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Live Royal Albert Hall 1971

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Live Royal Albert Hall 1971

12" LP

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Quick Overview

Fly back to 1971 to the Royal Albert Hall in England to be amongst the flock at the Byrds concert. Listen to the 19 tunes on this Live CD and travel to the past as if it never left. Adding ringing electric guitars to Bob Dylan songs, the Byrds helped invent folk-rock, as well as becoming early proponents of psychedelia and popularizing country-rock with the help of alt-country saint Gram Parsons. Led by Roger McGuinn and his distinctive Rickenbacker guitar sound, the mid-1960s lineup--also featuring David Crosby, Gene Clark, and Chris Hillman--achieved fame with their unique take on Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Personnel changes resulted in a core band of only McGuinn and Hillman. Ultimately, McGuinn assumed full control of the Byrds legacy, and their harmonies and jangly guitars have influenced countless younger bands.


Although the original lineup of the Byrds gets the most critical attention, and to the greatest extent it probably should, the fact remains that the late-era version of this band, the one that featured founding member Roger McGuinn and Clarence White on guitars, Skip Battin on bass, and Gene Parsons on drums, was the most stable one the group ever had, and by far the best live unit. Between 1969 and 1972 this incarnation of the Byrds recorded five albums and toured relentlessly and their shows, thanks in no small part to the guitar interplay between McGuinn and the truly astounding White, were wonderfully balanced affairs that featured all of the Byrds' stylistic phases -- from folk-rock to country to bluegrass and space music and beyond -- rolled into a thoroughly professional package. This set, taken from a May 13, 1971 concert at Royal Albert Hall, captures that sound and this version of the Byrds at a peak, and it is perhaps the finest live recording of this particular unit to surface yet. Anchored by a monstrous, nearly 20-minute version of "Eight Miles High" Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 finds White and McGuinn channeling John Coltrane, ragas, free jazz, and all points in between into a complete tour of the then known musical universe. Although McGuinn is solid as a guitar player throughout this set, it is White who really amazes. He sounds like absolutely no one else before or since on guitar, and his playing is so fast, fluid, and ever shifting that one can't help but listen in astonishment. Everything here has a constant spark of energy that all too often was missing for the Byrds in the studio. The blistering pace of the instrumental "Nashville West" here has so much energy that it seems like it ought to lift out of the speakers and blast on through to the stars. Not everything in this set flies quite that high, though, and the earlier Byrds hits like "My Back Pages" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" sound a bit old and creaky, but they're never less than professionally rendered, and this show does a very good job of spotlighting the finest live configuration this historic band ever had.

Additional Information

Artist Byrds
Track Listing 1 Lover of the Bayou - 3:35 2 You Ain't Going Nowhere - 2:47 3 Truck Stop Girl - 3:21 4 My Back Pages - 2:22 5 Baby, What You Want Me to Do - 3:38 6 Jamaica, Say You Will - 3:33 7 Black Mountain Rag/Soldier's Joy - 2:02 8 Mr. Tambourine Man - 3:38 9 Pretty Boy Floyd - 2:34 10 Take a Whiff (On Me) - 2:39 11 Chestnut Mare - 5:24 12 Jesus Is Just Alright - 3:03 13 Eight Miles High - 18:38 14 So You Want to Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star - 3:07 15 Mr. Spaceman - 2:57 16 I Trust - 5:31 17 Nashville West - 2:43 18 Roll over Beethoven - 2:59 19 Amazing Grace - 2:31

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