7E-1104 Clear Sailin'
Produced by Jim Mason
Released on 1977
Find it at GEMM
7E-1104 cover
[high resolution photo]

I maginary wrasslin’ match, the first: Clear Sailin’ vs. Thirty-Three & 1/3 (The Bearded Byrd vs. the Shaven Beatle). It’s something I’ve been toying with in my head lately, finding a fitting partner in the same weight class and letting them go toe to toe. Of course The Beatles were bigger (and better) than The Byrds, Harrison more spiritual than Hillman, a better guitarist to boot, but you get the analogy. Both are boogaloo albums: soft rock with some funky horn charts and a country honky-tonk heart. Harrison’s had two legitimate hits (“This Song,” “Crackerbox Palace,”), Hillman’s doesn’t. Take away the two hits, though, and they’re pretty similar. “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” stacks upon fine against a “Learning How to Love You,” “Ain’t That Peculiar” to “Woman Don’t You Cry For Me,” “Fallen Favorite” to “See Yourself,” “Clear Sailin’” to “Pure Smokey.” Hillman is more Eagles than Beatles I realize, but I don’t own any Glenn Frey solo albums so I’m going with what I’ve got. Both Hillman and Harrison had professional bands behind them; here, Skip Edwards and Al Garth deserve special mention. Lyrically, however, Clear Sailin’ isn’t always clear. The opening “Nothing Gets Through,” for example, consists of a string of nonsensical similes, which I’m pretty sure was the intent but still doesn’t start the record off on a strong note. (You could argue that “Woman Don’t You Cry For Me” was an odd way to open Thirty-Three & 1/3 too.) “Quits” is also clumsily worded. As a solo artist, Chris Hillman doesn’t have the vocal presence of a Roger McGuinn or his dramatic sensibilities. He needs the help, the harmonies and a prevailing wind to push him along. Clear Sailin’ is a mostly competent album of country/rock/disco (“crud” to the rest of you), designed for the kind of people who buy all of George Harrison’s albums just because.

7E-1104 back cover 7E-1104 picture sleeve
7E-1104 back cover 7E-1104 picture sleeve


  1. NOTHING GETS THROUGH    (Chris Hillman/Peter Knobler)    4:22
  2. FALLEN FAVORITE    (Peter Knobler/Chris Hillman)    3:29
  3. QUITS    (Danny O'Keefe)    3:22
  4. HOT DUSTY ROADS    (Chris Hillman/Peter Knobler)    3:04
  5. HEARTBREAKER    (David Wolfert/Carole Bayer Sager)    5:24
  6. PLAYING THE FOOL    (Chris Hillman/Dan McCorison)    3:55
  7. LUCKY IN LOVE    (Peter Knobler/Chris Hillman)    2:30
  8. ROLLIN' AND TUMBLIN'    (Chris Hillman)    4:26
  9. AIN'T THAT PECULIAR    (William "Smokey" Robinson/Warren Moore/Robert Rogers/Marvin Tarplin)    2:44
  10. CLEAR SAILIN'    (Chris Hillman/Rick Roberts/Richard Marx)    4:31


CHRIS HILLMAN -- vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
JOHN BRENNAN -- lead guitar
SKIP EDWARDS -- keyboards, pedal steel guitar, synthesizer
RICHARD MARX -- vocals, rhythm guitar
LARRY SIMS -- bass and vocals
Jock Bartley -- first lead guitar (6)
Michael Clarke -- tambourine (10)
Al Garth -- violin, viola, saxophone, recorder
Bobby LaKind -- percussion (6)
Joe Lala -- percussion
Tim Schmit -- additional background vocals
Tom Knox, David Ruffo, Paul Dobbe -- recording engineers
Alex Kazanegras -- remix engineer
David Larkham -- art direction & design
Ed Caraeff -- photography

US 1977 Asylum LP 7E-1104 picture sleeve
UK 1977 Asylum LP K-53060 insert
JPN 1977 Asylum LP P-10395Y  
NET 1977 Asylum LP AS-53060  
US October 15, 2002 Wounded Bird CD 1104  


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