Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Byrds - Ballad Of Easy Rider (1969)

The Byrds (9) - Ballad Of Easy Rider (1969)

If Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde found Roger McGuinn having to re-create the Byrds after massive personnel turnovers (and not having an easy time of it), Ballad of Easy Rider was the album where the new lineup really hit its stride. Gracefully moving back and forth between serene folk-rock (the title cut, still one of McGuinn's most beautiful melodies), sure-footed rock & roll ("Jesus Is Just All Right"), heartfelt country-rock ("Oil In My Lamp" and "Tulsa County"), and even a dash of R&B (the unexpectedly funky "Fido," which even features a percussion solo), Ballad of Easy Rider sounds confident and committed where Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde often seemed tentative. The band sounds tight, self-assured, and fully in touch with the music's emotional palette, and Clarence White's guitar work is truly a pleasure to hear (if Roger McGuinn's fabled 12-string work seems to take a back seat to White's superb string bends, it is doubtful that any but the most fanatical fans would think to object). While not generally regarded as one of the group's major works, in retrospect this release stands alongside Untitled as the finest work of the Byrds' final period.

01 Ballad Of Easy Rider
02 Fido
03 Oil In My Lamp
04 Tulsa County
05 Jack Tarr The Sailor
06 Jesus Is Just Alright
07 It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
08 There Must Be Someone (I Can Turn To)
09 Gunga Din
10 Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
11 Armstrong, Aldrin And Collins
12 Way Beyond The Sun
13 Mae Jean Goes To Hollywood
14 Oil In My Lamp (Alternate Version)
15 Tulsa County (Alternate Version)
16 Fiddler A Dram (Moog Experiment)
17 Ballad Of Easy Rider (Long Version)
18 Build It Up  (Instrumental)
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