Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Song of the Week: Dillard and Clark Expedition -- Polly

We present to you today a beautiful song that we have previously been reluctant to post on this site. We were hesitant because the song is so nuanced and so mellow, that we have feared the click-happy listener won't take the time to get it. But bollocks to the click happy world. This is a great song that you need to hear!

The song is Polly by the Dillard And Clark Expedition, a proto-alt country band that featured the former Byrds frontman, Gene Clark. We think so much of his work that he is only the third artist to get a repeat posting. [In fact, for a detailed history of Gene Clark, we strongly encourage you to read the article from two years ago about his song, Out On The Side, which can be accessed by clicking here.]

Polly is from the Dillard And Clark Expedition's second, and final, album, Through The Morning, Through The Night. It's one of the two songs from the 1969 album, along with the stellar title track, that was later covered by the Robert Plant, Alison Krauss collaboration album entitled Raising Sand. An excellent album produced by T-Bone Burnett, whom we suspect of bringing the songs to the table. With all due respect to the Plant/Krauss cover of this rare gem, I much prefer the Gene Clark version. Where Plant's performance is dark and brooding and heightens the sense of a stalker as our protagonist, Clark sings the song with a sense of loss and sadness that speaks nicely to a protagonist filled with the lament of "what could have been?".

If the wild bird could speak, he'd tell of places you have been
He's been in my dreams and he knows all the ways of the wind.
Polly come home again. Spread your wings to the wind.
I felt much of the pain as it begins.

The violin work of Byron Berline adds to that sense of sadness of loss and matches the acoustic guitar arpeggios at 1:22 and again at the end of the song, ever so nicely. We hope you take time to sit back and listen to this one without obstruction.


  1. What a soulful song. Clark really took soulfulness to a new level in music. It has a G. Dead feel I might add.

    I just recently got the pun on their name, as in Lewis and Clark. Duh.

    I really like the lead in guitar work which we later hear under the fiddle.

    Thanks for sharing! Makes me want to revisit his earlier Byrd tunes.

  2. That early stuff with Gene Clark out front is really amazing. But so is the later stuff with Clarence White. Of the early stuff, seek out If You're Gone, an album track on the rather mediocre Turn, Turn, Turn album. Wow.

  3. This is a real surprise I didn't even know it existed and I am a Byrds fan. Found your site through a search for Robert Plant.

    1. Nice to have you. Bookmark us or subscribe to the RSS feed (under the Subscribe Button on the black bars in the right of the page).