1977’s Two Sides To Every Story by the late Gene Clark, the erstwhile co-founder of The Byrds, has been long considered his finest solo effort (in the singer’s opinion). It’s also been very long out of print (R.S.O. Records, who had initially released it, has been defunct since 1983). The good people at High Moon Records have now seen fit to reissue the album in a lovely hardcover book, with the old R.S.O. imprint on the disc and a clarity previously unheard. Clark’s forward thinking approach towards music – by spearheading the move toward what became “country rock” – led him on many different musical paths but this album could be seen as simply “extraordinary”.
From the banjo-driven joy of “Home Run King” to the heart-aching beauty of “Lonely Saturday”, with its yearning vocals, pedal steel fills and honky tonk piano solo, it’s a ride of indescribable loveliness – to hear that voice weaving its way through those arrangements. An upbeat, finger-picked rendition of Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” – called here as “In The Pines”, which is its original title, takes you by surprise by sounding so opposite of its lyrical content; “Kansas City Southern” is sheer balls-out country/blues rock and just choogles… “Sister Moon” is a ballad that could have easily been a radio hit of the time – lazy, Fender Rhodes driven and lush; “Past Addresses” is another soft, loneliness-tinged ballad filled with pain and want and “Silent Crusade” with its acoustic guitar base, subtle organ and Clark’s just-right vocals close this finest of albums.
For all that’s been said, written and documented about Gene Clark and his influence on music – which cannot be disputed nor argued – this late stage album is a work of true beauty and width. He paints a large, colorful musical canvas and at no time do any of the tracks miss. If there is one reissue this year to pick up on, it is undoubtedly Two Sides To Every Story.
Two Sides To Every Story is available now