Byrd's Gene Clark With Carla Olson Release Set

(PR) Gene Clark’s post-Byrds solo career did not soar to the heights attained by bandmates Roger McGuinn, David Crosby or Gram Parsons. Yet, he was widely regarded as the heart and soul of the original Byrds and a songwriter of affecting minor-key melancholic ballads with dark, Dylanesque lyrics. He was the writer of “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” (covered by Tom Petty), “Set You Free This Time” and “She Don’t Care About Time” as well as “Train Leaves Here This Morning” with Bernie Leadon on the Eagles debut album. But by the mid-‘80s, he had no career to speak of, yet he was writing some of his strongest material ever. Enter 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,” recalls 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.”

Thus began the too-brief second phase of Clark’s career, which included both collaborations with Olson. On October 30, 2007, Collectors’ Choice Music will issue a collection of ‘80s and ‘90s music from Clark titled Gene Clark With Carla Olson: In Concert. The package contains two discs, the first of which is dominated by seven unreleased tracks from a Gene Clark solo concert for Mountain Stage, the live public radio broadcast which emanates from Charleston, WV. Fleshing out the first disc are the three live bonus tracks from Gene Clark and Carla Olson’s studio album, So Rebellious a Lover, recorded in Los Angeles and issued in 1986 on Rhino Records. It is long out of print.

The second disc of the Collectors’ Choice set contains the entire Clark and Olson February 3, 1990 performance at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, which was released overseas (but never in the U.S.) 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.

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