After falling out of print for two decades, Gene Clark’s Two Sides to Every Story receives the reissue treatment this week. Recorded in 1976, the solo album captured Clark at a musical (and personal) crossroads, arriving just after the breakup of his marriage and three years after the dissolution of his biggest project, the Byrds, whose five original members had briefly reunited in 1973 before permanently calling it quits.
Clark had been one of the Byrds’ main songwriters during the mid Sixties, responsible for turning out classics like “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” and “Eight Miles High.” Still, he struggled to find a similar audience for his solo work. Two Sides to Every Story was meant to be his return to the mainstream, and Clark filled its tracks with a rootsy mishmash of blues, R&B, cosmic country and bluegrass, shot through with the lavish production of his producer, Thomas Jefferson Kaye. Joining him in the studio were a handful of guest musicians on both sides of the country/rock & roll divide, including Emmylou Harris, John Hartford, Al Perkins and Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. Released in 1977, the album didn’t return Clark to the top of the charts, but it did further his legend over the years, becoming a sort of seldom-heard, pitch-perfect soundtrack to an artist’s struggle to remain in the spotlight while still pushing boundaries.
Remastered and rereleased by High Moon Records, a New York-based label specializing in rare, out-of-print records, Two Sides to Every Story now includes an extra disc of live performances from 1975. A highlight from those live tracks is a bluesy version of “No Other,” the title track from Clark’s previous solo record, which he rarely performed in concert. Backed by the five-piece Silverado band — an outfit that Clark originally intended to join him in the studio for the Two Story sessions — the song sounds swampier and earthier than the album version from 1976, proof that Clark’s never truly outgrew his early roots in country music. Listen to the song below.