published: 10 /
Carl Bookstein reflects on 'Peace on You', the 1974 second solo album from Byrds founder, singer and guitarist Roger McGuinn which has just been reissued.
'Peace On You,' a 1974 release, was the second solo album from Byrd's singer, songwriter and guitarist Roger McGuinn. Many tracks here were co-written by sometime Bob Dylan lyricist and compatriot Jacques Levy. McGuinn is aided here by a stellar backing band including such guests as keyboardist Al Kooper and drummer Russ Kunkel. Instead of his signature Byrds 12-string Rickenbacker guitar jangle; McGuinn explores material of a more Californian singer songwriter country rock territory. The album was produced by Bill Halverson who had worked with Crosby, Stills & Nash and Eric Clapton.
The album title track 'Peace On You,' kicks it off. “Peace in the valley, peace in the sea,” is the lyric, “Peace to all the little children and me, and peace on you.” There is some stinging electric guitar here and a fine vocal by McGuinn of a Charlie Rich penned tune. Great musicianship on this big number is enhanced by an orchestra and a choir of backing vocalists. It is an inspired number and a fine performance.
'Without You' is a subtle and sweet country blues. “There was no one else but you from the moment that we met,” is the lyric. “Now I’m left without a friend/Cup of coffee in my hand/Walk the floor without an end.” There is more stinging guitar, rocking out.
Fine, finger-picking, good time music, 'Going to the Country' possesses a pulsating country rock beat, with a call to get back to the land and “chase my blues away.”
The narrator of '(Please Not) One More Time' is struggling with lost love. He declares himself “a two time loser,” as he dreams of California, while watching the Georgia sunrise. “I don’t think I’ll have the energy to go down one more time,” he states, “Please don’t say it’s magic because it always winds up tragic.”
'Same Old Sound' is about life up on the stage. “Been all around the world… Got to play that same old sound/Going round and round.”
A compelling number, 'Do What You Want To Do' declares dreams are real. “Say what you want to say,” McGuinn states, “cause it may help you… in the end… thinking about tomorrow.”
An album highlight here for certain is 'Gate of Horn,' a remembrance of pre-stardom days gone by, hanging out at the Chicago folk venue by the same name. “Going to the Gate of Horn in my memory… Listen to Mr. Gibson play on his fine guitar… meant everything to me.” “Then they came and tore it down… Glad I was Chicago born.” McGuinn’s recollection is a bit melancholy, but warm and joyous nevertheless.
It is a fine number from a strong album. All in all, Roger McGuinn’s 'Peace On You' is a welcome treat- a great look at post Byrds heyday yesterdays.