Monday, September 24, 2007
– The musical collaboration of Gene Clark of The Byrds fame and Carla Olson will result in a 2-CD set of previously released and new material, due Oct. 30 on Collector's Choice.
The set, "Gene Clark With Carla Olson: In Concert," includes an unreleased Clark performance for Mountain Stage, bonus tracks from the duo's Rhino album\ and a live recording from McCabe's Guitar Shop never previously released in the U.S.
Clark's post-Byrds solo career did not soar to the heights attained by bandmates Roger McGuinn, David Crosby or Gram Parsons. By the mid-'80s, he had no career to speak of, yet he continued writing. Texas-bred singer/songwriter Carla Olson who, along with her manager Saul Davis, approached him after a gig and proposed they make an album.
"At that time, Gene's name didn't really mean much to the general record-buying public," said Olson. "And I was a pretty much unknown singer from a cowpunk band in L.A. Saul was gently trying to convince Gene that people were not exactly knocking down doors to sign him. Yet the star thing never left him, bless him. He always held his head high and dressed to the nines."
The first disc is dominated by seven unreleased tracks from a Clark solo concert for Mountain Stage, the live public radio broadcast from Charleston, West Va. Fleshing out the first disc are 3 live bonus tracks from Clark and Olson's studio album, "So Rebellious a Lover," recorded in Los Angeles and issued in 1986 on Rhino Records and long out of print.
The second disc contains the entire Clark and Olson Feb. 3, 1990 performance at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, which was released overseas only on Demon Records as "Silhouetted in Light."
Backing Clark and Olson were Duane Jarvis (Lucinda Williams, Peter Case, Dwight Yoakam) on guitar and David Provost (Textones, Dream Syndicate, Droogs) on bass. "We weren't even aware that a tape of that performance existed," recalls Olson. "It was several years later, after Gene passed away in 1991, that Duane mentioned to me that he had a tape. At the end of the evening, the person doing the recording asked Duane if he'd like a copy of the show. He said yes, put the tape in his guitar case and forgot about it."
That cassette became the live album.
According to album annotator John Einarson, author of Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life & Legacy of The Byrds' Gene Clark, rehearsals for the McCabe's show in Clark's Sherman Oaks home had become problematic with the singer coming off a three-day writing binge with no sleep.
"Amidst the audience was a very intimate bunch of friends, a lot of people we both knew, so we had a really good time" Olson said. "In some gigs, you just can't do that; the distance between you and the audience is too great. But this was a moment to take advantage of how human we are. You can feel all our vulnerabilities and how close to the edge we all are. Gene was never really a safe person. He had an edge. But even on the bad nights, he still sounded beautiful so I guess we were the only one who kind of knew the difference between tragic and beautiful."
Many of the McCabe's songs were intended for a follow-up studio album that was never to be. Although Clark and Olson would appear together at the Palomino in North Hollywood, and at the Cinegrill in Hollywood a month before his death, the McCabe's set stands testament to their short collaboration.
Olson said, "He had a weathered sound in his voice but singing with Gene for me was always a joy and a pleasure. I'm proud of our performance on this album. I think Gene would be too."