Byrds Nyrds: Talk about anything Byrds related here (Part 04)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by stereoptic, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. Ram4

    Ram4 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago
    Yeah I've been a rock/pop/blues guy since the 70's. Country came much later! But I went all in for a while. I would say it's fair that Sweetheart was the first country album I not only listened to, but gave it a chance to sink in. Went to Nashville 5 times, bought an Emmons pedal steel and a Gibson J-150 Super Jumbo acoustic. I also got into bluegrass/newgrass and attended a banjo camp. Got to spend a fair amount of time with the late great Bill Keith and he signed my banjo head before I left. Adding country rounded out my playing nicely (my only real country playing prior to that was Dickey Betts influenced, which really wasn't the same). Ah yes, My Heart Skips a Beat with Willie Cantu on drums. I have all the Buckaroos 60's albums. But I never gave any of the country drummers a thought. Kevin Kelley does a great job on Sweetheart and I always noticed his drumming on it. Sweetheart started it all on 1/1/2000! Well that and a friend of mine also played A Child's Claim To Fame by Buffalo Springfield. Loved it instantly. Cool licks by James Burton on the dobro. But I really LOVED the harmony vocals. In fact, in spite of being a (lead) guitar player for almost 30 years, I am more drawn to harmony singing than guitar solos.
     
  2. Byrdman77

    Byrdman77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leigh On Sea, UK
    Ok time to play detective fellow Byrd Nyrds...

    Found this on ebay today: BYRDS Unreleased Master Tape ALTERNATE VERSION "Change Is Now" Ex-David Crosby | eBay

    It's a version of Change Is Now recorded on either 29-30th Aug 1967 before the pedal steel parts were overdubbed. This is a mono master copy of a rough mix that Crosby took home from the session (he has scrawled Universal Decoder on it), it has different vocals and lyrics and is labelled take 28. Now this is the interesting bit for me, it's been documented that Hal Blaine is the drummer on Change Is Now that ended up on Notorious Byrd Brothers by several sources and that Michael Clarke only appears on the demo version of the song Universal Mind Decoder, recorded 31st July. So looking through Seiter's volume 3 of My Way, the way he tells it is that on the 29th August vocal work was done on the track (which Michael had drummed on) and it was left 'to be mixed', but on the 30th Hal Blaine (and Clarence White) came in on the 30th August to lay down the drums and he did so in just 90 mins. The thing is, if this version on Ebay is the version with Hal Blaine on it, and fans are correct in thinking for whatever reason they reverted to Michael's drumming for the record - then this recording would prove it as it would be a different drum take. If it's the same as the version on the record then it confirms Hal Blaine did indeed drum on it. It's possible this version is from the 29th and contains the last 1960's recording to feature Clarke, McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby - but I guess if Clarence IS present on it then we would know it is the 30th and therefore we would know it is Hal Blaine drumming.

    So does anyone want to give me £600 to find this out one way or another? Should we club together?? Thoughts??
     
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  3. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    According to the accompanying letter written by Bernstein it's a rough mono mix that has the same vocals and lyrics, the only difference being that it's lacking the pedal steel.

    http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/4EkAAOSwY2hZ5PJ6/s-l1600.jpg
     
  4. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I am not a country rock guy.

    I have never heard the Flying Burrito Brothers, nor have I heard any Gram Parsons other than Sweetheart.

    I am curious, do fans of Sweetheart feel that this lineup should have recorded more albums, or was this accomplished just as well (or better) by the Burritos and later solo Gram?
     
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  5. OldJohnRobertson

    OldJohnRobertson Martyr for Even Less

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I feel like Sweetheart of the Rodeo is an interesting one-off in the Byrds' discography. It's a great album, but had the Byrds gone in that direction for more than one album, I'd bet that it'd have been their demise. Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde is the album the band had to make after SotR. Things worked out exactly as they should have.
     
