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4.8 out of 5 stars75
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 13 August 2003
This is quite simply one of the very best albums to have come out of West Coast America - ever. Heard in it's entirety, it is a work of staggering vision, scope and emotional depth. The quality of the songs, playing, arranging and production is breathtaking, but for me, it is Gene Clark's haunting voice, dripping wih melancholy, that makes this such an unsettling and unforgettable experience. One year after Gram Parsons death, Gene Clark picked up the cosmic torch and kept it burning bright.How Geffen allowed this masterpiece to sink without trace on it's initial release is beyond me, but perhaps it was a little too dark for mass appeal. Way ahead of it's time in 74, this sounds absolutely wonderful in 2003 and completely relevent. Insightful and moving liner notes from Johnny Rogan and Sid Griffin, plus fascinating alternative cuts make this a great value-for-money re-release. If you thought you knew everything there was to know about 70's West Coast music and you don't have No Other, you are in for a wonderful and hugely rewarding suprise.
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on 20 May 2002
Some albums defy description. No Other by the great late, lamented Gene Clark fits this discription. I can only describe the genre it fits in as American cosmic country. We are only talking about eight tracks here, but they represent a stunning achievement for Clark here. For the last time in his career, Gene had an innovative producer in Thomas Jefferson Kaye and a big production budget. Most of the songs deal with the metaphysical and the power of music. The album's greatest track is the outer space influenced, 'Silver Raven'. It's a beautiful evocative track, superbly decorated by the guitar work of Jesse Ed Davis. Other standout tracks are the voodoo funk of the title track, the Epic 'From A Silver Phial' and 'Strength Of Strings', although there is not a duff track. It's crying out for a UK release(I have a japanese import copy). This is an album which couldn't get arrested on release in 1974, but regularly gets in most critics best of lists. My words cannot do justice to this immense aural, musical achievement
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on 24 November 2005
A remarkable album by any standard. I can only endorse all the other positive reviews published here. It really is as good as everybody says. The expanded version includes 6 of the 8 tracks of the original album in more stripped down versions. This album competes, in its originality, with Van Morrison's Astral Weeks.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 December 2007
This is a record that I have known since its release in '74 - I had a tape copied from a friends copy of the LP. I have always loved it and was overjoyed when the the first CD version was released in 2002 - finally I got to hear the full production values - and this is a complex mix.
This version has some interesting tracks in addition and the mastering is slightly improved on the 2002 version - but for me the additions actually detract from the original.
Over the years I have heard echos of No Other in many artists I have liked - certainly Richard Ashcroft and latterly Cherry Ghost come to mind. I can't imagine what it would be like to hear this for the first time - but I can tell you that with repeated listens you may well come to love this as much as I do. Up there with the best albums ever produced.
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VINE VOICEon 10 March 2008
In December 1974 Gene Clark released No Other .The record company Asylum were not only fraught about the recording costs of the album -around $100,000 but on hearing the album were dismayed by the albums lack of commercial appeal and what they considered a dearth of songs. Adding to the confusion was the albums cover , a collage inspired by 1920,s Hollywood and with a photo of Clark sporting a lustrous bouffant, enormous flares and wearing more make up than Boy George in the early eighties.

The album was savaged by critics who labelled it pretentious, bloated and generally not very good and with Asylum neglecting to promote it No Other crept to the dizzy heights of 144 on the billboard charts. By 1976 No Other was deleted and Clark faded into obscurity until his death of causes related to alcoholism in 1991. Yet as is often the case the album has been re-appraised over the intervening years and Clarks embittered assessment that No Other was his masterpiece has proven to be correct with contemporary critics and musicians agreeing wholeheartedly with Clark that indeed No Other is a work of considerable genius. Re-released on CD in 2003 on the back of an excellent double CD compilation of his work -"Flying High"- which included three tracks off No Other this is an album that i would consider essential for any discerning music collection.

As for a dearth of songs.....well i count eight songs on this album of which at least six are truly outstanding, extraordinary ...choose your own adjective. For the recording of the album Clark paired up with producer Thomas Jefferson Kaye who would become the artists confidant for the remainder of his career. Clark had spent over in retreat at his home in Mendocino preparing material for the album or as he put it "Analyzing the material" but the recording sessions were mainly conducted in Los Angeles and used some of the best of the era,s session musicians including Craig Doerge on keyboards, bassist Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel on percussion and former Byrd Chris Hillman. The music that emerged from these sessions was complex with over-dubbed arrangements and intricate harmonies but crucially it never became self indulgent, prosaic or matter what people at the time thought.

"Life,s Greatest Fool" is a slightly mis-leading opener with a country tinged slice of melodic guitar picking but the lyrics hold far more weight than good ol, boy homilies with "Words can be empty , though filled with sound" and the multi layered harmonies of "Do you believe?" in the songs last third take it into transcendental territory . "Silver Raven" is more introspective with a bubbling yet understated bass line and tendrils of guitar and is about a satellite that was found transmitting signals that was believed to be 100 years advanced from our technology .The title track though marks a four song foray into a visionary brew of pop , rock with a little funk and the country stuff Clark was renowned for.

With a curious churning mixture of bass and guitar , gospel vocal backing , rattling percussion No Other feels both hugely melancholic yet strangely languorously ecstatic. I have never heard anything like it since. Rumour has it that Sly Stone was around during the recording of the album and that his presence may have influenced Clark and there is a discernible Sly And The Family Stone groove to this song.

