CD Roadmaster [Digipak] (CD 15778996),
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Roadmaster [Digipak]

  • 1. She's The Kind Of Girl
    2. One In A Hundred
    3. Here Tonight
    4. Full Circle Song
    5. In A Misty Morning
    6. Rough And Rocky
    7. Roadmaster
    8. I Really Don't Want To Know
    9. I Remember The Railroad
    10. She Don't Care About Time
    11. Shooting Star
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): SC 6266CD

  • Credits

    Recording information: 1970-1972.
    In yet another example of the bad luck that dominated Gene Clark's life after leaving the Byrds, in 1971, Clark released one of the finest albums of his career, White Light, only to see it crash and burn in the American marketplace, prompting A&M Records to wash their hands of the singer/songwriter before he could complete his second LP for the label. However, White Light had sold well in Holland, so eight tunes that had been completed for the second A&M album were paired with three tracks Clark had cut with the reunited Byrds, and in 1972, the material appeared in the Netherlands under the name Roadmaster. If you didn't know this album was a cut-and-paste job, you'd never know it to judge from the final product; Roadmaster is not quite as consistent as White Light, but Clark's vocals are uniformly splendid, the songs are first-rate, and this record captured the languid, sweetly melancholy beauty of his music with grace and potent emotional power. The first three songs, which Clark cut with the Byrds, make clear how strong an impact they had on one another; his voice blends well with the group's stellar harmonies, and Roger McGuinn's guitar work (and some pedal steel from Sneaky Pete Kleinow on "Here Tonight") reinforce the country and folk influences of the melodies, but it's clear that these are Clark's songs, and his approach dials back just a bit of the band's energy to let the texture of the melodies and the lyrics come to the surface. The other eight tunes, recorded with a variety of country-rock notables and session pros, lack a bit of the snap of the openers, but they also give Clark greater room to stretch out as a vocalist, and it's clear this was a man who was best off not rushing things -- the ease with which he paces through "In a Misty Morning," "I Remember the Railroad," and a remake of "She Don't Care About Time" confirms that his tales of lost love and lonely souls worked a powerful magic at a slower tempo, and even the rough-and-rowdy title cut takes its sweet time while it swaggers. In retrospect, it's easy to see why music as contemplative and thoughtful as Clark's wasn't embraced in the marketplace with the same enthusiasm as, say, the Eagles, but it's baffling that he didn't at least attract a larger cult -- Roadmaster is like a fine brandy, mellow but full of fire and ideal for contemplating the sad mysteries of the heart and soul late at night. ~ Mark Deming

  • Critic Reviews
    Q (6/91) - 3 Stars - Good - "...these melancholy, reflective tunes have a charming fragility and escape the cloying self-regard and heavy-handed production of LA singer-songwriters they prefigure."
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