reissues of “gene clark with the gosdin brothers” (gene clark part 3)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 4 min­utes.

IN JULY 1966, COLUMBIA RECORDS an­nounced that Gene Clark had left the Byrds. A month later, Clark was in the studio recording as a newly signed Co­lumbia solo artist. In No­vember 1966, his first single, Echoes, was is­sued with great fan­fare and con­sid­er­able ex­pense. Nonethe­less, it bombed. In Feb­ruary 1967, his album was is­sued with con­sid­er­ably less en­thu­siasm from and a no­tice­ably smaller pro­mo­tion cam­paign by Co­lumbia. Pre­dictably, it bombed. 

Within a year of re­lease, GENE CLARK WITH THE GOSDIN BROTHERS was out of print and a hard record to find for fans, many of whom didn’t even know it had been re­leased! Then a funny thing hap­pened in the early ’70s: both the “singer-songwriter” phe­nom­enon (cour­tesy of Carol King and James Taylor) and country-rock (cour­tesy of the Ea­gles and Jackson Browne) caught the record-buying pub­lic’s attention.

On top of that, Clark’s WHITE LIGHT album for A&M had sold mod­estly well in 1971, es­pe­cially in Eu­rope. The decision-makers at Co­lumbia re­con­sid­ered the money lost on the Gene Clark album and de­cided to in­vest even more money on it! They paid to have Clark re­vamp the album: He recorded new lead vo­cals and remixed the orig­inal tracks. This ‘new’ album was is­sued in 1972 as COLLECTORS ITEM – EARLY L.A. SESSIONS (Co­lumbia KC-31123).

It’s an in­ter­esting record: Clark’s vo­cals are warmer, deeper, a bit more ma­ture. The backing vo­cals are less promi­nent. And for some reason, El­e­vator Op­er­ator was left off the final record, so this album had ten tracks in­stead of eleven.

But like the orig­inal re­lease, it only sold a few copies, was deleted from Columbia’s cat­alog, and qui­etly found its way into the cut-out bins of Amer­ican de­part­ment stores.

Here’s what Clark should have done: erased the Gos­d­in’s over­dubbed vo­cals from the orig­inal eleven tracks, added The French Girl and Only Colombe, and then remixed the tracks to his taste. The re­sulting album could have been more ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled some­thing like GENE CLARK 1966-1967. 



This crappy cover art prob­ably didn’t help sell this record to anyone other than Clark fans who hadn’t found an orig­inal 1967 album. Co­lumbia shipped stock copies of the album to radio sta­tions with a title and timing sticker af­fixed to the front cover.

The album that just won’t go away

By the 1980s, GENE CLARK WITH THE GOSDIN BROTHERS had be­come a hot item on the col­lec­tors market. There was even enough de­mand among new fans that it has been reis­sued sev­eral times on vinyl. A few of these reis­sues are now col­lec­table to some degree.





CBS/Sony 20AP-1976

CBS/Sony of Japan is­sued the first fac­simile edi­tion of this album in 1981. Very few copies were ex­ported and this is a hard record to find thirty-five years later. The album with the blue paper strip (obi) is the 1981 pressing; the album with the red obi may be a later pressing, or it may have a dif­ferent cat­alog number. This record is out of print.




Edsel ED-263

Seven years later, Edsel Records pro­vided fans with a second fac­simile edi­tion. While the front cover art re­mained the same, Edsel wisely dropped the song title from the lower left and right cor­ners. The back cover art was mod­i­fied slightly. By this time, small record stores had popped up across the country and this album was im­ported by many of them, and con­se­quently was easily found for a while. This record is out of print.






United States
Sun­dazed LP-5062

In 2000, the Amer­ican spe­cialist im­print Sun­dazed brought out an­other edi­tion, this time pressed on 180-gram virgin vinyl.  But un­like the others, this in­cluded three bonus tracks: both sides of the un­re­leased single Only Colombe and The French Girl, plus a demo ver­sion of So You Say You Lost Your Baby.

The front cover art was iden­tical to the orig­inal, in­cluding the song ti­tles. But the back cover was dra­mat­i­cally al­tered, and for the better, re­placing the dull shot of Rex and Vern with a great photo of Gene and added liner notes!

The record la­bels looked like those of the orig­inal 1967 Co­lumbia record. There are two vari­a­tions on this label: 

First press­ings have “Co­lumbia” and “360 Sound Stereo” in white print. This ver­sion is out of print.
Second press­ings have “Co­lumbia” and “360 Sound Stereo” in black print. This ver­sion is still avail­able from Sun­dazed.

The image at the top is a sealed copy with a sticker on the shrinkwrap that reads “Renew your faith in music” and notes the spe­cial vinyl. 




Music On Vinyl MOVLP-1423

The most re­cent fac­simile edi­tion is from Music On Vinyl pressed on 180-gram virgin vinyl. Music On Vinyl li­censes their ti­tles from record com­pa­nies and artists who con­trol their own reper­toire. This record is still in print.


GeneClark Colombe ps 1000

FEATURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page was cropped from the Sun­dazed single Only Colombe / The French Girl. This single was sched­uled for re­lease by Co­lumbia in 1967 but pulled and the two sides left sit­ting on a shelf for decades. I cropped the image of Gene from the pic­ture sleeve and then I messed around with the colors.

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