Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (1968)


The Byrds  - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (1968)

The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo was not the first important country-rock album (Gram Parsons managed that feat with the International Submarine Band's debut Safe at Home), and The Byrds were hardly strangers to country music, dipping their toes in the twangy stuff as early as their second album. But no major band had gone so deep into the sound and feeling of classic country (without parody or condescension) as The Byrds did on Sweetheart; at a time when most rock fans viewed country as a musical "L'il Abner" routine, The Byrds dared to declare that C&W could be hip, cool, and heartfelt. Though Gram Parsons had joined the band as a pianist and lead guitarist, his deep love of C&W soon took hold, and Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman followed his lead; significantly, the only two original songs on the album were both written by Parsons (the achingly beautiful "Hickory Wind" and "One Hundred Years from Now"), while on the rest of the set classic tunes by Merle Haggard, the Louvin Brothers, and Woody Guthrie were sandwiched between a pair of twanged-up Bob Dylan compositions. While many cite this as more of a Gram Parsons album than a Byrds set, given the strong country influence of McGuinn's and Hillman's later work, it's obvious Parsons didn't impose a style upon this band so much as he tapped into a sound that was already there, waiting to be released. If The Byrds didn't do country-rock first, they did it brilliantly, and few albums in the style are as beautiful and emotionally affecting as this. [Columbia's 1997 CD reissue of the album improves on the masterpiece by adding eight strong bonus tracks, including four cuts with Gram Parsons singing lead trimmed from the original release for legal reasons.]

1-01 You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
1-02 I Am A Pilgrim
1-03 The Christian Life
1-04 You Don't Miss Your Water
1-05 You're Still On My Mind
1-06 Pretty Boy Floyd
1-07 Hickory Wind
1-08 One Hundred Years From Now
1-09 Blue Canadian Rockies
1-10 Life In Prison
1-11 Nothing Was Delivered
1-12 All I Have Are Memories (Master Take - Kevin Kelly Vocal)
1-13 Reputation
1-14 Pretty Polly
1-15 Lazy Days
1-16 The Christian Life (Master Take - Gram Parsons Vocal)
1-17 You Don't Miss Your Water (Master Take - Gram Parsons Vocal)
1-18 One Hundred Years From Now (Master Take - Gram Parsons Vocal)
1-19 Radio Spot
2-01 Sum Up Broke (Single Version) (The International Submarine Band)
2-02 One Day Week (Single Version) (The International Submarine Band)
2-03 Truck Drivin' Man (The International Submarine Band)
2-04 Blue Eyes (The International Submarine Band)
2-05 Luxury Liner (The International Submarine Band)
2-06 Strong Boy (The International Submarine Band)
2-07 Lazy Days (Alternate Version)
2-08 Pretty Polly (Alternate Version)
2-09 Hickory Wind (Alternate Nashville Version - Take 8)
2-10 The Christian Life (Rehearsal Version - Take 7 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-11 The Christian Life (Rehearsal Version - Take 8 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-12 Life In Prison (Rehearsal Version - Takes 1 & 2 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-13 Life In Prison (Rehearsal Version - Takes 3 & 4 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-14 One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal Versions - Take 12 & 13 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-15 One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal Version - Takes 14 & 15 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-16 You're Still On My Mind (Rehearsal Version - Take 13 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-17 You're Still On My Mind (Rehearsal Version - Take 48 - Gram Parsons Vocal)
2-18 All I Have Are Memories (Alternate Instrumental - Take 17)
2-19 All I Have Are Memories (Alternate Instrumental - Take 21)
2-20 Blue Canadian Rockies (Rehearsal Version - Take 14)
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