About Thoughts & Words
Thoughts & Words is a place for reader responses to ByrdWatcher. It's analogous to the letter column of a magazine. (Just as all magazines do, ByrdWatcher reserves the right to edit any correspondence, and the right to decide which correspondence to run on this site.) Questions, comments, criticisms and queries are all welcome at email@example.com. Names, handles, and E-mail addresses of correspondents will be published unless the writer asks that they be withheld or leaves them off the message. Looking forward to hearing from you...
Earlier batches of Thoughts and Words are archived on seperate pages which can be reached by using the links below:
#1: April 18, 1997
#2: June 16, 1997
#3: August 5, 1997
Hi ByrdWatchers. This is the fourth batch of reader reactions to the site. The first three batches have been archived on separate pages; you can reach them with the Navigation Bar or the link in the left-hand column. Sorry for the long gap between updates to the site. Unfortunately, real life was intruding for quite a while there. Hopefully, I'll be able to make changes more regularly from now on.
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Date: Tue, 15 Jul 1997 16:37:49 -0800
From: Russ Allert (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Christine's Tune
Hi there, that's an excellent look at the very large extended universe of the Byrds and their various offspring. I have one correction/alternative viewpoint to offer: the subject of "Christine's Tune" by the Burritos. According to the liner notes of the album "Close Up The Honky-Tonks" and Ben Fong-Torres' book on Gram Parsons, the song is not about Christine Hinton, but rather Christine Frka, better known as Miss Christine the GTO (whose fellow GTO was Pamela Des Barres). Like the other GTOs, Miss Christine made the rounds of numerous rock stars and was a source of some frustration due to the fact that she claimed to be frigid (see Pamela Des Barres' books for details). She died under dodgy circumstances in 1972 (apparently of an overdose of something while undergoing therapy to correct her bent spine) and when the "Red Hot Burritos" album came out soon after, the song title was changed out of respect for her. The most famous picture taken of her is the cover of Frank Zappa's "Hot Rats" album.
Have a good one...Russ Allert
Whoops, that's an embarassing error... I recently picked up "Close Up the Honky Tonks" on vinyl at a used record store and sure enough, it says the song is "about a GTO." My copy of the Fong-Torres book doesn't identify her by name, just says it was about "a devoted fan who caused some trouble with the Byrds' spouses at the time..." Perhaps an earlier edition did identify her.
I think I made an incorrect leap from an interview with Chris Hillman in Sid Griffin's Gram Parsons book. Hillman says, "Christine was this girl who has since died and it is real sad actually. She was in a bad automobile accident. She was the type of girl who was making life miserable for us. Hence the name..."
If Miss Christine died as you say, then maybe Hillman confused the two deaths, or maybe both Christines were partial inspiration. Who knows? Sometimes it's really hard to sort out the conflicting versions of a lot of these events. Anyway, I think the best evidence we have available supports your interpretation, so I've changed the page accordingly. Thanks for the information, Russ...
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 15:51:03 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jonathan Bennett (email@example.com)
Subject: The Byrds and more
You have a great site! You're site isn't only informative, but it's
fun to visit. I definitely enjoyed my visit.
I'm also an Ohioan. I live in Kingston, Ohio, which is a small town
just north of Chillicothe. I spend most of my fall-spring time in Athens where I'm going to be a sophomore at Ohio University.
I have a Byrds page too, and I noticed you already linked to it.
Thanks a lot for that! I started it because no site had what I wanted,
and that was lyrics. I started out with "Bugler", but now I have (as of
July 18) 43 songs spanning all of the original albums. A lot of people
wanted lyrics from the later Byrds, and I try to provide. The address for the lyrics page is www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Palms/2522/words.html.
Tim, you're doing a great job. I just added a links page and of course
your wonderful site is on it!
Thanks for the kind words about the site. It's especially appreciated when it comes from someone who has gone to the trouble of making his own Byrds site!
A big chunk of my e-mail is from people looking for lyrics, so it's great that you're making them available. Because of this popular demand, I'm also in the process of updating the page of Internet Links to add a section for links to lyrics, tabs and chords, and your page will be included there. In the meantime, here are a few other sites for those seeking lyrics, tabs and chords:
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 21:35:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Howie (Herbertfam@aol.com)
Subject: How do I find McGuinn's instructional video
I'm new to the Internet, so go easy on me. Appreciate the info about the Byrds. I've been a freak since '66 (a year slow). Last week I noticed an ad on the web for the McGuinn instructional video. Thought I could do better locally. No one has heard of it here. Now I can't find it on the web. Any help would be appreciated.
I didn't have the exact URL handy at the time, but I sent Howie some general pointers on how to find the page advertising the video. He did find it and sent back the following info in case anyone else is interested:
The ad appears at http://www.cz/~james007/video.html. The video is made by Homespun Tapes, who can be reached at 1-800-338-2737. Catalog #: VD-GUI-GTO1 level 3. Price: $29.95+postage.
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 97 19:05:50 UT
From: Charles Conliff firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Comments about Byrdwatcher site
I wanted to let you know that I think you have a great site. While there are several interesting Internet sites about the Byrds, Byrdwatcher fills a void not covered by various official, sanctioned sites.
In particular I wanted to comment on the Clarence White pages, both biographical and discographical, which I just reviewed today. I think they offer by far and away the most complete information about this great guitarist. The comments you printed from other musicians about White are interesting, but do not capture the essence of what made him special. Clarence was a special talent -- and in fact, a completely unique one -- because he was the only guitarist that made significant innovations on both the acoustic as well as the electic guitar.
Certainly there have been many guitarists who are competent on both types of instruments; Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham, or Richard Thompson are well known examples. Yet when one considers the true innovators of the instrument -- Robert Johnson, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Leo Kottke, to name a few -- their impacts were either electric or acoustic, never both, and usually in just one style of music. Roger McGuinn basically invented electric 12-string technique, but he has always been merely an average acoustic 12-string player compared to, say, a Leo Kottke or Leadbelly. While Eric Clapton was a major influence on electric blues and rock, his recent "unplugged" work, while certainly well done, is not innovative or particularly important compared to a John Fahey or Michael Hedges.
One might perhaps cite Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin as a guitarist who is a master of both acoustic and electic guitars (and, for that matter, both six- and twelve-string versions of both instruments). I don't deny that his ability to mix both acoustic and electric textures on the same song was unparalled, but that is basically a skill at arrangement -- not playing. He was a top-knotch electric blues-rock player, and can be reasonably cited as an inventor of heavy metal guitar; however, it is becoming increasing apparent that much of his acoustic work was lifted from other artists. For example, one song often mentioned for being an inventive and influential Page acoustic song, "Black Mountain Side" is copied nearly note for note from a traditional song (with vocals) done by Bert Jansch around 1966 called "Blackwaterside" without any credit to Jansch. He also lifted "Babe, Don't Leave Me Now" from an early sixties British folkie whose name momentarily escapes me; and finally, his instrumental "Bron-Yr-Aur" is a Celtic version of Leo Kottke's "Machine", played in a different tuning and key, but basically employing the same picking pattern and licks.
White was completely unique on both instruments. Nearly single-handedly he created bluegrass lead guitar. Although Doc Watson's playing earlier was similar, it was White who took it into a group setting, adding jazz syncopation inspired by Django Reinhardt. White, therefore, should be considered the founder of progressive bluegrass guitar. Using a completely different technique, White adopted the electric guitar. From a basic James Burton-inspired rockabilly/country guitar style, White created a country-rock guitar technique around the Parsons-White Stringbender. Even ignoring these innovations, White was perhaps peerless as a bluegrass rhythm guitar player -- and if you listen closely to his session work with Arlo Guthrie and others, and his recordings with the Byrds, a damn good acoustic folk player as well -- and significantly more than competent as a country electric and rock electric guitar player.
Clarence White's significance in this regard is why I consider it so tragic that he died before being able to complete his first solo project. White died in an era when Crosby, Stills and Nash, Led Zeppelin, Ten Years After, and (two years later) Fleetwood Mac married acoustic and electric guitar textures together -- something the Byrds never really accomplished, "Chestnut Mare" excepted. Also contemporaneous to this was the era of the singer-songwriter: Neil Young, Paul Simon, James Taylor and others. So the time was right for his solo work. At the same time, White was really just coming into his own from his experience in the Byrds -- from being a backing musician in the Notorious and Sweetheart eras to leading the band for all intents and purposes with the Farther Along album.
At that time he was developing a musical style that married his progressive bluegrass, rock, and folk leanings together. Often when musicians die tragically, it is after years of self-abuse and after they have basically spent the creative talent that they have. In the case of Clarence White, I really think he was on the cusp of creating a musical style merging all his talents and influences together, and his premature death cheated all of us of the opportunity to hear a musician whose talents were clearly on the rise.
I hope you find the comments interesting.
Chuck, you'll get no debate from me about how talented White was or how tragic his early death was. Fans of Doc Watson, James Burton, Roger McGuinn or Jimmy Page might take issue with some of your side points, of course. And we'll never know what Clarence White might have done if he had lived. But your argument is pretty persuasive, which is why I printed such a long letter. Thanks for taking the time to write, Chuck.
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 97 20:55:00 PST
From: Kristian Olsen (email@example.com
Subject: David Crosby Footage
Greetings Byrds Fans:
My name is Kristian Olsen, I work for VH-1 on a documentary series called "Behind the Music". We are looking for material on David Crosby -- photographs, film footage, fanzines or any such material. We are particularly interested in film of David at any stage of his career (photos and super-8, video or whatever). In particular, we want to find material that has not been seen on TV before. Please drop me an email if you have anything, or if you know anyone who might.
Thanks for the letter, Kristian. I hope some of our readers can help you out. Okay, anyone out there with stuff or info for Kristian, please respond directly to Kristian's e-mail address.
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