Saturday, November 12, 2011

Michael Fremer Album Review

The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark

Doug Dillard and Gene Clark

A&M/Sundazed LP 5344 180g LP

Produced by: Larry Marks

Engineered by: Dick Bogert

Mixed by: Dick Bogert

Mastered by: Quien Sabe



Sundazed Reissues Classic Clark Gem
by Michael Fremer
November 01, 2011

Let's divide the world into two groups: one that says "Gene who?" and the other that recognizes the late Gene Clark as one of the greats from the rock era. That's my side of the divide.

Clark possessed a seemingly minor vocal hitch among his sadness cues that, alone could make a despot weep. The other elements of his rich voice were equally effective.

His melodic gift was on a plateau that towered above most of the competition. His songs for the Byrds, ranged from compact rockers like the "Needles and Pins"-ish "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" to the oddly metered and still startling "Set You Free This Time," to the desolate "If You're Gone" to the joyful "The World Turns All Around Her."

You'd have to be brain dead to not be immediately swept up in the intense, mostly sad emotions Clark summoned up in his melodic and lyrical writing, yet in The Byrds he was overshadowed, more by the band's totality than by any individual.

Clark left The Byrds in 1966, rejoined for a few weeks in 1967 and then quit permanently.

After signing with Columbia he released Gene Clark With the Gosdin Brothers (also reissued by Sundazed using the original mix that Columbia had chucked for an eariier CD issue) an album that mixed country, pop and other musical styles. It wasn't successful, probably in part because the name sounded too country for the rock crowd, the cover was the wrong "look" at that time and the music covered too many bases. Critics rightly dug it and it includes a great backing band including top L.A. studio guys who later established their own solo careers, including Leon Russell, Van Dyke Parks and Glen Campbell plus some of his former Byrds band mates.

Clark later signed with A&M and after a false start with another band, put together Dillard and Clark featuring bluegrass great Doug Dillard and former Eagles member and solid songwriter Bernie Leadon, who co-wrote almost all of the songs on this all too short album. Two banjo players (Leadon and Dillard) are joined by an electric harpsicordist, and two mandolin players, one of whom was Chris Hillman, plus an uncredited drummer said to be original Byrds drummer Michael Clarke.

The album has a bluegrass feel, mixed with a rock undercurrent, dominated by Gene Clark's soulful singing and songwriting. There are but four songs on the first side, but they are so richly configured and deeply felt, I'm not sure if most listeners could take or need more.

In fact, the deliberately paced opener, "Out on the Side," is probably enough for an album's worth of musical pleasure and emotional pain. "She Darked the Sun" speaks for itself and "Don't Come Rollin'" mixes a joyful, rollicking melody with a darker lyrical admonition. The side ends with "Train Leaves Here This Mornin'" later covered by The Eagles. You could say The Eagles covered all of what Dillard and Clark was first!

The album features expert picking and lilting harmonies that never stop being enjoyable, thanks in part to a superb engineering job by Dick Bogert at A&M Studios. He gives the closely miked drums shock wave impact, particularly the toms and cymbals and sets them against sparkling strings on a bed of pleasing reverb.

The original, issued on A&M in October of 1968 is hard to find and somewhat pricey, in part because this gem wasn't successful either for Gene but those who bought it treasure it and if you pick up this reissue you'll know why.

I'm not sure who cut the lacquer or from what, given the rumor that A&M's masters were wiped out in the Universal fire of a few years ago (along with Motown and Chess among others), but whatever was used and whoever did the cutting, this reissue is a reasonable facsimile of the forty three year old original.

It's slightly drier and dynamically compressed compared to the original and misses some of the original's sparkle and spaciousness, but since you're not paying audiophile type prices and the 180g pressing—probably done at Rainbo is flat and quiet, there's nothing to complain about here.

I've been listening to and loving this gem since 1968 and I recommend it as highly as I can recommend any album. Thank you Sundazed, for making it available once again.

Thanks to Michael over at  for the exclusive rights to reprint this material. Stop by for more reviews and features.

©2011 & Michael Fremer - - All rights reserved

Reprinted by Permission

Vinyl Record News & Music Notes

BLACK SABBATH Officially Reuniting in 2012

Yesterday, at an L.A. press conference on 11/11/11 at the Whiskey A Go Go, the four original members of Black Sabbath (Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward) confirmed the long-predicted news. They will tour in 2012 and a new album is coming (the announcement was made at 11:11am pacific time). The effort is being produced by Rick Rubin and the lads are halfway done with the writing process and will be entering the studio early next year. The band also announced that has been launched as the group's first-ever official website with tie ins on both Facebook and Twitter.


Tom Petty Vinyl Found!

Tom Petty’s classic record, Damn the Torpedoes, has been found in the Because Sound Matters vault and is available for sale now. The out-of-print vinyl is the third album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released in 1979 by Backstreet Records. The record is mastered from original analog tapes by Bernie Grundman Mastering, including 9 bonus tracks, a 12 page exclusive booklet, and a hi-res digital download of the album.

