The Byrds

The Notorious Byrd Brothers - 1968

Tracks: 1. Artificial Energy / 2. Goin' Back / 3. Natural Harmony / 4. Draft Morning / 5. Wasn't Born to Follow / 6. Get to You / 7. Change Is Now / 8. Old John Robertson / 9. Tribal Gathering / 10. Dolphin's Smile / 11. Space Odyssey / 12. Moog Raga [*][Instrumental] / 13. Bound to Fall [*][Instrumental] / 14. Triad [*] / 15. Goin' Back [Version One][*] / 16. Draft Morning [Alternate End][*] / 17. Universal Mind Decoder [Instrumental] [*)

Comments:

“The Notorious Byrd Brothers” is usually regarded as the last album by the original band. Gene Clark had actually left after the second album, but it´s obvious that this is the last album where the original Byrd-sound is still predominant. Still, as with every new Byrds album, this it´s not just a repition of previous efforts.

New sounds, rhythms and instruments and are explored on the album, which must be their most psychedelic. But as always it´s the songs that make this another great Byrds album - of course along with the brilliant guitar-playing and the delicate vocal harmonies.

No Bob Dylan songs were recorded for the album; instead two fine Goffin/King songs stand out among the most memorable on the album. Both “Goin´Back” and “Wasn´t Born to Follow” have the classic Byrds-sound and both songs are lyrically and musically very strong.

Among the new original Byrds songs “Draft Morning” is a highlight. The song was originally written by David Crosby, but he was asked to leave the band midways through the recording of the album, so the song was finished by Hillman and McGuinn. Another David Crosby song “Triad” may be have the reason for his ousting. Crosby wanted the song included on the album instead of “Goin´ Back”, but the other band members may have found Crosby´s lyrics too controversal. The song was given to Jefferson Airplane and Crosby was out of the Byrds. In retrospect this seem a pretty stupid solution, considering that both tracks could easily have been included - Byrds albums usually had a very short playing time - and TNBB is no exception with its app. 30 minutes. Now the song is to find among the bonus-tracks.

Crosby was not involved with the final recordings which include the opener “Artificial Energy”, “Natural Harmony”, “Get to You” and the terrific “Wasn´t Born to Follow” which feature the great Clarence White on guitar. White is actually playing on several on these recordings, and he was later to join the Byrds as a permanent member. His contribution to “Change is Now” make this average tune another stand-out; almost like a new “Eight Miles High”.

Hillman´s “Old John Robertson” is catchy Byrds-country and another favourite. Weakest track is the closing tune ( sea-shanty style ) “Space Odyssey” feature odd space sounds, but somehow seems to go nowhere; a paradox that It is the longest track on the album.

Among the bonus-tracks the instrumental “Bound to Fall” is quite good, but sounds unfinsihed. Though all bonus tracks are interesting “Triad” is really the only track that ought have been included on the original album. “Moon Raga” is the weakest and it´s wonder why it was not placed as the last track.

A hidden track feature studio talk that reveal there was a lot of tension within the band during these recordings.


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