Thursday, July 17, 2014

gene therapy

I note that it's something like eight years, back in the very earliest days of this blog in fact, since I last enthused about Gene Clark's 1974 album No Other. And I need very little encouragement to enthuse about it, since it is one of the most remarkable albums of the 1970s or any other decade for that matter.

The specific catalyst for this post, however, is my discovery of this video of a concert at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg in New York in January of this year, wherein an assortment of members of various hipster-ish bands re-enacted the entire album in its original running order. A recipe for some sort of horrific car-crash, you might think, but actually it genuinely seems to have been done with a good deal of care and love, and the results are for the most part pretty splendid, especially given that the album's sound wouldn't have been the easiest to reproduce in a live setting (Clark himself never attempted to tour in support of the album on its original release).

My personal highlights are the two songs featuring Fleet Foxes' front-man Robin Pecknold, Life's Greatest Fool and Strength Of Strings, partly because they showcase the stupendous female backing vocal ensemble. I must also mention From A Silver Phial, not so much because Hamilton Leithauser makes an especially memorable job of the vocal but because it remains one of my favourite songs. It's a pity that the high-definition video doesn't include the encores, as then I could have linked to a better-quality version of Victoria Legrand's spooky version of Clark's Hear The Wind, but it's still worth a listen.

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