Dillard & Clark / Doug Dillard / Gene Clark

The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark

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Gene Clark was the greatest underrated singer/songwriter to emerge from the '60s rock explosion, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Neil Young. This album, his debut as a duo with virtuoso banjoist/guitarist Doug Dillard, is perhaps his most brilliant recording. Out of the ashes of the Byrds and a brilliant false start of a solo career (the excellent Echoes album), the 1968 Dillard & Clark project found Clark collecting some of his finest material (basically the entire album) and putting it in the familiar context of bluegrass and country, a good year before these elements became vogue in the pop world. But Gene Clark was always ahead of his time. Bookended by two exquisite autobiographical explorations into consciousness -- "Out on the Side" and "Something's Wrong" -- the album's other tracks run from mournful ballad statements such as "Radio Song" to joyous celebrations like "With Care from Someone." There is also a very hot cover of the gospel number "Git It on Brother," which features Chris Hillman on mandolin. Doug Dillard's playing on the record is uniformly excellent. Not only a virtuoso musician, Dillard is a truly smart player who never gets in the way of the songs. Graceful, spellbinding, and tasteful all at the same time. Absolutely essential.

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