DCC Archive Who Played On Byrds Albums

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by pauljones, Jan 17, 2002.

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  1. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef Thread Starter

    Location:
    columbia, sc
    Regarding the first two Columbia albums, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn, Turn, Turn", I recall reading an interview with David Crosby where he states that only Jim (Roger) McGuinn played on the first two albums, that Terry Melcher contracted many of the Wrecking Crew members--Blaine, Kaye, Tedesco, Campbell, Knechtel, and others, to lay down the basic tracks; then McGuinn would overdub 12-string electric guitar and all vocal leads and backgrounds would be added by all except Michael Clarke. When "Third Dimension" was recorded, Columbia exec Allen Stanton produced the album and utilized the same musicians, which gave basically the same sound. Then came "Younger Than Yesterday" which yielded a much rawer, "clunkier" sound, due to the Byrds finally being allowed to play their own instruments on record. This is not unlike the Monkees' "Headquarters", where they also began contributing to the music. I hope this clarifies some of the misunderstandings and myths about the Byrds playing on their first few outings. One thing for sure, The Byrds' albums are classics that deserve Steve Hoffman's touch!
     
  2. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Nope. The Wrecking Crew (part of it) played on Mr. Tambourine Man/I Knew I'd Want You. However, the rest of the first album and all of the second album was done by the Byrds themselves.

    Want to take this to Steve's site?
     
  3. Douglas

    Douglas New Member

    Location:
    Melba, Toast
    Forgive me if this has been covered before, but any opinions on the Byrds remastered CDs? Did they do a good job of them? I see them cheap in the record stores but don't want to bother if it's another bunch of no noised flat VU leveled mess.
     
  4. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef Thread Starter

    Location:
    columbia, sc
    When Sony Legacy remastered the CD's in the mid-1990's, they were a marked improvement over the original Columbia CD issues. But, there is still room for improvement. For example, Vic Anesini's remaster of "Here Without You" from the Gene Clark "Echoes" CD is much better than the version on the Legacy "Mr. Tambourine Man" CD,which he also did (!) and "Turn, Turn, Turn" is presented in stereo on th Byrds' box set, yet in mono on the Legacy album.
     
  5. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef Thread Starter

    Location:
    columbia, sc
    I still maintain that the Byrds did not play on their first two albums, and performed very little on their third. I think that the main contention is that it was made public that "Mr. Tambourine Man/ I Knew I's Want You" was definitely the Wrecking Crew. But, listen to "Preflyte" or any of the other World Pacific pre-Columbia recordings, then compare to the first few (pre-Younger than Yesterday) albums, and it should be glaringly apparent that this was not the same "band". I have played in groups for many years, and have been a fan of Spector/ Brian Wilson/ Hal Blaine, etc. and know their styles and the sound of the Wrecking Crew. To give a good example of the Wrecking Crew, listen to "It Won't Be Wrong" from TTT. No doubt it is Hal Blaine, and the Crew is in evidence. Same with "Set You Free This Time" and "The World Turns Around Her".
     
  6. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Sorry, but that's not true. If Roger McGuinn's statements aren't enough for you, listen to some Byrds bootlegs. You can hear Terry Melcher talking to the band. I know there's one track (don't remember which at the moment) where he tells Roger and Chris (Hillman) that they aren't in tune with each other.

    Even Hal Blaine said he didn't play on the released track of Turn Turn Turn.
     
  7. JPartyka

    JPartyka I Got a Home on High

    Location:
    USA
    Plus, there are some serious musical bungles (particularly in the bass and drums -- listen to "Spanish Harlem Incident," for instance) that made it through the production process onto the record. Doesn't sound like the ultra-professional Wrecking Crew to me ...
     
  8. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef Thread Starter

    Location:
    columbia, sc
    Jeff, I can appreciate what you are saying about the musical "bungles" on "Spanish Harlem Incident" but did you know that Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, and others would intentionally make "mistakes" so that their work could be made more "credible" and not so easily discernable as session players? Hal Blaine once said that he played as hard and trashy as he could on Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Good Thing" so as to give the song the flavor of being done by the band and not session players. As for Michael Clarke, even Jim Gordon had to later take over the drummer's chair for him (Nortorious Byrd Brothers) and Jim Keltner had to sub for him in Firefall from time to time.
     
  9. Douglas

    Douglas New Member

    Location:
    Melba, Toast
    Not exactly on topic for this post, but I met Roger McGuinn when I was working at a college radio station in SC (WUSC) and he was generous with his time, gracious and even said "God bless you." A real gentleman.
     
  10. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    As I've mentioned before... there is a bootleg called "Tambourines and 12 Strings". On it, there's an instrumental take of "It Won't Be Wrong." At the beginning of the song, Terry Melcher calls Mike Clarke by name, and tells him how he would like the drums played. The drumming on this take is identical to that on the released version of the song. There is also an instrumental take of "Set You Free this Time" in which Crosby's voice can be heard complaining Melcher should let them get through a finished take rather than keep interrupting them every time they make a small error. Melcher tells Crosby to "go **** yourself".

    There are also instrumental takes of "Mr Tambourine Man" and "I Knew I'd Want You", the two songs Hal did play on. Both of those songs are preceded by Hal's distinctive voice doing the count-in. This is not present on ANY of the other outtakes.

    And as Luke mentioned, there's a take of 5D where Stanton tells Chris he's not in tune with Jim.

    In view of evidence like this, coupled with the testimony of the Byrds and Blaine himself, it seems fairly indisputable the Byrds did play on everything except that first single.
     
  11. pauljones

    pauljones Forum Chef Thread Starter

    Location:
    columbia, sc
    I urge everyone who disagrees with me that the Byrds did not play (except for McGuinn) on the Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn, Turn, Turn albums to listen to Preflyte or any of the collections of the World Pacific pre-Columbia sessions and compare. I wish that everyone could read Hal Blaine's book. In the back he lists a discography (partial) that chronicles his top-10 and top-40 hits and it would surprise you. The sessions he played on, he usually acted as "musical director", and brought with him various members of the wrecking crew. Paul Revere and the Raiders, Association, Beach Boys, Monkees, Carpenters, Fifth Dimension, Challengers, Jan and Dean, etc. And the Byrds. Just as Terry Melcher served as producer of the first two Columbia albums, don't forget about "Bruce and Terry", the surf-music duo who was Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher...and guess who were the members of the group...the Wrecking Crew!
     
  12. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm beginning to think that even if someone had film of the Byrds in the studio recording their first two albums, you still would not believe it. I mean, how do you explain the bootlegged session tapes I've referred to, in which the Byrds can plainly be heard talking with Melcher before and after various takes of songs from those albums? I've listened to the Preflyte sessions, and I don't hear a lot of difference, except of course on Mr Tambourine Man.
     
  13. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Why? Hal himself said he didn't play on Turn Turn Turn. What more do you need?
     
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