Record Store Day, April 20: Gene Clark - The Lost Studio Sessions 1964 - 1982

I’m delighted to report that Liberation Hall, a Massachusetts-based label, has just announced the rerelease of GENE CLARK - THE LOST STUDIO SESSIONS 1964-1982, which I’m sure many of you will remember was first released on Sierra Records in 2016. 

Both LP and CD  include a multi-page booklet with rare photos, production and recording information, and extensive liner notes by compilation producer John Delgatto and Clark experts Johnny Rogan, John Einarson, and Domenic Priore.

The first single is Gene with Chris, Michael, Herb Pedersen and Al Perkins, covering Rodney Crowell’s “No Memories Hangin’ Round”:


1. The Way I Am | 2. I’d Feel Better | 3. That Girl | 4. A Worried Heart | 5. If There’s No Love | 6. Back Street Mirror | 7. Don’t Let It Fall Through | 8. Back to the Earth Again | 9. The Lighthouse | 10. The Awakening Within | 11. Sweet Adrienne | 12. Walking Through This Lifetime | 13. The Sparrow | 14. Only Yesterday’s Gone | 15. She Darked the Sun | 16. Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms (Traditional) | 17. She Don’t Care About Time | 18. Don’t That Road Look Rough and Rocky (Traditional) | 19. Bars Have Made a Prisoner Out of Me (Spooner Oldham, Freddy Weller, Michael Hardin) | 20. One Hundred Years from Now (Gram Parsons) | 21. The Letter (Wayne C. Thompson) | 22. Still Feeling Blue (Gram Parsons) | 23. No Memories Hangin’ Round (Rodney Crowell ) | 24. I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

BREAKDOWN OF THE SESSIONS (1964, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1982)


The Way I Am | I’d Feel Better | That Girl | A Worried Heart | If There’s No Love

These Jim Dickson-produced tracks reveal a sensitive, 19-year-old acoustic balladeer honing his burgeoning songwriting craft. Already apparent are the unexpected chord changes, the soaring tenor, and preoccupation with heartache that would characterize Gene’s later, more well-known, work both with the Byrds and as a solo artist.

1967 Single Session

Back Street Mirror | Don’t Let It Fall Through

In January 1967, Jim Dickson brought Gene into the studio to record the planned A- and B-sides of a single. Featuring members of the famed Wrecking Crew, and an arrangement by Leon Russell, “Back Street Mirror” recalls the rich baroque stylings of “Echoes.” When the single failed to materialize, the song was given to actor David Hemmings, who – singing over Gene’s thought-to-be wiped vocal – used it to kick off his Happens LP later that year.

The quirky, spirited “Don’t Let It Fall Through” shows Gene was no slouch when it came to swinging, R&B-based rock.


Back to the Earth Again | The Lighthouse | The Awakening Within | Sweet Adrienne | Walking Through This Lifetime | The Sparrow | Only Yesterday’s Gone

An astonishing discovery, these previously undocumented songs from the pre-White Light period are a testament to Clark’s extraordinary growth as a songwriter. Relieving the pressures of life in LA for pastoral sanctuary in Northern California, the newlywed Clark found – if only for a short time – inner peacefulness and uncommon grace, palpably felt in a clutch of songs imbued with philosophy, ecology, and spirituality.


She Darked the Sun

This rollicking track was purportedly recorded in the spring of 1970, just prior to Gram Parsons’ firing from the Flying Burrito Brothers. Gene revives – and drastically reinterprets – a song first released on Dillard & Clark’s wonderful 1968 debut (and also recorded by Linda Ronstadt). The rearrangement shows how effortlessly Gene returned to playing alongside his erstwhile bandmates, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke.


Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms | She Don’t Care About Time | Don’t That Road Look Rough and Rocky | These Bars Have Made a Prisoner Out of Me

Similar to the situation with the 1967 tracks, two of these recordings later saw release on Terry Melcher’s self-titled album from 1974 (Gene’s vocals having been wiped and, for decades, presumed lost). Jim Dickson always maintained that “these were the best Gene ever sounded.” One would be hard-pressed to argue otherwise. 


One Hundred Years From Now | The Letter | Still Feeling Blue | No Memories Hangin’ Round | I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better

Gene was reunited with his ex-Byrd brothers Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke — augmented by stalwarts Herb Pedersen and Al Perkins — for what was a laudable attempt by Jim Dickson and Eddie Tickner to launch the group (dubbed Nyteflyte) in Nashville. Gene’s reading of Rodney Crowell’s “No Memories Hangin’ Round'' stands as a moving reminder of his uncanny ability to make someone else’s song entirely his own. Sadly, this would be the last time the three ex-Byrds would record together. 


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