BYRDWATCHER: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles



Welcome | News | LPs | History | Members | Spinoffs | Related | Reference | Sanctuary | About | NEXT SECTION

Mr. Tambourine Man | Turn! Turn! Turn! | Fifth Dimension | Younger | Notorious | Sweetheart | Dr. Byrds | Ballad | (Untitled) | Byrdmaniax | Farther Along | Byrds | Beginning | Never Before | Box | NEXT CHAPTER


THE BYRDS BOXED SET
(Columbia/Legacy C4K 46773; 1990)

Credits:
Released October 1990. Compilation produced by Don DeVito and Bob Irwin. Musical Consultant: Roger McGuinn. Remastered and remixed by Tim Geelan & Vic Anesini. Project Director: Gary Pacheco. Project Coordination: Tony Tiller. Art Direction: Joel Zimmerman and Lisa Sparagano.

Personnel:
The Byrds v. 1.0
The Byrds v. 2.0
The Byrds v. 3.1
The Byrds v. 4.0
The Byrds v. 6.0
The Byrds v. 6.1

and on all new material:

The Byrds v. 8.0:
Roger McGuinn: vocals, 12-string guitar
David Crosby: vocals
Chris Hillman: vocals, bass

plus:

On "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
Add John Jorgenson on guitar
Add Steve Duncan on drums

On "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Add John Jorgenson on guitar
Add Steve Duncan on drums
With Bob Dylan on vocals & guitar

On "Paths of Victory"
Add John Jorgenson on mandolin
Add Stan Lynch on drums

On "From A Distance"
David Crosby add guitar
Add John Jorgenson on guitar, and mandolin
Add Stan Lynch on drums

On "Love That Never Dies"
Chris Hillman plays guitar and not bass
Add John Jorgenson on lead guitar and bass
Add Stan Lynch on drums
Add Al Kooper on keyboards

Songwriting Credits:

"Turn! Turn! Turn!" by Pete Seeger; lyrics adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes

"Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan

"He Was A Friend of Mine" by Jim McGuinn

"Paths of Victory" by Bob Dylan

"From A Distance" by Julie Gold

"Love That Never Dies" by Roger McGuinn & Stan Lynch


Regrettable omissions:
Among the most regrettable of the omissions: Beefeater singles "Please Let Me Love You" and "Don't Be Long"; strong Gene Clark tracks "Here Without You," "Set You Free This Time," and "If You're Gone" (all added to Columbia's Clark anthology, Echoes (Columbia/ Legacy, 1991); the single version of "All I Really Want To Do," which at the time could be found only on The Original Singles 1965-1967 (Columbia, 1980); the lovely "Wild Mountain Thyme"; the unavailable single version of "Goin' Back"; and later cuts "Change is Now" and "King Apathy III." Most of the other omissions make sense, though, so ten overlooked tracks out of 90 isn't too bad, and with the reissues that began in 1996, it becomes more or less irrelevant.

Puzzling inclusions:
To be fair, most of the weak tracks (for example, "Stanley's Song") were unreleased tracks which therefore held some archival interest for fans.

"Paths of Victory":
Dylan's demo of "Paths of Victory" appears on The Bootleg Series 1961-1991 (Columbia, 1991). Dylan performed an earlier version of the song on a Westinghouse Broadcasting folk music TV special in March, 1963.

"From A Distance":
Julie Gold's "From a Distance" was popularized in the country market by Nanci Griffith on her album Lone Star State of Mind (MCA, 1987). Hillman was familiar with her version, and brought the song to the Byrds' 1990 recording sessions. It was not a hit for the Byrds, but that same year it was a big hit for Bette Midler, and in the UK, a #11 hit for Cliff Richard. In 1991, Kathy Mattea covered it as a duet with Dougie McLean on her album, Time Passes By (Mercury, 1991).



Except for the six 1990 cuts discussed below, each song is discussed in detail with the album on which it appeared, or during the sessions for which it was recorded. At the end of this analysis is a list showing where to find the discussion of each song.

Twenty-five years after the first Byrds album, Columbia gave the band the deluxe boxed set treatment it deserves: four disks, spanning the band's eleven Columbia LPs, with most songs remixed or remastered; lots of unreleased tracks, unreleased alternate versions, and non-LP rarities, including lost tracks from Sweetheart of the Rodeo with vocals by Gram Parsons.
Inevitably, critics cited some regrettable omissions and puzzling inclusions. Some found fault with the remixes. But these complaints are nitpicking. The care and quality with which the music was compiled are a model for career retrospectives, too many of which omit crucial tracks or otherwise smack of exploitation. Musically, The Byrds Boxed Set lives up to its billing as a "definitive" collection.
The set's packaging was not quite up to the same high standard. The accompanying booklet was flimsy, short, and cheap by the standards of boxed sets. The black ink on its cover came off on the hands of Byrdmaniax around the world. Inside were detailed track annotations and candid liner notes, but the text was riddled with factual and typographic errors. There were lots of photos, but they were rendered in cheap spot color monotones rather than four-color or even duotones. Worse still were the cover photos on each of the disks, which would not have looked out of place on bootlegs. The music on these disks deserved better.

