In late 1968 Roger McGuinn was the only remaining member of The Byrds, and he reformed the group with entirely new personnel. Clarence White, who had played on the past three Byrds records, became the band’s new lead guitarist, with John York on bass and Gene Parsons (a past band-mate of White’s from Nashville West, and also with a background in country music) on drums. The new line-up’s first release in 1969 was Dr. Byrds & Mr Hyde, and featured a blend of country-rock and dark psychedelia, the schizophrenic nature of the album the reason behind its name. Clarence White’s virtuoso guitar playing was prominent throughout - indeed the band had never before featured such a high level of instrumental skill, and this was showcased in the bluegrass-influenced instrumental “Nashville West" which Parsons and White brought from their old band. Elsewhere most of the songs were written by McGuinn (in collaboration with other writers), though it did have Bob Dylan and Rick Danko's "This Wheel's On Fire", the old standard "Old Blue" and a song by Gib Guilbeau (another friend of White and Parsons). Though it failed commercially and critically, it can now be seen as an interesting and worthwhile transitional album.
Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (1968) <|> Ballad Of Easy Rider (1969)
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