"Strength Of Strings" should be majestic with a title like that and thankfully is. Covered by This Mortal Coil , who did a good job of it too, it,s still fair to say you haven,t really experienced this song in it,s satiated glory till you have heard the original .Plump piano note, creamy harmonies, and an incremental melody that just when you think it cannot achieve greater magnificence does just that. "From A Silver Phial" is an explosion of melody with more massive plonking piano notes, more of those harmonies..ohhh those harmonies, lusty guitar and a rubbery wah wah solo.

"Some Misunderstanding "is an epic eight minute ballad of such tender radiance and with such a truly superb Clark vocal that it brings a lump to my throat just writing about it. Clark does this without any of the comfort blankets that artists usually resort to for this type of material .No string arrangements , and I love string arrangements- just piano , keyboards guitars, nimble bass , percussion and velvety backing vocals -yet the sound is massive without being bombastic.

"The True One" harks back most closely to Clark,s country past with sanguine pedal steel ."Lady Of The North" is a gorgeous wah wah heavy ballad of all things written for his wife Carlie and was written by Clark and his old cohort Doug Dillard in a cocaine induced fugue , the final time they ever collaborated together.

I recently read ,more by accident than intention it must be said, Rolling Stones 500 greatest albums of all time. Utter shite like The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Def Leppard were in there but of No Other -not a mention. Anybody with a nano speck( Is there such a thing?) knowledge of music, and with all modesty I include myself , would surely have No Other in their top ten. A truly visionary album , an astounding complete work (By the way the extra tracks ,great though they are, are best listened to separate from the album proper) as Clark sings on Some Misunderstanding "We all need a fix / At a time like this". You will never ever , get a better fix for times like this than No Other.
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on 13 August 2002
It remains a scandal that a record as good as this is not available on CD. I've got an original vinyl copy that I'm scared to play. Cosmic country remains a great description of what this record offers and what really gets to you is the sheer wide screen feel of the thing. Rumour has it, that it was going to be a double Lp, but the support for that to happen wasn't there. A full release, in the way Gene & Thomas Jefferson Kaye intended will I hope deliver an album that for once will be able to live up to it's now ludicrous reputation.
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on 28 October 2003
I agree with all the reviewers on this one! I was only aware of Gene Clark's work with the Byrds until I got this CD - what a revelation this is! This album can go up against Pet Sounds, Blood on the Tracks and Revolver without any problems. At least three of the tracks could be contenders for 'most beautiful song ever'. It just makes you wonder why it has taken so long to get this out on CD! The album 'Gene Clark' is excellent too and well worth investigating.
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on 19 March 2007
'No Other' is one of those rare gems of a record that just gets better with each listen. I suppose, it's a bit like Astral Weeks by Van Morrison or like Ys by Joanna Newsom as at first it can seem hard to get into, but once you have you will never be able to get away from it! And that's a good thing, by the way! It's a record with different shades. It's hard to describe but there are songs on this album that are both happy and sad at the same time. For instance, the album's opener 'Life's Greatest Fool' with it's otherwordly country rock chuggerlong and gospel choir is both extactically uplifting and overwhelmingly sad at the same time. With lyrics like 'Children laugh and run away, while others look into the darkness of the day', the album is never less than profound. With Sly Stone contributing some mean funk on 'No Other' and 'Lady of the North' the musicianship is simply telephathic.

It is a shame Clark was snatched away from us through his booze and ill health as I think he would be pleased to know that many people are greatly moved by the 'No Other' experience. I hope that this joyous album is one you soon decide to purchase.
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on 17 June 2010
'No Other' is one of those epiphany albums. I bought my copy about 6 months ago. I liked it, but wondered what all the fuss was about. I came back to it every couple of weeks, it sounded very good, but not Gene's best (I still didn't get the fuss). Then I listened to it seriously (music & lyrics) again just this week. This was the epiphany moment. Now I cant stop playing the damn thing! This an album that demands to be played loud and to be listened to - not just played as background music (as so much music is). There is so much going on in each cut - apart from the fine G.C. vocal - that really draws the listener in and demands attention. Now I know what all the fuss was about- this album is indeed a criminally overlooked masterpiece. I'm impressed with this album.... very impressed.
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2007
Having contributed many wonderful short, simple songs that pass for country rock during the 1960s, Gene Clark here turned the genre into epic form. 'No Other' is a collection of exquisitely arranged and produced extended songs, bolstered by lush acoustic guitars and a battery of backing vocalists. 'Life's Greatest Fool' sets the tone for Clark's melancholy and 'Silver Raven' develops it in plaintive fashion. Both are in familiar country rock vein, but from there on Clark ventures into darker, electric rock territory.
The title track features slithering bass notes and an insistent, menacing melody. 'Strength Of Strings' maintains the tension. 'From A Silver Phial,' the shortest track at just under four minutes offers the only break in the intensity. 'Some Misunderstanding,' the longest track at eight minutes, follows it, a magnificent track. 'The True One' helps you wind down a little before the unforgettable aching of 'Lady Of the North.'
Clark has a habit of elongating his syllables, which is occasionally irritating, particularly where he comes up with dumb lines like 'she had wings to fly.' Even so, this is nothing less than a classic album, one that doesn't overwhelm you immediately, but gets you gradually.
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