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 The Byrds

American folk rock group

Untitled (1970)

Byrdmaniax (1971)

20 Essential Tracks

The Very Best Of

 

 

THE BYRDS

(Untitled) - 6

Lover of the Bayou/ Positively 4th Street/ Nashville West/ So You Want to Be A Rock n Roll Star/ Mr Tambourine Man/ Mr Spaceman/ Eight Miles High/ Chestnut Mare/ Truck Stop Girl/ All the Things/ Yesterday's Train/ Hungry Planet/ Just a Season/ Take a Whiff on Me/ You All Look Alike/ Welcome Back Home

I have always had a sneaking regard for this album - a double and a mixture between the live first disc and a studio album. Sometimes it's not the individual tracks that matter on an album but the sum of the parts and the overall feeling. The overall feeing of untitled is one of togetherness and a band in control of what they are doing. Having said that the 15 minute plus rendition of Eight Miles High is slightly over indulgent. The album does contain one of my favourite band songs - Chestnut Mare - Elsewhere it is rather mixed. The Byrds are always at their best when covering Dylan songs and here we have Positively 4th Street. The rest is an eclectic mix with band originals  mixed in with LeadBelly. Overall it's a decent offering that has retained its freshness almost 30 years on.

 

Byrdmaniax - 4.5

Glory Glory/ Pale Blue/ I Trust/ Tunnel of Love/ Citizen Kane/ I Wanna Grow Up to be a Politician/ Absolute Happiness/  Green Apple Quick Step/ My Destiny/ Kathleen's Song/ Jamaica Say You Will

Over dubbing is probably responsible for the luke warm reception this Byrd's album met with - that and a poor selection of songs. Tracks such as Citizen Kane and I Wanna Grow up to be a Politician are just poor and overblown and Green Apple Quick Step shouldn't have been included on this or any other Byrd's album. The first two of these would be more in step with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band than one of the great all time folk/rock album. Not surprisingly this didn't chart in the UK. It gets off to a bad start with the cod Christian number Glory Glory and never really recovers thanks to some overblown instrumentation, supposedly added against the group's wishes and whilst they were on the road. Basically this album is full of dull second rate songs. Kathleen's song is kind of pretty but apart from that there is little to recommend this.

 

20 Essential Tracks From the Boxed Set 1965-1990 - 7

An excellent compilation for those wanting a general introduction to one of the great trendsetters in popular music. This set features 20 tracks from the famous Mr Tambourine Man recorded in 1965 up to four songs from 1990. In between there are songs from the band themselves as well as Bob Dylan and a host of other writers. Songs such as "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Eight Miles High, "My Back Pages, "Chestnut Mare" and "5D Fifth Dimension" are all classics of their genre. I hope this album whets the appetite for music lovers to look out the original Byrds albums.

 

The Very Best Of - 7

This release is very similar to the above but does have seven more tracks. All the favourites are here and those additional tracks have a distinctly country flavour to them. Again an excellent starting point for those who want to discover or re-discover one of the most influential bands of all time.