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Moved to discuss merits of Crosby etc
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rickhouston



Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 106
Location: houston

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:12 pm    Post subject: Moved to discuss merits of Crosby etc Reply with quote

this is moved away from the Clarence forum to continue the discussion of whether or not Crosby contributed much to the Byrds. see Clarence forum section, re transition period playing (in which some guys just couldn't stop blogging re Crosby.) Personally I suspect anyone who is fascinated with Crosby doesn't really follow the stuff on Clarence, or have much interest in Clarence's playing techniques etc. ouch.

Remember, Crosby was in the Byrds for a little over 2 years, was on 4 albums plus minor co-writing credits on a 5th (remember the album cover Notorious? he was represented by the horse's back end).
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telemetric



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 38
Location: seattle

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intitially, I was going to avoid this fray but I think I may have some insights into this controversy regarding Crosby.
Crosby has a great vocal gift that in spite of his much ballyhooed drug problems, firearms fetish, weight issues, liver transplant and all, has remained clear and true. He has a great instinct with alternate tunings and melody. I get the sense that he can be very funny and be fun to share a beer with.
Contrast this with some of his close collaborators who didn't weather the drug craze well, can't sing anymore worth a dang, and seem to slur their speech.
His album, "If I Could Only Remember My Name" has some very beautiful songs on it that can really touch the heart.
I saw a TV special a few years ago with his son in the band CPR.
It was amazing how a man of Crosby's years could sing with such a bell like tone.
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PeeWee



Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 79
Location: Montclair, VA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's no secret that his forte is harmony. That's what he brought to the Byrds more than anything else, IMO. Not really what you'd call a great guitarist, but certainly good. During his tenure with The Byrds, I always thought that their harmonies were every bit as good or even better than The Beach Boys or even Four Freshmen; really pure, simple arrangements but always very solid.

Now if he's an ass....well, that's pretty much beside the point. There are a lot of musicians, writers or artists who's personalities resemble a cow patty, but it doesn't diminish their talents one iota. I certainly feel that the Clarence-era version of The Byrds was a far better band musically, but the early, original version had the voices. Just my take....
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crosby (besides have a great singing voice) has a distinctive style of guitar playing. I like his approach to rhythm on the early Byrds records and his work with alternate tunings...especially later with CSN and CSNY. His personality (or whether you like it or not) has nothing to do with the contribution he made to the Byrds. I like to the think of group and then imagine the group without a particular member ever being in the band. Thats an easy way to get a feel for his contribution. In every lineup version of the Byrds....McGuinn is the only one I can't imagine not being there. He was the Byrds... the master visionary that kept the band rolling. IMHO Cool

With this in mind...here is my list in order of most importance to the Byrds
MVB List (Most Valuable Byrd)
1. Roger McGuinn
2. Clarence White
3. David Crosby
4. Chris Hillman
5. Gene Clark
6. Gene Parsons
7. Gram Parsons
8. Michael Clark
9. Skip Battin
10. John York
11. Kevin Kelly
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raoul



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow ! Listing the Byrds in order of importance will surely open a can of worms.

I disagree completely about John York. He's the most underrated Byrd IMVHO. And Skip Battin too deserves a better place.

Everyone will have his own list I'm sure.

Raoul
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

raoul wrote:
Wow ! Listing the Byrds in order of importance will surely open a can of worms.

I disagree completely about John York. He's the most underrated Byrd IMVHO. And Skip Battin too deserves a better place.

Everyone will have his own list I'm sure.

Raoul

Thats the point Raoul... Everyone has their own list and it means nothing more than that...no need to open a can of worms... it just stirs up some thought. Looking at my list... I might move Michael Clarke down below both Skip Battin and John York....

There's lots of ways to look at it... Obviously looking back now with the benefit of time and being able to look at the band in it's the entire tenure or in distinct time slots, can give a different result. One would have a different opinion if you cast the list in 1968 as compared to today for example.
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getbent



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 116
Location: San Benito, CA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Byrds are the single best example of how amazing a group of people can be when they are together.... and not so much alone. Clarence is the only exception (and maybe some Gene Clark stuff) but I think everyone else in the band really needed a band to 'fly'. Crosby for all his magic (which I never really respected until a few years ago) really required a band (not just a supporting cast) in order to create amazing music (at least on record)

The Byrds in a couple of different formations were just magic, but alone and separate, it was always missing something... Somehow the constant in the ingredients for me is Hillman. He seems to be the great catalyzer, the Happy Hairston of the Byrds.
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frankfurtele



Joined: 24 Dec 2006
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:51 am    Post subject: oh my Reply with quote

gram parson #7 look at the songs he brought to the byrds who else was mixing country and motown songs how long after gram left the byrds did roger still sing close up the honky tonks ,
1 roger
2 the master
3 the cosmic parsons
4 chris hillman
5 gene clark
6 gene parsons
thats just my opinion frankfurtele
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:03 am    Post subject: Re: oh my Reply with quote

frankfurtele wrote:
gram parson #7 look at the songs he brought to the byrds who else was mixing country and motown songs how long after gram left the byrds did roger still sing close up the honky tonks ,


Well it is just our opinions...but looking at Sweetheart of the Rodeo... Gram only wrote 2 songs on it. So...was he a great guitarist? no.. Great singer? average... great songwriter? He wrote a couple classics for the Byrds..great? not sure...

What was his contribution then? Was he the only one on the West Coast doing country songs in a rock band (ie covering songs like Close Up the Honky Tonks ect)? no... Were Clarence, Chris Hillman, Gene Parsons, and other bands already into country? yes.. What was his role in the Byrds? Co-influencer/instigator along with Chris Hillman in solidfying the country trend into the Byrds (already brought in by Chris Hillman..and Clarence as a sideman)... So on my list Gram is further down... whatever he accompished afterwards in not relevant to the Byrds discussion.
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330rick



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 31
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Well it is just our opinions...


Sorry guys. I couldn't help but keep dragging this one on.In my humble/worthless opinion everyone who was in the Byrds brought their own thing to the band that made it whatever it was during any particular lineup.I met a guy who saw the Byrds somewhere in New York in 66(Cornell?)and he said Crosby was definitely the front man and spokesman for the band.I think Crosby had some intangibles that made him a big part of their sound and a major contibutor.I think everyone will agree that Clarence was by far the best musician.My vote for MVP of the Byrds would have to be Mcguinn for his pioneering the sound of folk -rock and the electric 12 string and the fact that as the leader he was able to help steer each lineup into something very different and unique from the previous ones.
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Mur



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 377

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I applaud good things said about the Byrds, as they are all true.

-but a few erroneous ones need to be cleared up:

First, Crosby is a first class lead singer, as proven by these songs: (and others)

Everybody's Been Burned
Carry Me
Deja Vu
Guinnevere

Just play them, it'll blow your mind.

Also, he's a talented and inovative guitarist. Crosby is the other guitar player besides Clarence that baffles me. While I'm starting to get a handle on what Clarence was doing, Crosby's approach is so different, I still wonder after all these years what he was playing in 1965. "Bells of Rymney", and "Chimes Of Freedom" come to mind, as well as several others, like "Eight Miles High" and "Mr Spaceman". That guitar-work is one-of-a-kind and can't be found anywhere.

As for his harmony ..he can't be compared to Beach Boys, Beatles, Four Freshmen, (insert your fave here) cause he's more perfect, more clean, more focused, and more silky. Especially silky. And his harmony creations were superior to other pop groups of the day. Still are. And on a good song, Byrds have the power to move the listener in a spiritual way, which is unheard of for a pop group. In an interview, McGuinn said Crosby created the Byrds harmony parts.

So, once again, my hat is off to that guy, and also to mr smart-guy McGuinn for teaming up with Crosby, Clarke, and later with Clarence and the others.
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bossaroo



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 92
Location: FL/NC/CostaRica

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, here's my list:

1) Gene Clark - to me, Gene really was the Byrds in the beginning. Those first couple albums would have been really thin without Gene's songs to fill them out. "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" defines the Byrds sound to me way more than "Mr. Tambourine Man". And speaking of tambourine man, that was Gene... front and center with the tambourine making the girls scream. He also had the finest voice, both lead and harmony, and the most singing experience as a former member of the New Christy Minstrels. And let's face it, the Byrds were more about harmony singing in the beginning than anything else. Gene was the total package.
2) Clarence White - he really picked up on the Byrds sound early on, which to me is the sound on the intro of "Whole Lot Better"... that sus2/sus4 thing, and it became a big part of his electric guitar vocabulary. His playing on Gene's first solo album is more Byrdsy to me than what the Byrds were doing at that time. Clarence was their guitar genius, right up there with Hendrix or Garcia (they were both big fans), and with the B-bender he created a whole new sound, style, and influence on the guitar. Not to mention his singing, which is the most soulful of any other Byrd, besides maybe Gram Parsons.
3) Chris Hillman - the guy is rock-solid, both his playing and singing, and he was the one who first brought Clarence in... VERY IMPORTANT. His songs on 'Younger Than Yesterday' were really the germs of country-rock, an entire GENRE that he helped create when he recruited (and went on to form the Flying Burrito Brothers with):
4) Gram Parsons - how long was he in the band? maybe 6 months? That's all it took for him to completely revitalize the group, give them a whole new direction, and guide the creation of the most landmark album in the Byrds catalog. A true visionary.
5) Roger McGuinn - yes, finally. Although he didn't invent the electric 12-string or Bach riffs or Dylan songs, he did combine those things to create a truly unique sound. Unfortunately, he stifled the band's progress early on by clinging to the Rickenbacker and the cover material. Not to mention a weak singing voice and a huge ego. In this way, he was the Mike Love of the Byrds: he contributed a lot in the beginning, but ultimately those contributions were limited and formulaic. At least Gram got him to lay down the 12-string for one album.
6) Gene Parsons - a great singer and banjo player (unlike Roger), Gene brought a lot of fresh energy and material to the band. His drumming fit Clarence like a glove. The two of them made a great team and transformed the Byrds into a powerhouse live band, that could also play real bluegrass music. And let's not forget a certain patent that bears his name!
7) David Crosby - one hell of a singer, which is really what the Byrds were all about in the beginning. He may very well be a genius when it comes to singing harmony, but I just don't hear it in his guitar playing or songwriting.
8 )Michael Clarke - he was there from the get-go, and he did a bang-up job. Chris and Gram invited him to join the Flying Burrito Brothers, which really says a lot about his playing.
9) Skip Battin - he was the other piece in that great rhythm section, that established the Byrds as a legendary live act in the early 70s.
10) John York - a fine sideman who played with Clarence pre-Byrds, he was a great fit on 'Dr. Byrds', 'Easy Rider' and the Fillmore album. He also found and sang "Way Behind the Sun", giving Clarence yet another opportunity to really shine.
11) Kevin Kelley - Kevin wrote "All I Have Are Memories"... a great country tune that really should have made the cut on 'Sweetheart', which also features some of Clarence's finest work.


Last edited by bossaroo on Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:24 am; edited 3 times in total
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Brian



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 1360
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These videos speak for themselves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMI3ReCbgO0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUjWWHHkbg0&mode=related&search=

BTW... Dylan had way more influence on the Byrds than Gram Parsons could even dream of... In that respect I consider him more of a Byrd than Gram IMHO Cool
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bossaroo



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 92
Location: FL/NC/CostaRica

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gram was the vision behind the 'Sweetheart' album, which is viewed as the first country-rock album (whether you and I agree with that or not)...

Country-rock has become a much bigger genre than folk-rock ever did. From the Eagles to Nashville to alt-country... it's huge.

Dylan influenced EVERYONE. He influenced the Beatles as much as he influenced the Byrds. Just because the Byrds covered his songs, and jammed with him once or twice, doesn't make him a member of the band.

Gram was. And what he did in just a few months is nothing short of remarkable. In fact, it only underlines how influential and important the guy was... to do what he did in such a short period of the Byrds' overall lifespan.
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Mur



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 377

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Unfortunately, he stifled the band's progress early on by clinging to the Rickenbacker and the cover material. Not to mention a weak singing voice and a huge ego.


McGuinn *was* the bands progress early on, and later.

His voice defined the sixties.

And he's a gentleman ...this I know first hand.

Clinging to the Rickenbacker? ..what the hell does that mean? ..loco is what it is.

As for Dylan, he doesn't matter ...best songs were written by McGuinn, Crosby and Clark, and Pete Seeger.
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