Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gene Clark - Echoes (1967 us, amazing psych folk rock)

 This is the album that, rather unfortunately for Gene, was released the very same day as The Byrds 'Younger Than Yesterday'. The release by his former group of course received all the attention and Gene's debut struggled for both airplay and sales. Both Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke of The Byrds contribute here though, and future Byrd Clarence White helps out on guitar.

And! We have the sheer wondrous splendour of the orchestrated 'Echoes' to open. Immediately, it sounds nothing like The Byrds. It's clearly written by the same pen as the likes of 'Set You Free This Time' however, and is certainly up there with Gene's finest ever compositions. We have poetic lyrics to rival Dylan at his best and the orchestration really does something here. In contrast, 'Think Im Gonna Feel Better' is jaunty, short and simple. Jaunty? Well, its happy! The Gosdin Brothers add harmonies and it's a fine song.

The guitar sound is 'chugging' rather than the Jangle of The Byrds, but everything is well played and performed. 'Tried So Hard' is a sheer delight, and ensures a strong album opening. Country picking and such a happy melody mixed in with Gene's poetic imagery. 'Is Yours Is Mine' is the one song here that that most evokes memories of The Byrds. The harmonies are mighty fine and provide the main enticing highpoints of the song. Fantastic psychedelic moments mixed in too, though! Ah, 'Keep On Pushin' is perhaps a little too simplistic but the song that follows is mighty fine and matches any of the opening three.

'So You Say You Lost Your Baby' is full of echo and reverb, and strings as well! Its a strange combination, but it works. Impressive drumming on 'Elevator Operator', 'The Same One' foreshadows Genes future work by being a dense intricate ballad yet with wonderful melodic guitar fragments. Neither of the final two songs are essential, but both are still pleasant enough, if still straying the wrong side of the line marked 'simple'. They retain the sound of the rest of the album however and fit in happily enough, if nothing else.
by Andrian Denning
1. Boston - 2:01 
2. For Me Again - 2:30
3. I Knew I'd Want You - 2:18 
4. Here Without You - 2:36
5. Set You Free This Time - 2:48
6. If You're Gone - 2:46
7. Is Yours Is Mine - 2:37
8. So You Say You Lost Your Baby - 2:06
9. Tried So Hard - 2:20
10.Needing Someone - 2:02
11.Echoes - 3:16
12.The Same One - 3:29
13.Couldn't Believe Her - 2:10
14.Keep On Pushin' (Clark, Bill Rinehart) - 1:45
15.I Found You - 2:58
16.Elevator Operator  (Clark, Bill Rinehart) - 2:54
17.Think I'm Gonna Feel Better - 1:34
18.The French Girl - 2:36
19.Only Colombe - 3:07
20.So You Say You Lost Your Baby (Acoustic Demo Version) - 3:11
All songs by Gene Clark except where noted

*Gene Clark - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
*Vern Gosdin - Backing Vocals
*Rex Gosdin - Backing Vocals
*Glen Campbell - Electric Guitar
*Jerry Cole - Guitars
*Bill Rinehart - Guitars
*Clarence White - Guitar
*Doug Dillard - Electric Banjo
*Leon Russell - Piano, Harpsichord; String Arrangements
*Van Dyke Parks - Keyboards
*Chris Hillman - Bass
*Michael Clarke - Drums
*Joel Larson - Drums

Related activities
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte (2012 Retro World)
1968-69  Dillard And Clark - Fantastic Expedition / Through The Morning, Through The Night
1971  Gene Clark - White Light (Expanded edition)
1972  Gene Clark - Roadmaster (2011 Sundazed)

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