Tuesday, September 22, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Notorious Byrd Brothers" - The Byrds (1968)

"The Notorious Byrd Brothers" - The Byrds (1968)

"The Notorious Byrd Brothers" is a very, very good album and way more psych-dusted than I expected.  Apart from the opening track that I've yet to warm up to and "Old John Robertson" which is a good song but sounds jarringly out of step with the rest of the more strange and floaty guitar passages, it is gold.  Mostly though, everything moves along as it should in a wonderful heady hippie bong-tipping flair.

And my gosh, what a delicious flock of Byrds shenanigans that were going on during the recording.  David Crosby was sent packing 3 months before the record dropped.  He was upset about many, many things.  As was the band, with him. (Wiki it.)  Halfway through the sessions, drummer Michael Clarke took off for a little while...to mend his mind, perhaps...and then returned.  He was immediately cut loose after the record was finished.  Even Gene Clark, who had left the band long ago, hooked up with The Byrd’s again...for three weeks anyway...and then ran for the hills.  When The Byrds album finally dropped and the smoke had finally cleared...only Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman were left standing.  The making of this album sounds like a complete impossibility, and yet after all the ducking and jiving...their 5th album, "The Notorious Byrd Brothers" turned out to be very nearly a masterpiece.  At the very least, it is one fantastic spin.

"CBS  CBS  Stereo"
"Can Also Be Played On Mono Equipment" 

Favorites are the mostly David Crosby penned “Draft Morning”...a war protest that drops in on the listener, getting all the i's dotted, but without sounding at all preachy.  It's nice and trippy and has some cool bass dancing underneath.  The song “Wasn't Born To Follow" which was immortalized in the biker film, “Easy Rider” is found here, as well.  The psych gem "Tribal Gathering" ...written by Crosby and Hillman...is the lost treasure with its mix of floaty harmonies, odd time-signature, and edgy fuzz guitars.  Wonderful, but all too short.  

The album was ranked #171 on RS list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and was rescued at the A-OK Record Swap in Wichita.  I could not find this particular pressing on Discogs.  Any help appreciated. 

"The Notorious Byrd Brothers" (back)

CBS label

Side A Matrix:
o XSM-119703-1D  [etched]  
Side B Matrix:
o XSM119704-1G 1  [stamped]  

"Tribal Gathering" - The Byrds / "The Notorious Byrd Brothers" (1968)

A1  "Artificial Energy" 2:18
A2  "Goin' Back" 3:26
A3  "Natural Harmony" 2:11
A4  "Draft Morning" 2:42
A5  "Wasn't Born to Follow" 2:04
A6  "Get to You" 2:39
B1  "Change Is Now" 3:21
B2  "Old John Robertson" 1:49
B3  "Tribal Gathering" 2:03 
B4  "Dolphin's Smile" 2:00
B5  "Space Odyssey" 3:52

Roger McGuinn – vocals, lead guitar, Moog
Chris Hillman – vocals, bass, guitar, mandolin
Michael Clarke – drums (A1, A4,  B2,  B3, B4)
David Crosby – vocals, rhythm guitar, bass
Gene Clark – b-vocals (A2, B5...possibly)
James Burton, Clarence White – guitars
Gary Usher – Moog, percussion, b-vocals
Barry Goldberg – organ
Jim Gordon – drums (B2, B3, B5) 
Hal Blaine – drums (B6, A1
Curt Boettcher – b-vocals
Firesign Theatre – sound effects on "Draft Morning"

Good stuff.


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