The Byrd Who Flew Alone: The Triumphs and Tragedy of Gene Clark (DVD Review)
For a time, The Byrds were as big as Dylan and The Beatles. And Gene Clark, singer-songwriter and founding member, was central to their sound. He helped create folk rock, and after leaving The Byrds in 1966, he went on to record a number of astoundingly under-appreciated solo albums. Heâ€™s up there with Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt in the neglected-genius category. This documentary tells of Clarkâ€™s poor Missouri upbringing, his early talent, his recruitment by the New Christy Minstrels, his arrival in LA and the creation of The Byrds. Clark drank a lot and pissed people off, particularly record company execs. But that doesnâ€™t explain how his records could have been so overlooked. Clark didnâ€™t much care for success or fame, though he liked the royalty checks. He headed off into the country for a time, raising kids and writing songs. Eventually, his life fell apart, even though he reunited with core Byrds members in different projects. More about the making of Clarkâ€™s first three solo albums and more of his brooding, poetic songs themselves would have been welcome, but this documentary is a decent introduction to Clarkâ€™s work. Clark cultists may still find scraps of his career to investigate further, like Roadmaster, a collection of outtakes from the early â€˜70s.