RECORD STORE DAY 2018 RELEASE! GENE CLARK — BACK STREET MIRROR E.P.

The beautiful artwork for the RSD exclusive by my
longtime friend and ally, Neon Brambles.

BACK STREET MIRROR E.P.

I'm delighted to report that Record Store Day (April 21, 2018) will see the release of a new E.P. featuring previously unreleased material by Gene Clark. The six-song E.P. features three previously unreleased songs, plus two songs that appeared on The Lost Studio Sessions ('Back Street Mirror' & 'Don't Let It Fall Through') and the original solo-acoustic demo of 'If I Hang Around' onto which Chip Douglas overdubbed bass/vocals for the 2003 Byrd Parts 2 release. The striking artwork—front, back and insert—was created by none other than Ms. Ingrid Neimanis, better known to Gene Clark fans everywhere as the ever-groovy, go-go-booted Neon Brambles, the online caretaker of all things Gene, and creator of the fab Gene-Clark.com site. 

Side 1: The Russell-Masekela Sessions

Above: GENE GOES FOR BAROQUE
Hugh Masekela,  pictured in 1967,
flew in the Byrds' circle for a while
and lent a hand (and horn) to trumpet
news of Gene's new direction.

Original Producer: Jim Dickson

Music Arranger: Leon Russell

Horn Arranger: Hugh Masekela

Recording Engineer: Armin Steiner

Recorded January 26, 1967, Sound Recorders,         Hollywood CA



The session tape reveals that Gene was present for, and sang along with, each and every take with the Wrecking Crew. He was focused, fully committed, and—as was once said of Dylan—"with every word."
Leon Russell, 1967
Early takes of 'Back Street Mirror' reveal each musician's parts fully worked out prior to tape rolling. It is essentially a live-in-studio recording with no overdubs. Picture a studio full of musicians playing an assortment of instruments—including drums, rhythm guitar, electric guitar, piano, harpsichord, triangle, bass, flutes, trumpets and other horn instruments not listed on the official log (probably French horns and saxes*), someone playing bones—real ones!—plus Gene in the vocal booth, Armin Steiner (engineer) with Jim Dickson in the control room (the latter barking instructions to arranger Leon Russell)—and this takes on almost Spectoresque proportions.
Dickson must've had high expectations that Columbia would keep Gene on the label after the release of Gene Clark With The Gosdin Brothers, arriving the very next month. That Gene was so quickly dropped in the wake of his debut's commercial underperformance might lead one, at least cursorily, to second guess Dickson's belief in the 22-year-old ex-Byrd. But armchair criticism, especially this far removed from the events in question, is for the smuggest of fools. Rock writers are fond of contextualizing The Beatles' growth as artistes by comparing their earliest recordings to 'Strawberry Fields Forever' (recorded only a month earlier than 'Back Street Mirror'). In that same spirit, listen to Gene's exquisite, graceful reading of 'Back Street Mirror' and appreciate that the frenetic days 'Boston' and 'You Movin'' were only two and a half years before.

Dickson's belief in Gene was not misplaced, it was based on the knowledge that this kid was one of the finest songwriters of his generation.

Takes 1 through 10 of 'Back Street Mirror' were either incomplete or deemed unsuitable.  There is no great variation in performance from take to take; occasionally an impromptu drum fill will jump out as different from the pattern laid down on master take.  At one point Dickson can be heard issuing instructions to Leon Russell regarding the harpsichord part, to which Russell can be heard responding.  Ultimately, it was take 11 that proved to be best.

Similarly, 'Don't Let It Fall Through' required eleven takes (full or incomplete).  In the end it was decided that take 9 was the keeper.

Sadly, no details remain regarding the number of takes required for 'Yesterday Am I Right' because the session tapes are long gone. Much perkier than the one recorded during the sessions that produced the Gene Clark Sings For You acetate, the January 1967 arrangement is another one of Gene's genre-bending exercises: it's both jazzy and in the Baroque style for which Gene had a frustratingly brief infatuation.

RSD FAQ:
Q. How can I get a copy?

For USA customers, here is the RSD link to stores, they can search by city, state, zip code:

Outside the USA: HERE

There is no way of knowing or guaranteeing that any specific store will order the album from the Alliance Entertainment Corp.  All orders for RSD must be placed with Alliance by March 15th!  RSD has limited the pressing to 1500 copies.


Next installment: Side 2

Comments

skipway said…
any plans for a digital release of the 3new" songs? sorry to hear about you disabling event. I hope things get better. 'o)
Craigie said…
Thank you for another great post . And again I don't hold out much hope of me getting a copy here in the UK given the numbers , but hey you never know . Thanks you for the details . On to part two. Cheers Craig Herts UK