Saturday, October 14, 2006

119. The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)

Track Listing

1. Artificial Energy
2. Goin' Back
3. Natural Harmony
4. Draft Morning
5. Wasn't Born To Follow
6. Get To You
7. Change Is Now
8. Old John Robertson
9. Tribal Gathering
10. Dolphin's Smile
11. Space Odyssey


Again the Byrds don't disappoint. I'm starting to suspect some of the guys who wrote the book were big Byrds afficionados. This is not actually a bad thing, seeing as my previous knowledge of them was restricted to stuff like Turn! Turn! Turn! and Mr. Tambourine Man, and if there is a band with hidden depths that is The Byrds.

I've been listening to almost the full discography of The Byrds up to now, and I have to say that these guys really evolved through their albums. They started discovering a voice of their own after Mr. Tambourine Man, which was also a great album and this is definitely the culmination of the druggy, psychadelic period. They would then move into country music and also do it perfectly.

The album is at times quite mind-blowing and the nice vocal-harmonics that they have preserved from the beggining of their career make quite a contrast to some quite harsh lyrics. Artificial Energy is a song about a man coming down from amphetamines in jail where he was put because he killed "a queen" while he was high. The song uses brass to mimic amphetamine buzz but the prettyness of the vocals might really misdirect you.

This is probably one of their trippiest albums, the background sounds, the use of brass, effects and feedback to create a sort of spacy, cosmic feel are also pretty well done. IT is also quite a political album, with the covers of Wasn't Born to Follow and Draft Morning setting the tone. Do give it a listen, it is worth it. Stream it from Napster or buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Wasn't Born To Follow
2. Draft Morning
3. Artificial Energy
4. Space Odyssey

Final Grade



The final track on the album, "Space Odyssey," is a musical retelling of Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Sentinel," which was also the inspiration for the Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The song was written in hopes of being included in the film, as it was rumored that Kubrick was considering using contemporary music in the soundtrack. Since the band only knew that movie was somehow plotted around Clarke's short story, it refers to a pyramid found on The Moon, which, in the movie, became a rectangular monolith.

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