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Byrds - Byrdmaniax

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 11 / 3 / 2019

Byrds - Byrdmaniax
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


In our 'Re:View' section, in which we look back at albums from the past, Carl Bookstein examines 'Byrdmaniax', 1960's California folk rock legends the Byrds' recently re-released 1971 album.

The Byrds created bright buoyant California-based folk rock, beginning in the 1960s with Roger McGuinn’s signature 12-string Rickenbacker guitar jangle. They are considered among the most influential bands in rock history. During their career the band went through multiple line-up changes. 'Byrdmaniax' is a lesser known 1971 album, with a line-up comprised of sole original member McGuinn, plus Clarence White, Gene Parsons and Skip Battin. Although the album suffered criticism at the time of release, 'Byrdmaniax' holds up quite well. With piano keys dancing, 'Glory, Glory' begins with an upbeat intro. McGuinn’s evocative vocal rocks the gospels: “Glory, glory, hallelujah, since I laid my burden down.” 'Pale Blue' is soft, sweet and a touch sad, with singing about not having a home, including a well-played harmonica. “I love you in the daylight/When the sheets turn pale blue.” 'I Trust' features a thoughtful lyric: “In times of despair, I think about the good things that you’ve done… Somehow I know that everything’s gonna work out alright.” On'Tu nnel of Love', another rollicking number, horns are played with passion, upping the ante of the song. 'I Wanna Grow Up to Be a Politician' is playful and humorous: “I wanna grow up to be a politician and take over this beautiful land.” 'Absolute Happiness' is soothing and radiant; “Shines within the mind” is the lyric, speaking to dreams and “Looking up instead of down.” “Is this my destiny?” the narrator asks on 'My Destiny', pondering God and man, and wondering why, as the piano player tickles the ivories. 'Kathleen’s Song' is lovely. “I will be waiting for you,” McGuinn sings, “Time don’t mean nothing to me.” 'Jamaica Say You Will' is harmonic and flowing, including a nice touch of steel guitar. “Come again tomorrow,” is the lyric, “Help me find my way." The bonus tracks on this Retroworld release are solid too: a fine McGuinn rendition of Dylan’s 'Just Like A Woman'; an alternate version of 'Pale Blue'; and 'Think I’m Gonna Feel Better', with its lyric, “I hope that you too will see the sunshine come shining through.” For the genuine Byrds fan, there is really quite a lot to like here.

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Byrds - Byrdmaniax

Byrds - Byrdmaniax

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