teaching unplugged – in brief

So Rebellious A Lover (Gene Clark and Carla Olsen, 1986)

Sid Griffin of the Long Ryders writes affectionately of Gene Clark needing to crank up his voice before recording backing vocals with the band in 1984. This album features Gene cranked up good in partnership with Carla Olsen; as his tone veers at times to the lugubrious, and hers to the stentorian, the match benefits both. The playing and production are surprisingly idiomatic for the 1980s, and perfectly attuned to Clark’s ragged charms. It’s a hard-nosed album – the drifters of folk legend recast as illegal immigrants – with a soft and sunken heart, like a fire in the woods in the rain. The best of the songs are deeply affecting; Gene’s diction is starting to let him down, but Carla’s voice cleaves to his like the image of a happy relationship where someone might just settle down. He never did.


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