Essential Byrds

The Essential Byrds

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by The Byrds
     
 

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Both timeless and distinctly of its time, the music of the Byrds laid the groundwork for much that followed their hit-filled reign from the mid'-60s to the early '70s. You hear their influence in the jangle-rock of R.E.M. and Tom Petty, in the country-rock of the Eagles and Uncle Tupelo, in the roots rock of the Band, in the rootsy country of Emmylou Harris and…  See more details below

Overview

Both timeless and distinctly of its time, the music of the Byrds laid the groundwork for much that followed their hit-filled reign from the mid'-60s to the early '70s. You hear their influence in the jangle-rock of R.E.M. and Tom Petty, in the country-rock of the Eagles and Uncle Tupelo, in the roots rock of the Band, in the rootsy country of Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. The Byrds' career path mirrored rock's own developing history: They debuted as plugged-in folkies with transcendent three-part harmonies ("Turn! Turn! Turn!"), then turned psychedelic-rock experimentalists ("Eight Miles High") and country revivalists ("Hickory Wind"). And the music of the band's members would resound for years to come: David Crosby with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman with the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Roger McGuinn on his own after the Byrds finally called it quits. This two-disc set offers fans a broad overview of the Byrds' fruitful flight, culling tracks from each of their 11 proper albums, plus a couple of singles, leaning most heavily on their first 4 albums from 1965 and '66. Those are chronicled on Essential's first disc, an embarrassment of riches highlighted by the group's inspired Dylan covers -- among them their inaugural single and hit, "Mr. Tambourine Man." Disc 2 condenses the band's influential Sweetheart of the Rodeo a little too succinctly, with only two songs (the definitive version of Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and Parsons's signature tune, "Hickory Wind"), but it does make space for Crosby's soaring single "Lady Friend," four gorgeous tunes from The Notorious Byrd Brothers (including a country-tinged take on the Goffin-King reflection "Goin' Back"), and late-period favorites such as "Ballad of Easy Rider" and "Chestnut Mare." As a distillation of a truly transcendent rock career, The Essential Byrds achieves lofty heights.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
While the all-killer no-filler single-disc The Byrds' Greatest Hits remains the best distillation of their classic songs, The Essential Byrds is a smartly assembled double dose, including all 14 of the 1965-1967 tracks on Greatest Hits, but expanding its reach into their entire Columbia output, going as far as the early '70s. Inevitably, that means that disc two -- which goes, roughly, from mid-1967 to 1971 -- isn't as good as the first half, and that the last four tracks in particular are by far the least impressive, tagged on mostly so that the release spans the Byrds' entire Columbia catalog. That's a small reservation considering that the two-fer adds many first-rate songs not on Greatest Hits, from non-hit singles like "Lady Friend" and "Goin' Back" to standout album cuts like "Renaissance Fair," "Natural Harmony," "Jesus Is Just Alright," and "Chestnut Mare." There are no surprises here; even the songs that eluded inclusion on albums for many years, like the early B-side "She Don't Care About Time" and "Lady Friend," have been commonly available in the CD era. And it's true that this misses some other fine album tracks that could have stood with pride alongside those selected, like "I Knew I'd Want You," "John Riley," and "Dolphin's Smile." Within the confines of the two-CD format, though, it's a very well-chosen career overview. [The 2011 3.0 edition adds a third disc with six additional tracks: "Spanish Harlem Incident," "I Knew I'd Want You," "The World Turns All Around Her," "I See You," "Change Is Now," and "One Hundred Years from Now."]

Product Details

Release Date:
04/22/2003
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998911024
catalogNumber:
89110
Rank:
26746

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Mr. Tambourine Man
  2. I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better
  3. All I Really Want to Do
  4. Chimes of Freedom
  5. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)
  6. She Don't Care About Time
  7. It Won't Be Wrong
  8. Set You Free This Time
  9. He Was a Friend of Mine
  10. Eight Miles High
  11. 5d (Fifth Dimension)
  12. Mr. Spaceman
  13. So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star
  14. Have You Seen Her Face
  15. Renaissance Fair
  16. My Back Pages

Disc 2

  1. Lady Friend
  2. Old John Robertson
  3. Goin' Back
  4. Natural Harmony
  5. Wasn't Born to Follow
  6. You Ain't Going Nowhere
  7. Hickory Wind
  8. This Wheel's on Fire
  9. Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man
  10. Ballad of Easy Rider
  11. Jesus Is Just Alright
  12. Lover of the Bayou
  13. Chestnut Mare
  14. Glory, Glory
  15. I Wanna Grow Up to Be a Politician
  16. Tiffany Queen
  17. Farther Along

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Byrds   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Clarence White   Composer,Contributor
Chris Hillman   Composer,Contributor
Pete Seeger   Composer
Byrds   Producer
Gene Clark   Composer,Contributor
Bob Dylan   Composer
Carole King   Composer
Gram Parsons   Composer,Contributor
Skip Battin   Contributor
Rick Danko   Composer
Gerry Goffin   Composer
Terry Melcher   Producer
Bob Buchanan   Composer
Michael Clarke   Contributor
David Crosby   Composer,Contributor
Jim Dickson   Producer
Chris Hinshaw   Producer
Bob Johnston   Producer
Kevin Kelley   Contributor
Jacques Levy   Composer
Roger McGuinn   Composer,Contributor
Allen Stanton   Producer
Gary Usher   Producer
C.C. White   Arranger
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Vic Anesini   Mastering
Pat Seeger   Adaptation
Harvey Gerst   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Mark Unterberger   Packaging Manager
John York   Contributor
Arthur Reynolds   Composer

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The Essential Byrds 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago