43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Masterpiece
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...
Published on 13 Aug. 2003 by Andy Clare
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm missing something here....
In the 60s I was a very big fan of the Byrds and thought Gene Clark’s voice ( albeit fairly shortlived in Byrds incarnation ) to be a fantastic instrument. However, I don’t quite get the adulation for this album (A well-known music review journal describes it as a “masterpiece”, and there are a lot of 5-star reviews here ).
Published 14 months ago by Worker Bee
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NO OTHER IS RIGHT!,
Gene Clark is underrated and criminally unsung. This is said to be his best album, and it is, but don't stop your buying here.
Carry on to Roadmaster and White Light.
44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely reissue of Clark's greatest album from 1974,
Rhino, as any seasoned music fan could tell you, tend to release the most thoughtful reissues- from the mastering to the sleevenotes to an array of extra tracks. & this version of 1974's No Other comes with the wonderful attention to detail common to such Rhino reissues as Everything Falls Apart & Loaded (which far exceeds the Collectors Choice Music version which appeared last year) How such a classic album can be unavailable for so long is a major question- & one that still applies to albums such as Pacific Ocean Blue, Star Sailor & Time Fades Away...
No Other was initially designed to be a double-album, though this plan was scuppered by Asylum Records owner David Geffen; the extra tracks are sadly not any new songs- we get six alternate takes of No Other tracks (of academic interest, I suppose) & an alternate take of 1968's Train Leaves Here This Morning. One wonders why? - perhaps it's just put on as The Eagles had covered it on their debut album?
No Other is Clark's masterpiece- though Clark had made some almost as great albums previously- notably The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard&Clark and 1971's White Light. But No Other is something else entirely, easily ranking up and beyond with such albums of the era as Exile on Main Street,461 Ocean Boulevard, Fresh ,Greetings from LA, Innervisions & On the Beach. It's an album that fuses rock, country, psychedelia, soul, jazz...there is no other!
Opener Life's Greatest Fool takes us straight to the heart of things- the album's themes of existentialism appear straight away ("Do you believe?" koo the soulful backing vocalists); this is a TB Sheets for the 1970s, or the 'cosmic rock' (a blend of country & rock) that Gram Parsons talked up, but never truly delivered. Silver Raven errs more to the southern gothic stream of things, with wonderful backing vocals and a cinematic/folky atmosphere. The title track takes us somewhere else entirely- the missing link between Big Fun, There's a Riot Goin'On & Dead Bees on a Cake. This sounds like the place where Eight Miles High was leading & remains Clark's most cosmic moment!
Strength of Strings will be familiar to This Mortal Coil fans, though the original has a wonderful complex of blues and harmonies that build up to the song proper- Clark's voice moving beyond the melancholy common to Here Without You or With Tomorrow and to another place beyond that. If you want to hear the human soul in song form- just play this song...
My fave track remains From a Silver Phial, possibly cos it features fellow-ex-Byrd (& Zelig of the 60s/70s music scene) Chris Hillmann on mandolin. Listen to that intro and note that Oasis might have heard this when composing Don't Look Back in Anger! The title is one that alludes to a darkness, though Clark almost refuses to give in to the void, as Neil Young did on Tonight's the Night. Listening to this song, you can only acknowledge how plastic The Eagles truly were...and if you want to hear an artist who is genuine...look no other-
Some Misunderstanding is the most epic track here- exceeding eight-minutes and sounding like the missing link between Glen Campbell's classic Jimmy Webb tracks & Screaming Trees lost classic Dust (1996) "There's been some misunderstanding/and I'd like to make it right...we all have souls, yet nobody knows/just how much it takes to fly"- Clark is moving into almost Rilkean territory- or is he Proust with a guitar & those achingly gorgeous vocals? The True One is more traditional country-rock, easily up there with Sweetheart of the Rodeo or GP...Clark never gets the credit in the country/rock sense (though this is changing...) What I love about No Other and what is typified by the songs, even the darker ones, is an idea that one will transcend, overcome...it is not an album that gives in to self-pity or self-destruction. It's an acknowledgement of existence equal to The Myth of Sisyphus (or at least Valis)- though its commercial failure would ironically lead to Clark's protracted alchol-related demise and his (too) early death in 1991.
The climax is suitably cinematic, if anyone wondered what Scott Walker would have sounded like had he been in The Byrds- look no other than Lady of the North (composed with old accomplice Doug Dillard and with amazing violin/keyboards...This song drifts across the American landscape, "as a change in the wind MUST come over the mountain/and the seasons roll under the sun, passing the shadows of our tears"- listen to this and realise just how fake people like Richard Ashcroft are (the guys been trying to fake a No Other for over a decade!). The moment where the song cuts just to Clark's voice and that piano, prior to the band coming back in, is truly wondeful- the arrangents thoughout No Other are amazing.
No Other remains for me one of the great albums of the 1970s- easily up there with such critics faves as Blue Afternoon, Surf's Up, Todd, Third/Sister Lovers, American Beauty & Blood on the Tracks. This reissue at great value budget price should hopefully lead towards critical reassessment for Clark; as a review in a free NME-book on classic albums noted: no No Other, no Screamadelica. For my money, and despite the endless lists of classic albums (see Paul Morley's Words & Music), I would place No Other in that Top Ten greatest albums. There simply was No Other and here it is again for you to hear in this definitive version...
