“Flying high above the clouds, we lay in the grassy meadow. The earth was like a pillow for our dreams.”
I did eventually pick up Gene Clark’s No Other on CD thanks to the publicity of this concert series. I have not yet listened to it. I planned instead for a long revue to take place this fall, of some 20 or so CDs that I bought from the now defunct a.k.a Music on its last weekend open to the public, No Other among them. Hard to believe that was two years ago already, but here we are.
In the meantime, enjoy Lady of the North, the final song on the album, as rendered by The Gene Clark No Other Band. Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen sings lead.
A bit of back story to the song and album, from Wikipedia, from Gene Clark:
The whole album was written when I had a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. I would just sit in the living room, which had a huge bay window, and stare at the ocean for hours at a time. I would have a pen and paper there, and a guitar or piano, and pretty soon a thought would come and I’d write it down or put it on tape. In most instances, after a day of meditation looking at something which is a very natural force, I’d come up with something.
Lady of the North was apparently the product of a drug abuse relapse:
Contrary to rumors that many of the album’s songs were conceived under the influence of mescaline and other drugs, Clark’s wife Carlie stated in Mr. Tambourine Man: The Story Of the Byrds’ Gene Clark that he was sober throughout the Mendocino years and was disinclined to experiment for the sake of his children. Living up to the “hillbilly Shakespeare” moniker accorded him by later band mate John York, the weighty and ponderous nature of most of his lyrics from the period were drawn from his Christian upbringing and discussions regarding Carlos Castaneda, Theosophy and Zen with his wife and friends like David Carradine and Dennis Hopper.
Entering the studio in April 1974, he was paired with producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye, who subsequently would become Clark’s collaborator for the next fifteen years. … Initially, Carlie Clark and the children temporarily relocated with him to Los Angeles, in the hope that the family routine of Mendocino could be preserved. However, it was not long before Clark reacquainted himself with L.A.’s party circuit and the latest fashionable drug – cocaine. After his disgusted wife moved the family back to Northern California, Clark established a house with old friend and band mate Doug Dillard in the Hollywood Hills; “Lady of the North”, the album’s closer, was written by the twosome in a cocaine haze, their final collaboration on a song.
With that, enjoy Lady of the North, and this preview of the fall revue: