Gene Clark — For A Spanish Guitar
from White Light (1971)
My interest in The Byrds is generally limited to the period in which Gram Parsons worked for the band. It was just a brief stint, enough time to record the masterpiece Sweetheart of the Rodeo, before Gram’s demands grew untenable for the group (higher salary, renaming the group ‘Gram Parsons and The Byrds,’ threats to Roger McGuinn’s leadership). Less than a year after joining, Gram struck out on his own.
At any rate, suffice to say I’d neglected the solo output of the original, founding members of the Byrds. That’s where this Gene Clark album comes in. An on-again, off-again founding member of the group, this album is the result of a period he spent living on the northern California coast with his wife and children, nestled in the hills of Mendocino, and the songs capture that ‘loner sound’ few guitarists do well. Songs that sound like they’re sung for the wind, for you, and no one else.
This track is the standout on the album, mournful though it sounds. Dylan supposedly said once that it’s a tune he’d have been proud to write. But he didn’t. Gene Clark did.