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Sweetheart of the Rodeo [Legacy Edition]

Sweetheart of the Rodeo [Legacy Edition]

5.0 1
by The Byrds

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For all intents and purposes, this is where country rock begins. All kinds of performers (Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Chris Isaak, Cheri Knight, Steve Earle, Wilco, and the denizens of


For all intents and purposes, this is where country rock begins. All kinds of performers (Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Chris Isaak, Cheri Knight, Steve Earle, Wilco, and the denizens of the Hotel California) have drawn -- in spirit if not in song structure -- from the merger of the two seemingly contradictory genres found on this landmark 1968 recording. The Byrds had hinted at an interest in traditional country music during their previous recordings, but the arrival of Gram Parsons (replacing David Crosby) made the shift toward Nashville a feasible one. Pedal steel guitar replaces the Rickenbacker 12-string as the backbone of their sound, and they covered the Louvin Brothers' "The Christian Life" and Merle Haggard's "Life in Prison" alongside two Bob Dylan tunes, "You Ain't Going Nowhere" and "Nothing Was Delivered." The 1997 reissue of this recording includes alternate takes of several tracks with Parsons on lead vocals. Before long, however, Parsons and charter member Chris Hillman broke to form the Flying Burrito Brothers, leaving Jim McGuinn to soldier on. The Byrds continued to make fine recordings, especially 1970's Ballad of Easy Rider, but Sweetheart of the Rodeo remains their most influential disc.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
A lot of extras from the sessions for Sweetheart of the Rodeo surfaced before the 2003 release of this two-CD set, on both the 1990 Byrds box set and the 1997 single-CD expanded edition of the album. This deluxe edition, however, stretches out the body of material yet further, including everything from the official LP itself, the six outtakes and alternates from the box set, the instrumental outtake "All I Have Is Memories" (which first appeared on the 1997 expanded edition), and even a 1968 radio commercial for the album. And that's just disc one. For fans and collectors, the real bonuses are on disc two, which has no less than 14 previously unissued tracks, including alternates of "Lazy Days," "Pretty Polly," and "Hickory Wind"; two rehearsal versions apiece of "The Christian Life," "Life in Prison," "One Hundred Years from Now," and "You're Still on My Mind"; two alternate takes of "All I Have Is Memories"; and a rehearsal version of "Blue Canadian Rockies." That's not all, either, as disc two leads off with three of the four songs from the 1966 non-LP singles by Gram Parsons' pre-Byrds group, the International Submarine Band, along with three songs from the International Submarine Band's sole album, Safe at Home. For all that, a couple alternate versions that were on the 1997 expanded edition don't seem to have made it onto the deluxe edition, though you need a scorecard to figure that out with all the juggling that's gone on for the record's various configurations. So how is that added material, particularly the previously unreleased tracks on disc two? It's OK, and historically interesting in that several of the previously unreleased versions have Gram Parsons on vocals. Really, however, these songs don't differ all that much from the takes that made the final cut, and the variations are more valuable for the analysis of Byrdsmaniacs than they are for revealing different angles on the songs that were discarded. One gets the feeling that the material was picked very much with an eye toward Parsons cultists, particularly given the preponderance of Parsons-dominated selections on disc two, half a dozen of which (the International Submarine Band numbers) have no Byrds on board except Gram. Still, those three International Submarine Band non-LP cuts make a welcome appearance as they've been rare for decades, with that group's "Truck Drivin' Man" a clear indication of Parsons' country-rock direction, even if another of the non-LP single tracks, "One Day Week," sounds rather like the Dave Clark Five. Overall, this is a worthwhile and thorough excavation of the sessions that led to this early country-rock benchmark, though there's too much repetition in the form of the alternate versions to make this a great listen for the more general fan.

