Following the release of The Byrds 1973 reunion album Gene Clark signed a recording deal with Asylum Records. With a sea ocean view in his girlfriend’s beach house Clark set out to write a bunch of compositions that would feature planetary, hankering verses plus musicianship to rival The Band and Steely Dan via long player No Other.
Producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye had the task of whisking up the album, taking brittle demos into the studio before expanding into gorgeous landscapes of musical beautification using distorted guitar, synthesizers, fuzz bass, gospel choirs with a member of The Allman Brothers and The Eagles to boot the setting was seemingly set for all to enjoy the fruits of their labours.
What was conceived in the studio has gone down as yet another all-time great lost album, something that was seemingly driven by barely any promotion of the album at the time of its original release, treading a similar road that Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue suffered, which is a shame as No Other heard now stands up to rival the likes of Wilson and Skip Spence Oar, in the great long line of forgotten masterstrokes.
Opener Life’s Greatest Fool gracefully enters the proceedings, a mellow country number with the gospel backing choir backing the lyric ‘do you believe deep in your soul’ has the listener entrapped into its grip. Silver Raven is on the same flight as Silly Love Song by Wings, again with a country feel with touches of bottleneck guitar and vocal echoes, if the start of the album is anything to go by the rest should be a breeze.
Further highlights include the cool fuzz of the title track. A purring track that appeals to the hips with a murky back track it has similarities to One Of These Nights but with a cooler edge. Some Understanding is an 8 minute melancholy journey through rock and country with the addition of the gospel choir the track starts off innocently enough before building to a crescendo at the close with similar guitar twiddling’s to All Things Must Pass.
This new deluxe version has a number of editions including a super deluxe version featuring the original album mixed afresh at Abbey Road Studios with multiple alternate takes, non-album versions plus a documentary about Clark entitled The Byrd Who Flew Home: The Making of No Other by Paul Kendall plus a book by Steve Webbon No Other: The Making of a Masterpeice. With the addition of essays, previously unpublished photos, extensive liner notes, lyrics and credits plus exclusive flexi 7” via the 4AD store, this is literally the last word on this masterfully crafted album.
No Other can be purchased from the 4AD website.