Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Byrds - The Byrds

(Scoop, 1983)

Is there really any point in coming down heavy on an obscure, budget-line Byrds hits EP released by a European subsidiary of Pickwick? I suppose this is a waste of precious internet space, but come on: four cover songs? And then both originals have McGuinn writing credits? Nothing by Gene Clark?! Argh! Well, give the compilers credit for presenting a broad overview of the band’s career, at least; there’s one song from Mr. Tambourine Man, one from Turn! Turn! Turn!, one from Younger Than Yesterday, one from The Notorious Byrd Brothers, one from the Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde sessions, and one from (Untitled). Also, even if the six picks aren’t representative of the Byrds’ BEST work, they do reveal the major facets of the group’s sound over the years, as there’s impossibly warm, beautiful folk rock (“Turn! Turn! Turn!”); a lean, jangly Dylan cover (“All I Really Want to Do”); a bloated, ridiculous Dylan cover (“Lay Lady Lay”); a melodic vocal showcase (“Goin’ Back”); nervous acid pop (“So You Want to Be a Rock ’N’ Roll Star”); and hokey country rock (“Chestnut Mare”). There’s obviously nothing awful on here – except for “Chestnut Mare,” maybe – but given the scattershot song selection, overemphasis on McGuinn, and abysmal sound quality, there’s no reason to bother with this thing. Just go ahead and spring for all of the studio LPs. Except for Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Byrdmaniax, and Farther Along. What with them stinking.


Donald Brown said...

wow, revisionism. I thought "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" was considered a formative move toward the country rock of Burrito Bros. and Poco and all that. I've never heard it, but I seem to recall it getting good marks from the arbiters of rock history at RS (which is often BS).

Interesting... anyway, I'll catch that horse if I can...

ithinkihatemy45s said...

it's very lifeless. dull. i've tried a number of times, but i just can't stand that record (one interesting thing: there's at least one outtake from those sessions that sounds EXACTLY like what the VU would become by 1969/70). i can listen to "turn turn turn" all day, though, and i actually don't think the reunion LP is all THAT bad.