Product Details

Release Date:


Disc 1

  1. You Ain't Going Nowhere
  2. I Am a Pilgrim
  3. The Christian Life
  4. You Don't Miss Your Water
  5. You're Still on My Mind
  6. Pretty Boy Floyd
  7. Hickory Wind
  8. One Hundred Years from Now
  9. Blue Canadian Rockies
  10. Life in Prison
  11. Nothing Was Delivered
  12. All I Have Are Memories [Master Take - Kevin Kelley Vocal]
  13. Reputation
  14. Pretty Polly
  15. Lazy Days
  16. The Christian Life
  17. You Don't Miss Your Water [Master Take - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  18. One Hundred Years from Now [Master Take - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  19. Radio Spot: "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" Album

Disc 2

  1. Sum Up Broke @@The International Submarine Band
  2. One Day Week @@The International Submarine Band
  3. Truck Drivin' Man @@The International Submarine Band
  4. Blue Eyes
  5. Luxury Liner
  6. Strong Boy
  7. Lazy Days [Alternate Version]
  8. Pretty Polly [Alternate Version]
  9. Hickory Wind [Alternate "Nashville" Version - Take 8]
  10. The Christian Life [Rehearsal Version - Take 8 - Gram Parson Vocal]
  11. The Christian Life [Rehearsal Version - Take 8 - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  12. Life in Prison [Rehearsal Version - Takes  1 & 2 - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  13. Life in Prison [Rehearsal Version - Takes 3 & 4 - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  14. One Hundred Years from Now [Rehearsal Version - Takes 12 & 13 - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  15. One Hundred Years from Now [Rehearsal Version - Takes 14 & 15 - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  16. You're Still on My Mind [Rehearsal Version - Take 13 - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  17. You're Still on My Mind [Rehearsal Version - Take 48 - Gram Parsons Vocal]
  18. All I Have Are Memories [Alternate Instrumental Take 17]
  19. All I Have Are Memories [Alternate Instrumental Take 21]
  20. Blue Canadian Rockies [Rehearsal Version - Take 14]

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Byrds   Primary Artist
Clarence White   Guitar
John Hartford   Banjo,Guitar
Chris Hillman   Mandolin,Bass Guitar
Gram Parsons   Guitar,Vocals
Lloyd Green   Steel Guitar
Earl Poole Ball   Piano
Jon Corneal   Drums
Roy M. "Junior" Husky   Bass
Kevin Kelley   Drums,Vocals
JayDee Mannes   Steel Guitar
Roger McGuinn   Banjo,Guitar

Technical Credits

Merle Haggard   Composer
Chris Hillman   Composer
Steve Young   Composer
Woody Guthrie   Composer
Tim Hardin   Composer
William Bell   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Gram Parsons   Composer
Cindy Walker   Composer
Charlie Bragg   Engineer
Bob Buchanan   Composer
Terry Fell   Composer
Roy Halee   Engineer
Monte Kay   Producer
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Composer
Roger McGuinn   Composer
John Nuese   Composer
Gary Usher   Producer
David Fricke   Liner Notes
Bob Irwin   Producer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Luke McDaniel   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Jordi Mora   Cover Illustration
Mark Unterberger   Packaging Manager
Joaquin Mora   Cover Illustration
Suzi Jane Hokum   Producer
J. Saunders   Composer

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Sweetheart of the Rodeo 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Terry_M More than 1 year ago
if you are new to this material, it is an eccentric bit by the Byrds before they broke up. nice authentic country/gospel sound. worth a listen
Guest More than 1 year ago
although this album wasn't a mega hit it has inspired many groups and artists hillman and parsons are super we can only imagine what might have been if gram had lived
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
This isn't just a Rock group trying their hand at Country music; this is a great Country album, in fact, one of the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Sweetheart Of The Rodeo album is often cited as the beginning of country-rock (I think that Johnny Cash should be credited with inventing country-rock at Sun Records). It is much more country than rock. Gram Parsons was the moving spirit of this project but he had plans for another band and soon left. It is too bad the first three out-takes were not on the original LP. They would have added extra energy to it. The present CD gives a good picture of the sessions. There is a double CD that contains many more out-takes but I haven’t heard it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
they byrds like you have never heard them before! I really love this disc!