Album: Gene Clark

No Other, WSM/Asylum

Recorded in 1974, but unreleased on CD in the US and UK until now, No Other is one of the great sacred cows of country-rock legend. This out-take-expanded reissue has received glowing reviews from which, I'm afraid, I have to demur. It's overblown tosh, and expensive tosh at that - imagine David Geffen's dismay when $100,000 (£62,000) of recording costs resulted in just eight maundering, over-produced songs. The album is coke-addled folly crying out for cultish obscurity, from the truly ghastly cover to the teeth-grindingly tasteless gospel-country arrangements run up by its producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye, to the jaw-dropping risibility of lyrics whose shallow, pseudo-philosophical speculations would have been roundly condemned if sung by, say, Yes's Jon Anderson (sample lines: "You hold the key/ To your destiny gone"; "Have you seen/ The changing windows/ Of the sea beyond the stars/ And the sky beyond the sunbeams/ And the world beyond your dreams": this is the kind of stuff that gave cocaine a bad name in the first place). Clark's wilful anti-commerciality secured No Other its rightful place in rock history, as a footnote to a career that started out flying, with beautiful Byrds songs such as "Feel a Whole Lot Better", and just plummeted from there. Still, there is one small mercy: at least this reissue includes the hitherto unreleased "Train Leaves Here This Morning".