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Clarence White (from the album The Lost Masters 1963-1973 on Liberation Hall) (by Lee Zimmerman)
The second longest serving member of The Byrds — whose tenure took place long after the break-up of the original ensemble — guitarist Clarence White can well be considered a Country Rock pioneer whose seminal work with the Kentucky Colonels helped lay the foundation for what would become the norm for Americana several decades later.
The reissue of these rare tracks — mostly instrumental with the exception of an early version of The Byrds’ “Yesterday’s Train” from the Untitled album, a rehearsal take of “I’m on My Way Home” from a one-off session with the Everly Brothers, and a half-baked original, “Around the Barn”, which finds the players repeating the title over and over throughout — offer fine examples of Clarence White’s fluid yet precise flat-picking style. The material spans his early work with The Kentucky Colonels through his work with the abbreviated super group Nashville West and eventually on to The Byrds, with various session efforts shared in-between.
To be sure, most of the recordings are fairly rough around the edges, either because they’re simply jams or merely early attempts to nail down something in the studio. Nevertheless, White’s singular finesse still stands out. Players in attendance include such luminaries as Byrds Roger McGuinn, Gene Parsons, and Skip Battin; Flying Burrito Brother’ Byron Berline; and multi-instrumentalist Eric Weissberg. So too, the extensive liner notes offer a fairly thorough recap of White’s career up until the time of his death, the result of being struck by a drunk driver while he and his brother Roland were loading up their gear outside a club after a show. It also should be noted that each of these 14 tracks previously appeared on an album titled White Lightnin’, a limited-edition CD released by Sierra Records in 2009.
That said, the familiarity factor may seem somewhat limited to those with only a passing awareness of Clarence White’s work. An instrumental version of “Ode To Billie Joe”, a handful of outtakes from the Untitled sessions — “Sally Goodin Meets the Birds”, “Byrd Jam aka White’s Lightning”, and “Around the Barn” — and the signature instrumental “Nashville West “ are the most obvious offerings of interest, but anyone with a hankering for bluegrass guitar will likely find plenty that’s of special significance here as well. These Lost Masters are nothing less than an excellent example of White’s prowess and profundity. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Clarence White from AMAZON
Please visit the Clarence White website for more information
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