THE LOST MASTERS: 1963-1973
It was just over 50 years ago that the world was robbed of an incredibly talented artist, Clarence White. He was best known for his time with The Byrds (1969 – 1973) and The Kentucky Colonels (1963-1973). He also recorded a number of solo albums, although none of his solo recordings were released during his lifetime. He also worked with numerous artists, including Jackson Browne, The Everly Brothers, Joe Cocker, Rita Coolidge and Linda Ronstadt. The Lost Masters: 1963-1973 are some of the recordings he made over the years as a solo artist.
In honour of the 50th anniversary of his death, Liberation Hall provides a glimpse into his work and gives an idea of what might have been. White was a talented musician who combined bluegrass, folk, country and even some rock ‘n’ roll to make his own style of music. This album includes some previously unreleased solo songs, but also songs from The Byrds and The Everly Brothers. It gives an all too brief overview of his career.
The album is split into two halves, the first half being acoustic and the second being electric. The album opens with “No Title Yet Blues”, a fast-paced instrumental that acts as a brilliant introduction to this artist. A lot of the acoustic half is instrumental bluegrass. The Byrds’ “Yesterday’s Trains” is the first track to feature vocals. It is a different version than the one found on The Byrds’ Untitled (1970). It is a great song, featuring Roger McGuinn and it shows a very different side of the band.
The second half of the album is more electric and shows off White’s ability to add some serious rock to his bluegrass. The highlight is hearing White with Phil Everly and Eric Weissberg all playing together on the Everly Brother’s “I’m On My Way Home Again”. Again, this is an early version of the song that would wind up on The Everly Brothers’ single. White did not write many songs, but when he does, they stand out. “Around The Barn” is a driving rocker with wonderful country styling as its base. It is a fantastic song. Elsewhere, “Sally Goodin Meets The Byrds” is a playful song that, although instrumental, is a lot of fun and one can sense the energy and good time White is having. He does co-write a couple of songs, one with Gene Parsons (“Nashville West”) and one with Roger McGuinn (“Byrd Jam aka White’s Lightning”). Both songs would appear on Untitled, but the versions found here are early, raw attempts.
The Lost Masters:1963-1973 is a very important release. It helps in keeping the name Clarence White alive, an artist who was extremely talented and left far too early. The Lost Masters: 1963-1973 goes a long way in showing what this talented individual could do. One can only imagine the music he would have made, especially with artists such as Alison Krauss or Ricky Skaggs or even Jason Isbell. They all owe a debt to White, and this album helps explain why. The Lost Masters: 1963-1973 is a well put together compilation and one can only hope that it is the first of many.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: CLARENCE WHITE – THE LOST MASTERS: 1963-1973