Thursday, July 13, 2006

63. The Byrds - Fifth Dimension (1966)

Track Listing

1. 5D Fifth Dimension
2. Wild Mountain Thyme
3. Mr Spaceman
4. I See You
5. What's Happening
6. I Come And Stand At Every Door
7. Eight Miles High
8. Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)
9. Captain Soul
10. John Riley
11. 242 Foxtrot (The Lear Jet Song)


So, uh, the Byrds. Right. The Beatles/Bob Dylan love children from the US of A. Unfortunately they aren't in this album as good as any of them.Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad album. In fact it's a pretty good one. It is however very uneven. From the very good like Eight Miles High to the quite crappy, like their version of Hey Joe.

The most interesting thing they do on this album is actually the use of Raga principles for guitars. They take ideas from Indian classical music, like The Beatles did but instead of using a real Sitar they use a guitar. Their most apparent example of this is Eight Miles High, doubtless the best track on the album. The Byrds also don't shy away from their folk roots and the two very folky tracks Wild Mountain Thyme and John Riley are among the best here.

The Byrds also do tragedy well, and I Come and Stand At Every Door is an interesting, anti-war anthem. There is another very interesting track in 242 Foxtrot (The Lear Jet Song) where The Byrds use jet engines in a very intrusive but strangely adequate way. This sounds like a band that is solidifying the finds of The Beatles and the Beach Boys into more "normal" music. This isn't however necessarily a good thing. Fifth Dimension sounds at times pedestrian and a bit dull, but it has some good hits among the misses. Very enjoyable listening, but a very uneven one, it's not like you need to skip tracks, it just isn't that interesting at times.

You can stream this album on Napster or just buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Eight Miles High
2. Wild Mountain Thyme
3. 242 Foxtrot (The Lear Jet Song)
4. John Riley

Final Grade



Jimmy Hendrix does a much better Hey Joe. This one is just crappy, and I never thought I'd say it "has too much cowbell". Less Cowbell!

From Wiki

"Eight Miles High," with its fusion of Coltrane-influenced attack in the guitar solo and raga structure from Indian classical music, was pivotal in transmuting folk-rock into the new form of psychedelia. Guitarist Roger McGuinn had laboriously incorporated Coltrane's modal style of playing into his guitar technique, a startling accomplishment. With or without its innovative qualities, many radio stations refused to play the record, believing the title a reference to drugs, although the lyrics in actuality pertained to an approximation of airliner cruising altitude and the group's visit to London while on tour.

Written mostly by Gene Clark, after an evening of carousing with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones in that ancient hamlet, the song was Clark's last hurrah with the Byrds, as he left the band shortly after recording this single and its fabulous b-side, "Why," its Indian influences even more prominent. The official story on Clark's departure has always been fear of flying, although other reasons have been brought forward at various times. The band had also split from producer Terry Melcher, who had guided them through their two classic folk-rock albums of 1965, Columbia staff producer Allen Stanton being assigned in lieu of any other preference by the band for this album.

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