The Gosdin Brothers “Sounds of Goodbye”


The Gosdins were no strangers to country-rock in 1968. The prior year the two contributed harmony vocals and guitar to Gene Clark’s exquisite masterpiece, Gene Clark and the Gosdin Brothers. They had also released some great singles that were caught between the earlier Byrdsian folk-rock sound and a new, emerging country-rock scene (check out There Must Be Someone or I’ll Live Today).

Sounds of Goodbye, released in 1968, would be the duo’s only album together. It was a groundbreaking effort that somehow slipped through the cracks. The originals, For Us To Find and The Victim are outstanding cynical country rockers that stand out for Vern Gosdin’s crystal clear vocals with an added Bakersfield twang. On The Victim, the acoustics sparkle and glitter beautifully with a slight psychedelic production that adds to the Gosdin’s unique vision. Sounds of Goodbye and She’s Gone are very wistful and sad but good nonetheless, recalling Gene Clark’s material from around the same time.

It’s an album that should be filed alongside Swampwater, Gene Clark’s 1st solo album, Roots by the Everly Brothers, and the late 60’s Dillards material. Even the covers on this album are done with taste and care, Let It Be Me (The Everly Brothers hit) particulary stands out in this vein. The cd reissue on Big Beat adds 13 singles and outtakes to the original album, most of which are essential. The above mentioned I’ll Live Today’s intro recycle’s Gene Clarks I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better but eventually evolves into a folk-rock masterpiece. Hang On, one of their hit singles, even finds the Gosdin’s successfully experimenting with a mellotron – in a country rock song!!!

Then we have There Must Be Someone I Can Turn To, one of the first country rock standards and a good enough reason to buy this album. The Byrd’s did a nice version of this song on their Untitled album, but nothing beats the original. The only strange element to the album is the sleeve, in which the Gosdin brothers look like a couple of squares in turtlenecks.

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“The Victim”

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  • Brendan

    I don’t know, I kind of like the cover. Who is that sultry lady in the back and where is she running to… or from? And the Gosdins are photographed from such a strange perspective, it doesn’t line up with the background. I’ll have to see if ear-extacy (one of the best music stores in the country) here in Louisville has this.

  • Jean-Pierre

    Strange cover, definitely. For me they look like two Invaders (from the series with Roy Thinnes made in 1968 too)
    One thing is sure: I have so enjoyed The Victim that I’m going to try to find the CD

  • great blog – really enjoyed reading

  • Stray Dog

    Great album for sure.

    The Byrds version of “There Must Be…” wasn’t on Untitled, but the album Ballad Of Easy Rider.

  • Jason Odd

    Great album, the Ace (UK label) reissue is fantastic. The CD has some points of contention… 1: is that it doesn’t include the Capitol material they cut without producer Gary Paxton, and 2: the fact that the LP track listing was re-sequenced for the CD. The latter point, is that re-sequencing the tracks makes the CD a compilation rather than an expanded CD version of the original LP.

    Aside from the superior Gosdins, Capitol Records tried their hand at hip-modern country with the Chaparral Brothers (two LPS) and the the far more commercial Hager Twins. The Hagers were the MOR side of the Capitol-siblings experiment of the late 1960s, and of course the most famous thanks to their link to Buck Owens (whereas Gary Paxton was a rival to Buck Owens) and the exposure of the Hee Haw television show.

    The Gosdins were too hip for country, but not even marketed to the rock crowd, thus missing the burgeoning country-rock market entirely. Capitol should have put them on the road with Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys, not Merle Haggard’s roadshow.


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