  6. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I'd say it was accomplished better by the Burritos and Gram's solo albums. Sweetheart of the Rodeo suffers from a lack of original material (it's the only Byrds album that has zero songwriting contributions from McGuinn, and Hillman wrote nothing for it either). By contrast, the first Burritos album (Gilded Palace of Sin) has uniformly strong original material throughout, as do Parsons' two solo albums.
     
  7. Maggie

    Maggie run james run

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    I agree with Jason that the most interesting parts of the Sweetheart concept are brought to fruition on Gilded Palace, Grievous Angel, and parts of GP, although it should be noted that those albums largely lack the folk-revival elements that are typical of McGuinn's contributions.

    To me there was a clear mismatch between Gram's musical comfort zone and Roger's, which Chris Hillman comfortable in both idioms but lacking a strong enough personality to really bridge them. Given that and the mismatch in stage posturing as well, Gram was destined not to be a Byrd for long.

    I think McGuinn/the Byrds are more credible and engaging making lightly country-tinged folk-rock records like Ballad of Easy Rider than they would have been trying to follow up Sweetheart.
     
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  8. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Sweetheart is a perfect record that introduced country cowboy Music to a larger rock audience
     
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  9. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Very true. Gram started out as a folkie, but once he discovered country he never looked back, whereas McGuinn as we all know is as dyed-in-the-wool a folkie as is imaginable. It's quite clear (even if McGuinn had never said so) that he's just along for the ride on Sweetheart, and doesn't have a strong affinity for country. I myself am not much of a fan of acoustic folk but fall squarely in the pure country camp, so I prefer the greater stylistic consistency of Gilded Palace without the folk digressions that to me undermine the Cosmic American Music concept on Sweetheart. And again, the lack of much original material on Sweetheart makes it a lesser work Gilded Palace.
     
  10. Byrdman77

    Byrdman77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leigh On Sea, UK
    Yeah apologies I saw that, still means this is from 30th and therefore would be Hal Blaine on drums.
     
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  11. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    I know we discussed this before, but I remain convinced it's Clarke drumming on "Change is Now", regardless of what Seiter says. It really does sound like his work, and while it's true Blaine would have been able to imitate Clarke if he wanted to, what would be the point of that? Presumably they brought in Blaine because they weren't happy with what Clarke had done, so it seems unlikely they would have him imitate Clarke.
     
  12. Byrdman77

    Byrdman77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leigh On Sea, UK
    I'm with you on this but that's why it's so intriguing to me, it's also one of my favourite Byrds songs and it literally marks the bands change from the classic line-up to the country version of the band. I would love to prove it one way or another to be Michael on the cut, it diminishes the work for me if it's Hal Blaine - I want to picture Michael playing this track when I hear it.
     
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  13. If I have any faith left in my ears it’s surely Michael Clarke. His stylistic quirks are all over ‘Change Is Now’. I think it’s wrong to assume the Seiter info is contemporaneous rather than a reconstruction of events. He follows Hjort’s assumption (p. 144) that Blaine was there, but this I believe was itself an extrapolation from Stephen McParland’s book on the California Sound. Wish I had it to hand to check. Seiter makes no reference to Crosby playing bass on the ‘Change Is Now’, confirmed in Requiem Volume 1. Surely he would have documented that if he was making notes from the sessions. Hjort acknowledges in his book that he followed Rogan’s sessionography from the previous Timeless Flight Revisited (before the revelation about the bass on ‘Change Is Now’ in Requiem 1) not having access to Columbia’s vaults. The fact that Seiter follows Hjort, who was unaware that Crosby played bass on ‘Change Is Now’, sums up a lot. Also, the fact that Seiter thinks Blaine rather than Clarke drummed on the first two albums, is obviously incorrect – just listen to Journals. Thus my scepticism.
    The most amazing aspect of the advert for the mastertape are the additional words: “This was among a number of original reels of audio tape given me to in the mid-1970’s by David Crosby.” Wow. So, can we expect more tapes to follow? If these tapes include some home recordings or material prepared in advance for Columbia, maybe there’s still hope for a ‘Milestones’ or the original ‘Draft Morning’. I recall in Rogan’s book, he asked Crosby whether a version of ‘Draft Morning’ with David’s original lyrics might still exist and the reply was something like, ‘there’s probably a tape around somewhere’. Obviously, not done at Columbia but presumably on a home reel to reel or cassette. If Crosby was giving away tapes from this era with the Byrds it would be great to know what was on them.
     