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest 70s West Coast Rock album ever?,
Those of us in the know have always held that Gene Clark was the true lost genius of The Byrds. If you need any further convincing, buy this. Long unavailable on CD, vinyl copies of this unsung classic have been like gold dust for years as word of its reputation has spread amongst afficionados of The Byrds and Clark's other solo work. Signed to David Geffen's Asylum label after a less than successfull Byrds reunion, Clark set about making his magnum opus. No Other boasts a vast widescreen production on some cuts, including choirs, synthesisers, strings and some fine guitar playing courtesy of Jesse Ed Davis. But it's Clark's songs which truly astound, filled with impressionistic imagery and allegory. Clark's richly soulful vocals are an emotional tour de force, lending his lyrical flights even greater poignancy.
Life's Greatest Fool is a jaunty opener, initially seeming like a straightforward country shuffle until a gospel choir kicks in and takes it to another level. Silver Raven floats in on an ethereal melody, with Jesse Ed Davis contributing a fine slide guitar solo. The absolute highlight is the epic closing track Lady of the North, which builds from quiet openings before climaxing on washes of heavily reverbed wah wah guitars and electric violin. Saying that, every track on this album is a stunner - the title track itself is another stylistic departure for Clark, recalling Sly and the Family Stone in its synthesised funkiness and deft groove. Clark reputedly recorded other tracks for the album, but left them off to retain the album's mood. Although it would be great to hear any of those unreleased tracks, the album works as a cohesive whole as it is, and it's hard to think of it with additional music included.
No Other was buried on release - a combination of record company apathy and Gene's famed unwillingness to tour stymied its commercial chances. But then, Clark's entire career was one of unfulfilled potential, which is possibly one reason why he's revered so much by culty enthusiasts.
Sound quality on the CD is fine, though not having heard the original vinyl I can't comment on how it compares. Whatever - this album could be on a tatty C90 and it would still be the greatest solo album released by any member of the Byrds' extensive diaspora. What's more, you get the bizarre image of Gene dressed in frilly shirt, eyeliner and what appears to be cullottes on the back sleeve. What more could you want?
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grower,
This is a nice album with 7 bonus tracks. Wasn't that into it on first listen. His voice doesn't sound too different from Michael Nesmith on a few tracks. He's used some great musicians on this album: Mike Utley and Steve Bruton who played with Kristofferson, Chris Hillman plays some mandolin. Also guitar ace Jesse Ed Davies contributes here. All the songs have an uplifting element and Gene's voice seems to have an emotional strain throughout. This isn't an out and out country rock album, there's not much pedal steel and the backing vocals are more like a gospel choir than tight country arrangements.Sounds unlike anything else from that time or location. I like it more and more with each listen. There's nothing to dislike on this album.I would recommend it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice!!!,
a friend recommended this album to me as someone who likes the byrds/gram parsons genre and i must say after listening to it only once thru i'm impressed by the harmonies and lush instrumentation. there's some nice tunes here and thoughtfull lyrics. the whole album is nicely ballanced and sounds better as it goes on; a bit of a masterpiece i think. the bonus tracks are all good, not just rehersals like the those featured on some other reissues. this is a gem from the past that i somehow missed at the time. your record collection deserves this!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful - A Byrd Flies!,
When ex-Byrd Gene Clark died in 1991, the words 'No Other' were inscribed on his headstone. Released in 1974, No Other broke the mould - rather than a collection of songs, it feels like a single compostition, a tone poem, a bleak symphony.
While the opening track 'Silver Raven' bears some resemblance to his work with the Byrds, this is an illusion. Though a series of extended songs, developed slowly and elegently, Clark explores relationships and emotions in a way that will strike at your heart. Stange then that it is only recently I have looked at the words - for around 25 years it has been the mood of the music that has held me and made me come back to visit again and again. Perhaps only bands such as Pink Floyd (yes, really!) have produced albums which force you - like 'No Other' - to play them from start to finish. It almost seems reverential, but even in the 'quick and easy' age of digital music, I would never think of playing just one track - this is truly music to sit down to , listen to and enjoy.
Perhaps the ultimate 70's chill-out album?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Found a vinyl copy!,
"vinyl copies were about as easy to come by as Holy Grails, and so No Other has tended to circulate on homemade cassettes."
Found a lovely vinyl copy in my local record shop, waheey! It's an incredible album. Believe the hype.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous,
One of my top 5 albums of all time. One of the great classics of its time and of any other time. Uplifting, moving, sweping, epic. Listen on youtube then buy the product.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Other Indeed!,
Having seen a profile of GC on TV recently I bought this on impulse and have not been disappointed.
Product arrived promptly in perfect condition as promised.
The music may sound a little dated to some, but to a child of the 70's it is heaven.
Wonderful songs immaculately performed with the added bonus of more intimate stripped down version as well.
One of best purchases in a long time - played constantly and never bored.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars no other,
Like many people I've arrived late at Gene Clark ( I first became aware of him from the Teenage Fanclub's closing eponymous track on their album "Thirteen"). I then became obsessed by The Byrds and the multiplicity of collaborations and solo projects that followed of the original band members.
"No Other" is a complete revelation. His lyrics are dark and ambiguous and remind me of the poet John Clare and his ability to say so much but yet leave you guessing.
The production is fantastic and if you have a decent stereo turn it up loud as there is a great deal going on in the mix.
Gene Clark's name may not be well known to a lot of people who will like this record. Any fan of The Beatles, Dylan, Springsteen, Pink Floyd, The Smiths will appreciate it.
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