Five for Friday: Gene Clark

Here we go again. Five songs by a great songwriter. I have been listening to Gene Clark since his days with The Byrds. He was the principle songwriter in the band. “I’ll feel a whole lot better,” “The World Turns All Around Her,” and “Eight Miles High.” Then he went solo. Here are five of my favorite. All these songs have a timelessness to them.

Full Circle by The Byrds

Fair and Tender Ladies by Gene Clark & Carla Olson

Rain Song by Gene Clark

Polly by Gene Clark

The Virgin by Gene Clark

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: The Weight

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is The Band’s “The Weight”:

There is no other song that I know of that conjures up America the way that The Band’s “The Weight” does. And it’s funny. Four of the five members of the Band were Canadians.

It’s like they went down to that Mother of All Rivers, the Mississippi, dipped their hands into the water, and drank. ‘Cause the imagery that mixes place and spirituality is so American. If I were to encounter a fellow from Mars, if he asked me, “What is this place called America,” I would play him this song.

The opening chords Robbie Robertson makes, then Levon Helm all-American sings, “I pulled into Nazareth,” and later Rick Danko’s voice joins in, and then those Staples give it their stamp. I know I am in a special place. It’s timeless and grounded in the soil.

And it is easy to imagine folks like Fanny and Miss Moses, Luke and Crazy Chester. It is easy to imagine that Carmen and the Devil would be walking side by side. After all, this is the kind of place where Robert Johnson went down to the Crossroads and drank from a jug of blues.

This is just about a perfect song. I can’t think of a thing that would improve it. Like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, this one here sure brings tears to Uncle Bardie’s eyes. Like so many of the good things in this here life, it’s something special to share.

It sure is nice to know that there was all those other performers like  Aretha with Duane Allman got the faith and baptized it with their own sound.