  14. Byrdman77

    Byrdman77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leigh On Sea, UK
    Contacted the seller on eBay who tells me it sounds like the exact same drum track as the one on the finished album version (I sent him a clip to check). Of course it's perfectly possible that Hal Blaine did come in, record a track in 90 mins on the 30th but that they then never used it and kept Clarke's original track. I think that's what probably happened here. Until that earlier version turns up we may never have confirmation.
     
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  15. Raoul V.

    Raoul V. Member

    Location:
    Belgium
    R.I.P. Fats Domino.

    Here's an incredible 14 minute video of The Byrds backing Fats live on US TV in 1969.

    Sorry if it's been posted before.

     
  16. Jackie P

    Jackie P Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dub Lane
  17. Javed Jafri

    Javed Jafri Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto
  18. Misterroper

    Misterroper Active Member

    Location:
    Texas
    Crosby should just show up at McGuinn's show tonight in Houston and lend McGuinn some of that harmony. I'll report back if he does. ;-)
     
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  19. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    hehe. Just finished that chapter in the book.
    Boy, Rogan tries so hard to be fair to Crosby, but the man was a huge fart. I have a friend who bitterly says 'David Crosby destroyed the best American band, ever.'
     
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  20. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Crosby deserves a lot of the blame, but your friend is not giving enough credit to to the others in the band. It's amazing that five guys so completely different (and all with their own unique sets of dysfunctions) were able to even form a band in the first place and (more or less) hold it together for a couple years. The band was basically wired to self destruct from the beginning.
     
  21. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Location:
    Marple, PA, USA
    Yea, Rogan really takes time to point that out, I keep thinking of expensive crystal exhibited in a hall--on pedestals with one leg missing.
     
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  22. zobalob

    zobalob Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland.
    I'm glad that this was saved for posterity lol...worth seeing again despite the lousy picture and sound.

     
  23. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    McGuinn DID say in effect that he was along for the ride .
    It's a hassle but I'll try to dig up his quote/quotes from Chrisopher Hjort's book.

    Unless I'm totally misremembering things, McGuinn said or at least implied that Gram took over the band while he ( McGuinn) sort of stood by impassively and let it happen.
    Also at one point McGuinn said as the band was going through changes yet again that he was tired of the country stuff and wanted to move forward or words to that effect.

    I'll quality my post until I can find the quotes though , in case I dreamt them . :D ;)

    It might take me awhile .
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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  24. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    I'll add these quotes as I find them so they might end up in individual posts.
    I'm sorry but I'm looking at over 100 pages or so. :D

    McGuinn, August 25th, 1968:

    " We've always dabbled in country music on other albums, but then we ran into (Gram) Parsons, who wanted to be the world champion country singer, and he hung out with us for about three months (sic).
    He was going to be in the group but it didn't work out. While he was with us, which I consider a great thing, he led us into this direction headlong, which we never would have done .
    We were afraid to commit ourselves.
    It was a little foreign to us, being the Byrds, but as the Byrds, we always jumped around in different forms, so we dove into it."

    He also said "Our next album is going to be all electronic music."

    By the way, he said these things five days BEFORE Sweetheart Of the Rodeo was even released !
     
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  25. Glenn Christense

    Glenn Christense Foremost Beatles expert... on my block

    McGuinn, early May, 1969:

    " Country albums don't sell so well .
    A company executive told me it's not the right direction to go in.
    So, we tapered off country when we heard that.
    Dr.Byrds & Mr. Hyde is only partly country- oriented. We'd have done it anyway, because country was a one time experiment ."

    Ah, art meets commerce.
     

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