This 2LP 180 gram vinyl deluxe set includes 9 bonus tracks including 7 unreleased gems. Studio tracks as well as 3 exclusive live tracks include: "Nowhere & Surrender [original version]," "Refugee (alternate take)," plus a demo and live tracks, all available for the first time. Newly remastered from the original analog tapes, this vinyl release showcases Damn the Torpedoes in it's purest form. A must for Tom Petty fans andaudiophile collectors. Buy your copy HERE

• Re-Mastered and cut from original analog tapes by Chris Bellman / Bernie Grundman Mastering
• 2 x 180g LPs pressed at Pallas in Germany
• Heavyweight gatefold record jacket
• Exclusive 12 page booklet
• Digital download card included (MP3 or FLAC)
• Marketing sticker highlighting mastering, pressing and download card


Side A
Here Comes My Girl
Even The Losers
Shadow Of A Doubt (A Complex Kid)
Century City

Side B
Don’t Do Me Like That
You Tell Me
What Are You Doin’ In My Life?
Louisiana Rain

Side C
Casa Dega
It’s Rainin’ Again

Side D
Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid) (Live)
Don’t Do Me Like That (Live)
Somthin’ Else (Live)
Casa Dega (Demo)
Refugee (Alternate Take)


and in music history for today, november 12th:

In 1956, Johnnie Ray was at #1 on the UK singles chart with “Just Walking in the Rain.” Written in 1952 by Johnny Bragg and Robert Riley, two prisoners at the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville, inspired by a comment made by Bragg as the pair crossed the courtyard while it was raining.

In 1957, a film called Jamboree previews in Hollywood. Among those featured are Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Carl Perkins, Frankie Avalon, Slim Whitman and Connie Francis.

In 1959, at a time when Rock and Roll seemed to be fading, Johnny Mathis had the number one album in the US. Elvis was in the army and Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard couldn't make a hit record when Mathis' L.P. "Heavenly" became his second to reach the top.

In 1964, Shirley Ellis recorded a song that she co-wrote with Lincoln Chase, "The Name Game," as a follow-up to her #8 hit, "The Nitty Gritty." Her latest effort would reach #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B chart. As most of us figured out as kids, playing the game with names such as Alice, Dallas, Tucker, Chuck, Bart, Art, Marty, Mitch, Rich, Richie, Maggie, Ruby, Danny or Annie, results in profanity or rude language.

In 1966, the Monkees’ debut album started a 13-week run at #1 on the US album chart, selling over 3 million copies in three months.

In 1966, Donovan's "Mellow Yellow" was released and began its climb to #8 in the UK and #2 in the US. It was long rumored that the song is about smoking dried banana skins, which was believed to be a hallucinogenic drug in the 1960s, but this rumor has since been debunked. The song's title actually refers to the fact that Donovan had suffered from liver disease in early 1966 and had become severely jaundiced. In an interview with the June 18, 2011 edition of the NME, Donovan was asked what the song was actually about? He replied: "Quite a few things. Being mellow, laid-back, chilled out. 'They call me Mellow Yellow, I'm the guy who can calm you down.' Lennon and I used to look in the back of newspapers and pull out funny things and they'd end up in songs. So it's about being cool, laid-back, and also the electrical bananas that were appearing on the scene - which were ladies vibrators."

In 1968, the UK book and record chain W.H. Smiths refused to display The Jimi Hendrix Experience album 'Electric Ladyland,' due to the naked girls featured on the sleeve. The album was then made available as two albums with changed artwork after the complaints.

In 1970, the Doors make their last appearance as a quartet in New Orleans. Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore later recall watching Jim Morrison lose "all his energy" as the concert drags to an end. The group then records the L.A. Woman album, and Morrison subsequently moves to Paris, where he dies on July 3 of the following year.

Also in 1970, Jefferson Starship singer Marty Balin's rock opera "Rock Justice" opens a four-day run at San Francisco's Old Waldorf night club. Balin stars in and codirects the musical, about a rock star who dreams he's on trial for not having a hit record. It will also be made into a videotape.

In 1977, the Sex Pistols went to #1 on the UK album chart with their debut LP, 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols.'

In 1980, Bruce Springsteen scored his first #1 US album with 'The River.'

In 1983, Lionel Richie started a four-week run at #1 on the US singles chart with “All Night Long,” becoming Motown's biggest seller to date.

Madonna released the album "Like A Virgin" in 1984.

In 1988, U2 started a six-week run at #1 on the US album chart with 'Rattle and Hum.'

In 1993, Michael Jackson canceled his world tour blaming dependence on painkillers.

Eminem's first studio album 'Infinite' was released in 1996.

In 2000, Destiny's Child started an eleven-week run at #1 on the US singles chart with “Independent Women Part 1.” The song first appeared on the soundtrack to the 2000 film, Charlie's Angels.

In 2002. Beatles' fans were upset when they discover that Paul McCartney has changed the songwriting credits on the group's songs on his Back in the US 2002 DVD from Lennon-McCartney to McCartney-Lennon.

In 2003, Tony Thompson, drummer with Chic, died of cancer. Thompson also worked with David Bowie, Madonna, Power Station and appeared at Live Aid with Led Zeppelin.

In 2008, Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell was found dead in a Portland, Oregon hotel room. He had just completed the Experience Hendrix Tour and was starting a brief vacation before returning to his native England. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner's office later ruled that the 62-year-old Mitchell had died of natural causes.

birthdays today include (among others): Booker T. Jones (67), Buck Dharma (Blue Oyster Cult) (64), Les McKeown (Bay City Rollers) (56), Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) (47), Terry Johnson (Flamingos) (73), Frank Rosenthal (Dante & the Evergreens) (70), Brian Hyland (68) and the iconic Neil Young (66)