Gene Clark is likely best known as the fragile voice in many of those great old Byrds songs. But after leaving The Byrds, Clark continued to create wonderful music. One such example is "Two Sides to Every Story," rereleased with 17 bonus tracks after being first out in 1977. It reveals Clark's deep passion for bluegrass-accented country music.
One of the songs that may throw you off for a minute is Clark's upbeat take on the old traditional "In the Pines." It's played with a toe-tapping rhythm that sounds closer to the way they might do it at a Branson dinner show, than the sad way it's usually performed. It's only the undeniable sadness in Clark's voice that saves it. His cover of James Talley's "Give My Love to Marie," is the clear highlight and a true example of aural beauty. Clark vocalizes this one tortuously slow. It tells the tale of a dying coal miner and is almost guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
The album includes an A-list of musicians and singers, including Emmylou Harris and John Hartford, and this was before many of these sidemen and women were stars on their own.
The bonus section of this reissue includes Clark singing one of his Byrds hits live, "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better." It's played with upfront, rocking electric guitar. Sure, it's also missing those wonderful Byrds harmonies of the original recording, but a great song is always a great song. He also sings a much more subdued Byrds cover with "She Don't Care about Time."
For fans of the Byrds, and particularly lovers of Clark's music (both before and after The Byrds) will love this document of his post-Byrds music. It's just one side of a wonderful story.