Travellin' Man/The Touch of Gold

Travellin' Man/The Touch of Gold

by Charlie Byrd
     
 
Collectables combines two very different back-to-back recordings made by guitarist Charlie Byrd for Columbia in the mid-'60s. Travellin' Man (issued in 1965) is a live gig at the Showboat in Washington D.C., a club he was playing in -- and owned -- 36 weeks out of the year. He is featured with his bass playing brother

Overview

Collectables combines two very different back-to-back recordings made by guitarist Charlie Byrd for Columbia in the mid-'60s. Travellin' Man (issued in 1965) is a live gig at the Showboat in Washington D.C., a club he was playing in -- and owned -- 36 weeks out of the year. He is featured with his bass playing brother Joe, and the rather astonishing drummer Bill Reichenbach. The program consists of everything from originals like the title cut and the country and bluegrass tinged opener "Mama I'll Be Home Someday" to Michel Legrand's "I Will Wait for You." With tunes like the Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim standard "Do I Hear a Waltz," Billy Strayhorn's "U.M.M.G.," and Django Reinhardt's "Nuages" sandwiched in between. It' is a hard swinging date where Byrd, a great melodic improviser, turns original arrangements inside out and pours his love for bossa and blues into everything he plays. The latter album, A Touch of Gold, was recorded and released in 1966 and was thought to be a great departure for the hard swinging jazzman. The set featured a full backing band with horns and strings and a backing vocal chorus arranged by Charlie Callello. The tunes were regarded derogatorily in many quarters as "pop songs" -- and that may be exactly why Byrd loved them. The opening bars of "In My Room, (El Amor)" by Lee Pockriss borrows its opening statement from George Gershwin's "Summertime," Byrd, of course moves through its beautiful Latin modes and harmonies effortlessly, allowing the rhythms full free range play inside it. Likewise, his bossa version of "The Shadow of Your Smile," where samba rhythms permeate the arrangements and Byrd's solo plays counterpoint to the melody in places only enhances the lyric of the tune, rather than take away from it. Other surprises on the set are a trio of Beatles covers in "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," "Yesterday," and "Michelle." Byrd's adherence to the melody and the illustrative brass section on the former offered a very "South of the Border," feel, that broke it briefly into a swinging progressive big band item. On the last cut, a brief but beautiful string prologue advances the theme inconspicuously before Byrd brings his shimmering faux flamenco style to the body of the main melody. Byrd's knowledge of the intricate harmonics in these pieces is rather remarkable. Indeed, no less a voice than Orrin Keepnews predicted the tracks would be known as standards in a short time. And he was right in, no small part simply because Byrd covered them, and adult audiences were exposed to the complex and adventurously accessible music of the Beatles. But there is more than lilting love song sentiment in Byrd's take on popular music. Listen to his humorous reading of the theme from "Bonanza!," or even his wooly version of the barroom/strip club anthem "Walk Right In." These cuts have their vulgarities, but they are not without elegance because Byrd was the king of class. As for evidence (if anyone needs more), they need listen no further than his utterly moving version of Ervin Drake's "It Was a Very Good Year," that was closely associated with Sinatra during this juncture -- and virtually owned by him in performance every year thereafter. This may not be the Charlie Byrd recording to start with, but anyone deeply interested in his music should seriously consider checking this one out as well. Two full albums on a single CD? What are you waiting for?

Product Details

Release Date:
06/26/2007
Label:
Collectables
UPC:
0090431785423
catalogNumber:
7854
Rank:
151767

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charlie Byrd   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

John Lennon   Composer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Charlie Byrd   Composer
Michel Legrand   Composer
Kenny Rankin   Composer
Django Reinhardt   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Gus Cannon   Composer
Robert Maxwell   Composer
Jerome Kern   Composer
Ervin Drake   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Otto Harbach   Composer
Orrin Keepnews   Liner Notes
Mitch Leigh   Composer
Jay Livingston   Composer
Johnny Mandel   Composer
Bobby Scott   Composer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Paul Vance   Composer
Paul Francis Webster   Composer
Hosea Woods   Composer
Pete Lambrose   Liner Notes
Jack Baker   Composer
Joaquin Prieto   Composer
George Fragos   Composer
Lee Gaines   Composer
Estelle Levitt   Composer
Ric Marlow   Composer
Dick Gasparre   Composer

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