The Byrds - Byrdmaniax (1971)

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.

Byrdmaniax was recorded in early 1971 whilst the Byrds were busy with touring, and has ended up being one of their least highly regarded albums. It was their second album with the lineup of Roger McGuinn, Clarence White, Skip Battin and Gene Parsons, but somewhat undid the reputation the band had earned with the previous (Untitled). Much of the blame is often put on the producer, Terry Melcher, who added gospel choirs, strings, horns and keyboards, making the album sound far removed from the band the fans were used to. But whilst some would lament the absence of the 'classic Byrds sound', it could also be argued that Byrdmaniax is a more diverse and musically complex record, with a broader scope incorporating a fuller vision of Americana - folk-rock, country, gospel, rock & roll, bluegrass and even dixieland jazz are all touched on. Byrdmaniax's weakness could probably be better attributed to the distraction of the band's gruelling tour schedule, which no doubt led to much of the underdeveloped material and their absence during Terry Melcher's overdubbing sessions (which apparently happened without their knowledge).
Among the songs on the album are two notable covers - "Glory Glory" by Arthur Reynolds, and "Jamaica Say You Will" by Jackson Browne (sung by lead guitarist Clarence White). Also worth nothing was bassist Skip Battin's increasing role as a singer and songwriter.

(Untitled) (1970) <|> Farther Along (1971)
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