014

40 Year Itch : Far Above the Troubled Sky

In the Fall of 1974, Gene Clark, released No Other, a confounding album that cost $100,000 to make, contained no singles, and needed decades to pass before it would be declared one of the great masterpieces of 1970's rock.

   A founding member of The Byrds, Clark had written "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better", "Eight Miles High " and one of my all-time favorites "Here Without You".  He left the band in 1966, at their height,  because of his fear of flying. His country-rock solo recordings with The Gosdin Brothers and Doug Dillard are all worth checking out. In 1973, Clark played on The Byrds, a reunion album, which charted Top 20. His contributions caught the attention of Asylum head David Geffen whose label had become home to some of the best singer-songwriters of the age, including Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan ( for one year at least)  and Tom Waits. 

   Produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye, who liked to spend money, No Other sounds like no other album of its time. With session musicians like Butch Trucks, Chris Hillman, Danny Kortchmar and Timothy B Schmidt, Clark ventures into country rock, choral music, psychedelia and blues...often in the same song.  His lyrics are mystical, written as he sat at a window overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  These songs soar and make No Other the ultimate "grower". 

   That the album never sold broke Clark's heart but if you listen closely you will hear the blueprint for future albums by everyone from Fleetwood Mac to the Fleet Foxes.


  1. Life's Greatest Fool, the opener of the album, is an absolute masterpiece of a song.

  2. "Strength of Strings" would be my favorite. This is one to buy and spend years learning to get to know