The Byrds’ second album with the all-new line-up of Roger McGuinn, Clarence White, John York and Gene Parsons, Ballad Of Easy Rider took its name from the classic film Easy Rider, which the title track was written for (though the versions on the film and the album differed). The record marked an interesting progression from Dr Byrds & Mr Hyde, as band members White, York and Parsons all sang lead vocals on various tracks (whilst on the previous album McGuinn had sang all the leads). The sound of the album focuses mostly on mellow country-rock (with more acoustic textures than its predecessor), and consists almost entirely of covers drawn from a variety of sources. “Jack Tarr The Sailor” was McGuinn’s version of English folk, and “Oil In My Lamp” was adapted from a gospel hymn. Arthur Reynold’s “Jesus Is Just Alright” was both the most memorable song and the one which rocked the hardest, and was years later covered by The Doobie Brothers. As on almost every single Byrds album there was a Bob Dylan cover, and the version of “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” here remains one of their most stunning interpretations. There are also covers of songs by The Gosdin Brothers, Pamela Polland and Woody Guthrie. Though by the time of its release the glory days of The Byrds were near over, Ballad Of Easy Rider can still be considered one of their greatest artistic triumphs, and is vastly underrated (largely due to the indifference the McGuinn-era Byrds albums get from fans of the 'classic' lineup).
Dr Byrds & Mr Hyde (1969) <|> (Untitled) (1970)
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