In January of 1989, McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman reunited under the Byrds name in an attempt to prevent Michael Clarke from using the name for his own band. (For the whole story of this legal imbroglio, see Byrds v. Byrds: 1989 - 1990.) In order to strengthen their legal claim to the name, McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman performed together several times as the Byrds in 1989 and 1990. One of those gigs was the 1990 tribute to Roy Orbison, at which the trio performed "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and "Mr. Tambourine Man," backed by guitarist John Jorgenson and drummer Steve Duncan, both of the Desert Rose Band.
On both cuts, the backing is tight, as is the guitar work from McGuinn. McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman are in good voice. On "Tambourine Man," Dylan joins the band. It's a touching moment that brings the band "full circle," as David Fricke puts it in the liner notes -- right back to that picture on the back of their first album, of Dylan onstage with the Byrds at Ciro's in 1965. In order to keep the moment from ending too soon, they sing many more verses of the song than they had on the 1965 single. Dylan sings flat and forgets the words more than once, despite Crosby's valiant attempt to keep the singing on pitch. The crowd doesn't seem to mind -- their singing is audible toward the end of the song, and the roar at the end of the song gives some idea what the audience must have felt.
Later that year, the trio recorded four more tracks in Nashville. None of these are up to the caliber of the band's finest work, but they aren't an embarassment, either. The best of the new tracks is the remake of "He Was A Friend of Mine," which features just the three. Crosby's voice can be heard, harmonizing nicely, and Hillman sings a third low part -- something the original Byrds had rarely been able to manage.
On the other three tracks, the trio are backed by Jorgenson and drummer Stan Lynch of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers. "Paths of Victory" is a Dylan outtake dating from 1964. The band uses the sprightly tempo of Dylan's demo, fleshed out with guitar and terrific mandolin work by Hillman. "From A Distance," the saccharine Julie Gold number, features Hillman on lead vocal, demonstrating the increased skill and confidence his singing had taken on in the 24 years since his first Byrds vocals.
Whereas these last two songs are essentially Desert Rose Band songs with guest vocals from McGuinn and Crosby, "Love That Never Dies" is a Tom Petty song with guest vocals from McGuinn, Hillman and Crosby, thanks to McGuinn's writing partner Stan Lynch. This track sounds as if it might have been intended for McGuinn's solo outing, Back From Rio (Arista, 1991), which was released a few months after the boxed set. (Heartbreakers Lynch, Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell all appear on that CD, as does Petty himself.) Al Kooper receives a credit for keyboards, but his playing is inaudible. Apparently, his work was mixed out, just like Leon Russell's keyboards on the very first Byrds song.
The lyrics are self-referential: "Throw a dime to the tambourine man/And kiss all the horses goodbye." With that, McGuinn looks back affectionately on an earlier chapter of his life, then sets it aside. It's a fitting wrap-up for a fine collection.


ALBUM SESSIONS FROM WHICH EACH TRACK ORIGINATES:

Except as noted, all tracks from the sessions for the first four albums appear on the 1996 reissues.

Mr. Tambourine Man:

"Mr. Tambourine Man":
Remixed true stereo version from Never Before.

"I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better";
"Spanish Harlem Incident";
"The Bells of Rhymney";
"All I Really Want to Do" (LP version);
"Chimes of Freedom":
All remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"She Has A Way":
Never Before version. 1996 reissue contains different version. In the Beginning contains earlier demo version.


Turn! Turn! Turn!:

"Turn! Turn! Turn!"
Previously unreleased version, with longer fadeout. Remastered from the original 2-track stereo tape. 1996 reissue contains original mono version.

"It Won't Be Wrong";
"Lay Down Your Weary Tune":
Both remixed from the original 3-track master tape.

"He Was a Friend of Mine":
Remastered from the original 2-track stereo tape.

"The World Turns All Around Her":
Previously unreleased version with a bongo track that had been deleted from the original mix. Remixed from the original 8-track master. 1996 reissue contains LP version and alternate mix of bongo version.

"The Times They Are A-Changin'":
Remixed from the original 8-track master.

"She Don't Care About Time":
Previously unreleased version with Gene Clark's vocal out front, different lead guitar, and harmonica solo. Original mono version appeared on single B-side and Original Singles: 1965 - 1967. Mono mix of single version appears on 1996 reissue, as does a third version of the song, mixed in stereo.

"It's All Over Now, Baby Blue":
Never Before version. 1996 reissue contains different version.

"Never Before" aka "The Day Walk":
From original 8-track master; presented in stereo for the first time.


Fifth Dimension:

"5D (Fifth Dimension)";
"Mr. Spaceman";
"I See You";
"John Riley":
All remixed from the original 8-track master.

"Eight Miles High":
Remastered from the original 2-track.

"Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)":
Previously unreleased version with count-off and cold ending. Remixed from original 8-track master. 1996 reissue contains LP version.

"Why?" (45 version):
Remixed true stereo version from Never Before.

"I Know My Rider" aka "I Know You, Rider":
Remixed from original 8-track master to true stereo.

