454

The Byrds: Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
The Byrds: Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 Rescued from a tape that had sat forgotten in Roger McGuinn's climatized garage for decades,The Byrds Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 contains a complete concert from the fabled London venue including two encores that, as part of this well-recorded 77-plus minute CD, effectively summarize the career of this seminal American rock band. Anyone who becomes familiar with the history of The Byrds will inevitably encounter mention that this seminal American group had its shortcomings as a performing unit, but Scott Schinder's liner notes explicate the serendipitous discovery of this recording, refuting that premise.

"Mr. Spaceman" contains the first prominent use of the familiar twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar in the show, and it follows "So You Want to be a Rock and Roll Star," sounding ever so wry in the hands of these seasoned pros. "Roll Over Beethoven" is important to recall how Chuck Berry's guitar fused the crispness of country with blues flavor, and is also noteworthy as a part of The Byrds' early repertoire (as well as The Beatles, by whom the Byrds were profoundly influenced).

The acoustic set is a reminder of The Byrds' roots in folk music and includes Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," recalling not just his longstanding influence, but also that of Woody Guthrie on his ode to the outlaw "Pretty Boy Floyd." The quartet also renders Leadbelly's "Take a Whiff" with sardonic nonchalance and engages in an abbreviated hoe-down, "Black Mountain Rag/Soldier's Joy."

Surrounding these two segments are performances illustrating the evolution of The Byrds throughout their career. Original material such as "Lover of the Bayou" contains the otherworldly twang imparted by guitarist Clarence White. The distinctive sound surfaces again in further nods to Dylan via "My Back Pages" as well as "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere;" the latter is a crucial representation of The Byrds' groundbreaking trip to Nashville in 1968 for Sweetheart of the Rodeo (Legacy, 2003). The cover of Jackson Browne's "Jamaica, Say You Will" reaffirmed the group's prescience in an entirely different way, as the composer's talent had not reached the mainstream at this point.

The Byrds remained adventurous through this final lineup—here including founder McGuinn, drummer Gene Parsons and bassist Skip Battin beside the late White—and their expedition into the realm of improvisation takes the form of eighteen-plus minutes of "Eight Miles High"; a faintly funky guitar workout gives way to a brisk bass and drums interplay, yet the restatement of that tune's famous intro unfortunately lacks the drama it deserves.

It is the only noticeable lapse in confidence and authority in playing and singing on a CD that otherwise states most emphatically why the legacy of The Byrds continues to grow in leaps and bounds, just as their music did.


Track Listing: Lover of the Bayou; You Ain't Going Nowhere; Truck Stop Girl; My Back Pages; Baby, What You Want Me to Do; Jamaica, Say You Will; Black Mountain Rag/Soldier's Joy; Mr. Tambourine Man; Pretty Boy Floyd; Take a Whiff (On Me); Chestnut Mare; Jesus Is Just Alright; Eight Miles High; So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star; Mr. Spaceman; I Trust; Nashville West; Roll Over Beethoven; Amazing Grace.

Personnel: Roger McGuinn: acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, vocals; Clarence White: electric and acoustic guitars, vocals; Gene Parsons: drums, percussion, harmonica, vocals: Skip Battin: bass, vocals.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Sundazed Music Inc. | Style: Beyond Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Harmonicus Rex" CD/LP/Track Review Harmonicus Rex
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 17, 2016
Read "Sunkissed" CD/LP/Track Review Sunkissed
by Jeff Winbush
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Time Out" CD/LP/Track Review Time Out
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "An Untroublesome Defencelessness" CD/LP/Track Review An Untroublesome Defencelessness
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Chapters Of My Life" CD/LP/Track Review Chapters Of My Life
by James Nadal
Published: March 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!