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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Gene Clark - Roadmaster (1972 us, excellent country folk rock, 2011 Sundazed issue)

By 1972, Gene Clark had settled into a new life in Mendocino far from the intrusive media glare and fan adulation that still surrounded someone of his stature as a former member of the Byrds. However, he still owed A&M Records one more album. Gathering together the cream of the Los Angeles country-rock fraternity—innovative guitarist Clarence White, Chris Ethridge on bass, ex-Byrd and Burrito Brother Michael Clarke on drums, pedal steel guitarist extraordinaire Sneaky Pete, Byron Berline on fiddle and pianist Spooner Oldham—Gene set about recording an album of pure country rock unfettered by any commercial dictates.

Although the spring 1972 recording sessions were ultimately abandoned, Gene left eight precious songs in the vaults. “Full Circle Song” (later recorded by the reunited Byrds and a bona fide country-rock classic) and “Shooting Star” reveal a deep, introspective soul-searching. “I Remember the Railroad” and “In a Misty Morning” reflect a longing for the simpler days of his youth. The sessions also produced spirited versions of Flatt & Scruggs’ “Rough and Rocky,” the country standard “I Really Don’t Want to Know,” Freddie Weller’s rollicking “Roadmaster” and a reinterpretation of his standout Byrds song, “She Don’t Care About Time.”

Gene’s manager Jim Dickson took these eight tracks and paired them with three additional unreleased recordings to assemble Roadmaster. The unreleased tracks chronicled two previous attempts at a Byrds reunion (“One in a Hundred” and “She’s the Kind of Girl”) as well as the stunning “Here Tonight,” with Gene backed by The Flying Burrito Brothers. 

Originally a 1973 European-only release, imported copies of Roadmaster soon found their way to North America as fans came to recognize the brilliance in the ill-fated sessions. “The album itself I was proud of,” acknowledged Gene years later. “I was proud of the writing and proud of the bunch of people who played on it.” This legendary recording makes its Sundazed debut on compact disc and wondrous vinyl. It has been painstakingly mastered from the original A&M session tapes and is packaged in new album artwork. CD includes extra photos and new liner notes by Gene Clark biographer John Einarson. Add this recording to your collection and bear full witness to Gene Clark’s panoramic musical vision. 

1. She's The Kind Of Girl (Clark) - 2:59
2. One In A Hundred (Clark) - 2:45
3. Here Tonight (Clark) - 3:29
4. Full Circle Song (Clark) - 2:44
5. In A Misty Morning (Clark) - 4:56
6. Rough And Rocky (Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs) - 3:14
7. Roadmaster (Clark) - 4:12
8. I Really Don't Want To Know (Howard Barnes, Don Robertson) - 4:35
9. I Remember The Railroad (Clark) - 2:31
10.She Don't Care About Time (Clark) - 3:37
11.Shooting Star (Clark) - 4:38

*Gene Clark - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
*Clarence White - Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Spooner Oldham - Keyboards, Vocals
*Byron Berline - Fiddle
*Sneaky Pete Kleinow - Pedal Steel Guitar
*Michael Clarke - Drums
*David Crosby - Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Roger Mcguinn - Electric Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hillman - Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Rick Roberts - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
*Bud Shank - Flute

more from Gene Clark
1971  Gene Clark - White Light
1964  The Byrds - Preflyte

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Painter - Painter (1973 canada, stunning hard classic rock, Vinyl issue and Wounded Bird edition)

After one album in 1969 and one subsequent single with minimal success, 49th Parallel packed it in a year later, and from the ashes rose guitarist Danny Lowe's new project, Painter.

Based out of Edmonton and with a reformed lineup that consisted of Doran Beattie on vocals, Royden Morice on bass and drummer Bob "Herb" Ego (formerly of Witness Inc), they played the local bar scene while writing their own material, blending light rock with a harder edge (if that makes sense), crossed with ballads and was held together with tight hooks and singable lyrics.

They caught the attention of London Records executives, who shipped them off to San Francisco's Wally Heider Studio in the summer of 1971. The single "Country Man" was released later that year to little fanfare. After switching to Molten Records (owned by Randy Bachman), they released another single later that year, "Daybreak," but again couldn't help but feel disappointed with the response.

After moving to Seattle, they augmented their sound with Barry Allen (also ex of Wes Dakus & The Rebels) as a second guitarist, and agreed to be managed by Bob Zimmerman, who got them a deal with Elektra Records. They travelled back to San Francisco, as well as Seattle's Kaye-Smith Studio, and put their abundance of material they'd written on tape. The result was their self-titled debut album in September of '73. With Jim Gaines serving as co-producer with the band and engineer, "West Coast Woman" was released as the first single and the band had its first Top 20 song.

Before long they were on the road, headlining shows at LA's famed Whiskey A Go Go, backing up KISS, Jethro Tull, Canned Heat, Rod Stewart, and Steely Dan, among others. They were also featured on the nationally syndicated "King Biscuit Flower Hour" radio program while in New York. It was while in the Big Apple that they co-wrote a couple of tracks with Frank Zappa while backstage one night, "That's When I Knew It Was Love" was played on stage later that night for the first and only time.

But when the follow-up singles "Going Home To Rock" and "Song For Sunshine" in '74 both failed to make an impression, Elektra lost interest and dropped the group. Allen left the group soon after, shortly before the band pulled the plug.

Lowe, Beattie, Ego and Morice would team up again to form Hammersmith shortly after. But before the first of two albums for Mercury Records were on the shelves, Ego was gone, who went on to join Streetheart. He also become a studio musician and session player for various artists, including 451 Degrees, Mavis McCauley, and Paul Hann, among others. Allen hung up the guitar and put on a managerial hat, and took a number of groups under his wing, including Hammersmith. 

1. West Coast Woman - 2:50
2. Tell Me Why - 2:05
3. Song For Sunshine - 3:05
4. Goin Home To Rock N Roll - 3:02
5. Space Truck - 2:39
6. Kites And Gliders - 3:47
7. Only You - 2:25
8. Slave Driver - 3:04
9. For You - 3:59
10.Crazy Feeling - 2:45
11.Goin Down The Road - 8:47

*Danny Lowe - Lead Guitar
*Doran Beattie - Lead Vocals
*Wayne Morice - Bass, Vocals
*Barry Allen - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Bob Ego - Drums

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