"Psychodrama City":
Previously unreleased version with full guitar intro and wide stereo, unlike Never Before version. Remixed from 8-track master for Never Before.


Younger Than Yesterday:

"So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star";
"My Back Pages":
Both remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"Have You Seen Her Face":
Previously unreleased version with longer ending. Remixed from original 8-track master. 1996 reissue contains LP version.

"Renaissance Fair";
"Time Between";
"Everybody's Been Burned";
"The Girl With No Name":
All remixed from original 8-track master.

"It Happens Each Day":
Previously unreleased version with wide stereo, unlike Never Before version. Remixed from original 8-track master.

"Lady Friend":
Previously released only on 45 B-side and on non-US compilations, and on Never Before with obtrusive drum overdubs. Remixed from the original 8-track master; first appearance in wide stereo with no overdubs.

"Old John Robertson" (45 version):
45 version of this song previously released only on 45 B-side and on non-US compilations. Remastered from original mono mixdown tape.

"Roll Over Beethoven" (Live):
Previously unreleased song. Remastered from tape of Swedish radio broadcast. Does not appear on 1996 reissue.


Except as noted, all tracks from the sessions for the second set of four albums are slated to appear on the 1997 reissues.

The Notorious Byrd Brothers:

"Goin' Back" (LP version);
"Draft Morning";
"Wasn't Born to Follow";
"Dolphins' Smile";
"Triad" (Never Before version.)
All remastered from the original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.


Sweetheart of the Rodeo:

"You Ain't Going Nowhere";
"I Am A Pilgrim";
"Pretty Boy Floyd";
"Hickory Wind";
"Nothing Was Delivered":
All remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"The Christian Life";
"You Don't Miss Your Water":
Previously unreleased versions with Gram Parsons vocal restored. Both remixed from original 8-track master. 1997 reissue slated to contain LP versions and a different version of "Christian Life," also with Parsons vocal.

"One Hundred Years From Now":
Previously unreleased version with Gram Parsons vocal restored and harmonies not added. Remixed from original 8-track master. 1997 reissue slated to contain LP version and a different version of "Christian Life," also with Parsons vocals.

"Reputation";
"Lazy Days":
Previously unreleased songs, both with Gram Parsons vocals and both remixed from original 8-track master.

"Pretty Polly":
Previously unreleased song with McGuinn vocal. Remixed from original 8-track master.


Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde:

"This Wheel's On Fire":
Remixed from original 16-track master.

"Old Blue";
"Nashville West";
"Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man";
"Bad Night at the Whiskey":
All remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"Stanley's Song":
Previously unreleased song. Remixed from original 16-track master.

"Lay Lady Lay":
Previously unreleased version with female chorus removed. Version with chorus previously released only on 45 A-side and on compilations. Remixed from the original 16-track master.


Ballad of Easy Rider:

"Ballad of Easy Rider";
"Tulsa County";
"Jesus Is Just Alright";
"Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)":
All remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"Oil in My Lamp":
Previously unreleased version of the song with country arrangement. Remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"Mae Jean Goes to Hollywood";
"Way Beyond the Sun" aka "Way Behind the Sun":
Previously unreleased songs. Remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.


(Untitled):

"Lover of the Bayou" (Live):
Previously unreleased version. Remixed from original 8-track master recorded at Queen's College, New York.

"Willin'" (Live);
"Black Mountain Rag (Soldier's Joy)" (Live):
Previously unreleased songs. Both remixed from original 8-track master recorded at Queen's College, New York.

"Positively 4th Street" (Live);
"Chestnut Mare";
"Truck Stop Girl";
All remastered from original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"Just A Season":
Previously unreleased version with alternate mix. Remastered from original 2-track stereo tape.

"Just Like A Woman"
Previously unreleased song. Remixed from the original 16-track master.

"White's Lightning":
Previously unreleased song. Remixed from the original 16-track master; part of outtake titled "Fifteen Minute Jam."


Byrdmaniax:

"Glory, Glory";
"I Trust";
"I Wanna Grow Up to Be A Politician";
"Green Apple Quick Step":
All remastered from the original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.

"Kathleen's Song":
Previously unreleased version with overdubbed chorus deleted.


Farther Along:

"Tiffany Queen";
"Farther Along";
"Bugler";
"Lazy Waters":
All remastered from the original 2-track stereo mixdown tape.


[Back to top.]



Byrds Albums | The Byrds Boxed Set

Welcome | News | LPs | History | Members | Spinoffs | Related | Reference | Sanctuary | About | NEXT SECTION

Mr. Tambourine Man | Turn! Turn! Turn! | Fifth Dimension | Younger | Notorious | Sweetheart | Dr. Byrds | Ballad | (Untitled) | Byrdmaniax | Farther Along | Byrds | Beginning | Never Before | Box | NEXT CHAPTER





This page and entire ByrdWatcher Website Copyright © 1997 Tim Connors. All rights reserved.

If you have any questions, comments or bug reports about the content or design of ByrdWatcher, please direct them to: byrds@ebni.com. Please tell me about browser compatibility problems.

The URL of this page is: http://ebni.com/byrds/lpbox.html

This page was last revised on February 20, 1997.