GENE CLARK Flyin' High
The flightless Byrd, then. Gene Clark came up with his elliptical tribute to air flight, ‘Eight Miles High’, quit The Byrds due to a morbid fear of aeroplanes and dedicated the rest of his life to drinking himself to death and inventing country rock. Had he died, like Gram Parsons, when he was young and beautiful, we would know this story well.
‘Flyin’ High’ shines a light into the inner darkness of an enigma. From the baroque country-pop of ‘Why Not Your Baby’ to the sparse balladeering of ‘In A Misty Morning’, these are songs which have the world-weary tone of a long-term loser but also an almost desperate desire to tinker with the musical strictures of his musical genre. To achieve broader acceptance was his aim; and that both Salt-N-Pepa and the Lightning Seeds would latterly have hits with Clark’s ‘You Showed Me’ shows that more people were listening to his music than the resigned air of his later work would indicate.
Indeed, with such diverse luminaries as Primal Scream and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci bending a longing ear to his erratic brilliance, there’s never been a better time to investigate this quiet corner of history. A high flier, whatever.