The Byrds - Untitled (1970)

The Byrds were an influential American rock band who in the 60s were pioneers in the genre of folk-rock, and later both psychedelic rock and country-rock.

By 1970 bassist John York had left the Byrds and been replaced by Skip Battin. The instrumental prowess of the group was strengthened, and the double album (Untitled) featured a live disc alongside the studio one to showcase this. The live sound of this incarnation of the band was ragged and raw, driven by Clarence White’s spidery guitar work, and with Roger McGuinn’s vocals sounding delightfully hoarse. Classics such as “Mr Tambourine Man” and “So You Want To Be A Rock ’n’ Roll Star” sounded fresh and different in this new style. The live disc also included a fantastic new song, the dark and driving “Lover Of The Bayou”, and a new Dylan interpretation, “Positively 4th Street”. Another standout feature was a 16-minute jam of “Eight Miles High”. Whilst the original Byrds lineup was never that highly regarded as a live act, this latter-day incarnation was if anything more interesting on stage than in the studio. Quite simply put, the four of them were all much better musicians than the original Byrds. So though their chart-topping days were long gone, they could put on a damn good show, as (Untitled) proves.
The studio disc featured the by-now familiar blend of country-rock and folk-rock, McGuinn’s “Chestnut Mare” being the highlight (and to many the last great Byrds song). Skip Battin got to contribute to the song writing and vocals, and both White and drummer Gene Parsons got to sing lead on a song each (White’s tune was a cover of Little Feat’s “Truck Stop Girl”).

Ballad Of Easy Rider (1969) <|> Byrdmaniax (1971)
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