The Byrds – Lover of the Bayou

This version of the Byrds gets ignored but they had some great musicians in the band. Roger Mcguinn, the great guitarist Clarence White and equally great bass player Skip Battin.

Tom Petty’s band Mudcrutch also covered this song in 2008. Mudcrutch formed in 1970 and broke up in 1975. After the initial break-up, band members Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, and Benmont Tench went on to form Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Lover of the Bayou” was originally written by Roger McGuinn and Jacques Levy. Jacques Levy was a songwriter and theater director, who collaborated with McGuinn in 1969 with an interest in making a Broadway musical. While the musical never saw production, several of the songs survived as Byrds’ songs.

Personally, I like the live version by The Byrds the best but I included The Byrds studio version, Mudcrutch, and The Byrds live version.

From Songfacts

If the lyrics sound like they’re full of Freudian symbolism (“I learned the key to the master look; I learned to float in the water clock.”), that might be because song co-writer Jacques Levy was also a clinical psychologist! Levy also directed the off-Broadway erotic (and all-nude) revue Oh! Calcutta!.

The original Byrds’ version of this song may be found on disk two of the album The Essential Byrds, released in 2003. It was originally on their untitled album, along with “Chestnut Mare”, “All the Things” and “Just a Season”, also from the would-be musical.

If a stage musical sounds unlikely, McGuinn had even bigger plans beyond that to produce a science-fiction film which would have been named Ecology 70 and would have starred ex-Byrd Gram Parsons and ex-Mamas And The Papas Michelle Phillips, as a couple of “hippies in space.” This was a more common idea in the late ’60s and early ’70s than you might think – witness the 1974 John Carpenter film Dark Star.

Lover of the Bayou

Catfish pie in gris gris bag
I’m the lover of the bayou
Pack your doorstep with a half wet rag
I’m the lover of the bayou
I was raised and swam with the crocodile
Snake-eye taught me the Mojo style
Sucked and weaned on chicken bile
I’m the lover of the bayou

I learned the key to the master lock
Learned to float in the water clock
Learned to capture the lightning shock
I’m the lover of the bayou
And I got cat’s an’ teeth and hair for sale
I’m the lover of the bayou
And there are zombies on your tail
I’m the lover of the bayou

I cooked a bat in a gumbo pan
I drank the blood from a rusty can
Turned me into the Hunger Man
I’m the lover of the bayou, yeah.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

4 thoughts on “The Byrds – Lover of the Bayou”

  1. Interesting song with deep metaphors. I remember while watching one of those Dylan docs where they talked about Dylan pulling Levy in to help write songs on the Oh Mercy album. I had no idea he was a clinical psychologist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I first heard this song a few months ago and liked it. Clarence Whit was an incredible player that died in an accident way too young.
      Marty Stuart owns his guitar…

      I didn’t know that about Levy.

      Liked by 1 person

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