Doug Dillard and Gene Clark recorded two albums together and they are combined in this bargain CD. Clark's wonderfully expressive voice is backed up by Dillard's more jokey delivery. The music is played with gusto - listen out for mandolin, banjo and fiddle playing in an obviously cheerful atmosphere. Really refreshing, especially for anyone who has always thought country was nothing but 'Dyin' Dog Music'. If this doesn't change your mind, nothing will!
Doug Dillard (ex-Dillards) and Gene Clark (ex-Byrds) teamed up to together and recorded two albums in the late sixties. Those albums are included here together with other tracks not released on either album, so this set contains everything that Dillard and Clark recorded together for A+M. Although their style is generally described as country rock, their music contains plenty of bluegrass, too – if you don’t like the sound of the banjo, you may not appreciate this album.
The first album, Fantastic expedition of Dillard and Clark, contains many original songs, often written or co-written by Gene Clark. One such song, Train leaves here this morning, was written by Gene with Bernie Leadon who later helped form the Eagles – a cover of the song appeared on the first Eagles album. Git it on brother is a cover of an obscure Lester Flatt song.
Next come the three bonus tracks, which include a distinctive cover of Elvis Presley’s Don’t be cruel.
The second album, Through the morning through the night, contains fewer originals and more covers, including Rocky top (a country hit for Lynn Anderson and a smaller country hit for the Osborne brothers), So sad (Everly brothers), Four walls (Jim Reeves), Don’t let me down (Beatles), No longer a sweetheart of mine (Reno and Smiley) and Rollin my sweet baby’s arms (Bill Monroe). This album also features a female singer, Donna Washburn, who sings lead on Rocky top as well as backup on other tracks.
The country and bluegrass aspects of their music are a little more obvious in the second album than the first. Which album you prefer may depend on your own musical taste, but both are excellent in their different ways.
This is an intriguing collection, containing elements of music to be found elsewhere but still sounding different to anything else I’ve heard. Like so much country rock music of the time, it was not commercially successful at the time because the public was not ready for such a mix.
on 25 February 2010
That's the name of a Gene Clark album from 1977. So, we have two sides here- the first album which was amazing and in many ways, unique- a bluegrass album with added zip heading into another dimension- probably illegal substance induced. This album, alone, justifies the purchase of this collection. However, some complete idiot has dumped the two bonus tracks into the middle of this first album completely ruining the feel of the complete whole. These tracks should have been between the two albums or at the end of the last album. I have been playing this first album for over 35 years and will never tire of it. The second album is more of a country rock effort with often all the chugging feel of rock with an overlay of banjo, harmonica, dobro, you name it, it's there, and as such, it appears a little over-produced although there is some straight bluegrass- the bluegrass on album one is only "straight" on "Git it On Brother". I am sure that the record company wanted a more commercial sound, and there's a lot more going on- pedal steel guitar, melodic piano, Donna Washburn on vocals etc. Many of the songs are excellent- it just lurches about a bit whereas the first album whisked you off on a very specific journey with a coherent dynamic, throughout. There's no doubt that Gene Clark was a songwriter of the highest calibre-as Chris Hillman (who played on virtually,if not all, of Gene's albums has commented)that it was amazing the way he was able to write so many great songs with depth yet with such spare lyrics as he was not a man of great education- or particularly well read. The background to these albums is dealt with in the book "Mr Tambourine Man" and there's no doubt that Dillard and Clark were not in the best shape professionally at this time-there's an awful recollection of their residence of the Troubadour Club described as a "monumental disaster" due to excessive consumption of whatever. On their debut performance Doug Dillard at one point leaped into the air and landed on his fiddle. Don Beck the mandolin player walked off and never returned for the whole week's residence. So, there you have it, a collection of fine music- one album that's in a class of its own, another that is good but bears all the hallmarks of a musical compromise to keep the show on the road and keep the record company from losing faith in a project that's lost its way, somewhat- along with the principals who probably never really found it in the first place. As we know, these pioneers- including label mates The Flying Burrito Bros were opening doors for more disciplined and polished acts to clean up in their wake- including Dillard & Clark, FBB alumnus turned Eagle, Bernie Leadon, who describes the week at The Troubadour as the most embarrassing experience of his career.
on 15 June 2008
Gene Clark and the Byrds were really the catalyst for country music being taken more seriously than it had during the 60a.His first solo album was made with the Gosdin Brothers-who were not to see any chart action until Vern Gosdin in the next decade.
With Sweetheart of the Rodeo the Byrds went headlong into country music and probably invented country rock as urban met rural
The 2 albums as Dillard & Clark were not among the biggest sellers but are always going to sound better than the Eagles who are more a rock band.
This is the real deal
on 3 May 2014
Way ahead of it's time, and so unjustly forgotten, The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark is a brilliant album. The only criticism is that is was a bit short, and a couple of tracks have been inserted in the middle to bulk it up. One of these, Why Not Your Baby, was probably intended as a single and is OK, but not up to the other material. The styles vary from Byrds (Gene Clark was, of course, a singer in the Byrds), Country, Blue Grass, and Folk. There is a lot of banjo, mandolin, harmonica, and fiddle and, together with Gene Clark's supreme voice, the sound of the instruments is one of the pleasures of the album. The songs are great too, and Train Leaves Here This Morning, and With Care From Someone are absolute classics.
Also on the CD is Through the Morning Through the Night which is more Country in style. There are a lot more covers and it is overall less satisfying (hence why the whole only gets 4 stars), but the title track and Polly (both covered by Plant & Kraus on their Raising Sand album) are both excellent. Indeed, you have to admire the courage of Plant taking on Polly after hearing Clark's effortless singing.
on 17 February 2014
After a year or so of struggling to find the right musical direction, following his abrupt departure from The Byrds, Gene Clark hooked up with Doug Dillard and proceeded to invent country rock - ahead of Gram Parsons, ahead of the Burritos and years before D&C sideman Bernie Leadon took it on to mass acceptance with The Eagles. Fantastic Expedition is close to a perfect album: great songs, great singing and great playing. Through The Morning is far less consistent (the band was already falling apart when it was made) but still has some real high points. The story of Dillard & Clark, and the making of these albums, is told in 'The Byrd Who Flew Alone' - a documentary about Gene's life and work, which is available from Four Suns Productions.
on 26 September 2014
Never really been a lover of the banjo before but this fantastic disc has seduced me. The songs are great and the singing and playing absolutely superb, the uptempo songs really pack a punch. Includes one of the best Beatles covers and a lovely Everleys track.
Up there with the wonderful GP/Grievous Angel collection for me
on 17 April 2012
Some superb songs,the best of which are acoustic bluegrass-style with mandolin and banjo at the forefront, featuring the fast-fingered banjo of Douglas Dillard and the original songwriting talents of Gene Clark. Just very enjoyable and will stay in your head for days!
Gene Clark and Doug Dillard made two albums together, and this bargain priced disc combines them. Imagine the Beatles' Don't Let Me Down done bluegrass. The singing and playing are superb - helping to undo much of the lingering prejudice about country music being dull. This is a delight.
on 4 February 2016
The Fantastic Expedition are absolutely brilliant, a must for everyone interested in folkrock, countryrock. Gene Clark was genius! Their second album was a little more uninspired, but still have som great moments.