Saturday, January 5, 2008

47.Gene Clark & Carla Olson - Gypsy Rider (So Rebellious a Lover,1987)

An exquisite pairing of talent, the duo of Carla Olson and Gene Clark apparently came out of casual living room sessions while Clark was preparing for another project. The feeling of spontaneity and closeness of spirit engulfs all of the cuts here. Olson's strident and powerful vocals mesh beautifully with Clark's slightly world-weary, soulful performances. As for the material, both songwriters obviously put their best foot forward here. Olson's "The Drifter" and "Are We Still Making Love" are excellent country-folk outings. Clark contributes one of his finest later compositions, "Gypsy Rider," a multi-leveled song that can easily be viewed as autobiographical. Excellent support is provided by an array of backing musicians, especially Stephen McCarthy (lap steel and dobro) and guest Chris Hillman (mandolin). Chemistry is the operative word here. The only sad thing is that So Rebellious a Lover was to be the only studio effort by the duo before Clark passed away in 1991. This record is important not only for what it is, but for what it could have become.

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