Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

August 12, 2020

Roger McGuinn & Chris Hillman, “City” (1980 LP)

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ROGER McGUINN and CHRIS HILLMAN, featuring GENE CLARK

“CITY” (Capitol Records LP, 1980)

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Former Byrds ROGER McGUINN, CHRIS HILLMAN, and GENE CLARK reunited for an album in 1979, ‘McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman,” which had a hit single and was rather well received. It’s a professional piece of work, but not something I play often.

McGuinn and Hillman reunited for a second album (Gene was initially a full partner on that, but dropped in and out of the sessions and sings on only two tracks, hence the “featuring Gene Clark” tag) called CITY in 1980, which had no hit single, but was a solid album that did have the drawbacks production-wise of typical 80’s albums. I had a cutout cassette of it and enjoyed it from time to time.

McGuinn and Hillman later did a third contractually-required album, released in 1981, imaginatively called McGUINN-HILLMAN. It had producer Jerry Wexler moving the boys into more of an R&B style, and it’s not something that Roger or Chris are that proud of, though professionals that they are, they do what they can. It’s not essential. After you’ve got every one of Roger’s self-issued albums (including the one of Sea Shanties) and all of Chris’s bluegrass and Desert Rose Band albums, you might want to track it down if it’s only a few dollars.

CITY, if you can accept the 80’s production (something I have to do any time I play Dylan’s EMPIRE BURLESQUE or George Harrison’s SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND or GONE TROPPO), is well worth listening to, at least once. I was wanting to hear it other day but had no idea where my cassette was, and it’s long out of print on CD (it came out briefly on One Way in the mid 90’s). Thankfully, it’s up on You Tube, and I believe that if you use the link below, it should stream the album for you, track by track.

Put it on while you are doing something….for me, pretty much anything McGuinn and Hillman have done is worthwhile. And you can get a taste of what the 80’s were like…thankfully, they are long gone…. Oh, it does not start with the best track, so just go along for the ride….

(sorry for the You Tube ads you’ll have to sit through, but the label has put up this album for us for free, so I’m going to let them get their 1/1000 of a cent for each play and just ignore the annoying ads….I guess whoever owns Capitol Records now figures 1/1000 of a cent per play is better than nothing)

July 11, 2020

Gene Clark’s “She Don’t Care About Time”

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In 2017, Mary Anne and I had the privilege of seeing Chris Hillman with his longtime partners Herb Pedersen and John Jorgenson at the Cactus Cafe at UT-Austin. It’s a relatively intimate venue, and I have been following Hillman’s work for nearly 50 years, so the performance was a bit transcendent for me. One of the many highlights of the show (which was riding on the wave of Hillman’s Tom Petty-produced album, the last thing Petty did before his passing) was Hillman’s performance of Gene Clark’s song “She Don’t Care About Time,” which Hillman and Clark of course recorded together as the B-side of the Byrds’ 1966 hit “Turn Turn Turn.” Hillman and Clark had a long history together after the initial run of The Byrds (look for my piece on their early 80’s band FLYTE elsewhere on this blog), and I’m sure there were many tears in the audience’s eyes as Hillman made his comments about Gene and turned in such a deep and thoughtful version of “She Don’t Care About Time.” One reason that Gene Clark’s music has such a connection to listeners is that his best songs feel like a poetic soul is sharing a confidence with you, the listener, in a way that seems beautiful and profound but also conversational, and welcoming, and it often leaves the listener with the feeling that some personal truth of our own has been felt and understood by this poet and shared in confidence between him and us. There’s also an elusive, inscrutable element to his lyrics that allow us to re-visit them for 50+ years and have them seem fresh and new and able to adapt to our own growth and new understandings.

Gene Clark was in a league of his own. So many first-rate singer-songwriters have said, in one way or another, “I think I’m good at what I do, and I’ve written some songs I’m really proud of, but I am definitely not on Gene Clark’s level. Gene was beyond all of us.”

I was happy to find online a performance by Chris Hillman of “She Don’t Care About Time” a few months after the one I saw, with Herb but minus John, and I’d like to share that with you. Hillman’s first recordings were in 1963, with the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers for the Crown budget-label in L.A. That is 57 years ago. Thank you, Chris Hillman, for the excellent work pretty much every year since then, never giving up, always moving on, always the professional who cares about giving the public what they paid for while keeping the purity of his art. That’s a hard balance to keep, and few have done it as well as Hillman (and also Roger McGuinn).

The link is right below….enjoy….

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CHRIS HILLMAN & HERB PEDERSEN, “She Don’t Care About Time”…. Fort Collins, Colorado, 5/19/2018 

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Here, the master himself re-interprets the song, as he often did, in a version that will stop you in your tracks.

GENE CLARK, “She Don’t Care About Time”… From the live album “Gene Clark & Carla Olson – Silhouetted in Light”.  Recorded in L.A. Feb. 1990.

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And here is one of my own most-played covers of the song, from the Flamin’ Groovies at their Byrds-iest.

THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES, “She Don’t Care About Time”….from the early 1980’s Goldstar Sessions, which I originally owned on a Skydog 12” EP.

 

in memory of GENE CLARK (1944-1991)

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