Byrds – Goin’ Back

Before I start…I’ll be off and on this weekend because I’m traveling to Memphis to see Big E’s house…Graceland… for the 3rd time.

Power pop can be traced back to George Harrison and Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbackers. This was right before the Byrds dived into country rock with Graham Parsons and made the Sweethearts of the Rodeo album.

Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers

The Notorious Byrd Brothers cover controversy. It has been said that McGuinn or the other Byrds wanted to insult the fired David Crosby by placing a horse in the stall beside them in his place. McGuinn had the best response to this… “If we had intended to do that, we would have turned the horse around.”

The album (The Notorious Byrd Brothers) marked Gene Clark’s brief return to the band. He had left The Byrds the year before and made a solo album that was critically praised but failed commercially. His supposedly fear of flying had a huge impact. After the album was released he toured with the band briefly but after an anxiety attack in Minneapolis, he quit.

David Crosby was fired by McGuinn and Hillman before the album was finished. He was upset at the rest of the band for finishing one of his songs and using it among many things. Crosby was not in favor of doing this song written by “two Brill Building writers” and they should only record their original music. They bickered back and forth and Crosby was fired. Crosby went on to fame in Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Parsons and Hillman would, later on, form the Flying Burrito Brothers. 

Crosby also fought with drummer Michael Clarke and Clarke soon quit before it was finished. This left McGuinn and Hillman and that is when they got Gene Clark to take Crosby’s place which lasted only 3 weeks.

Clarence White, the future Byrd the following year, helped out on the album with pedal steel guitar. Goin’ Back was a Goffin and King song. The first version/hit was by Dusty Springfield and it peaked at #10 in the UK in 1966.

The single was released a few months before The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Goin’ Back peaked at #89 on the Billboard 100 in 1967.

Gene Clark:  “The fear of flying wasn’t why I quit the group, When you’re 19, 20 years old and you start on a fantasy, then six months later you’re hanging out with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, it can cause you to become a little disturbed. The reason for the group’s breakup was much less the fear of flying than it was we were too young to handle the amount of success that was thrown at us all at once.”

David Crosby: “I started going up and hanging out with Roger and Gene, we would sing together at The Troubadour, Gene was from a family of 11 from somewhere like Mississippi, he had no clue what the rules were, so he would just do it in a way that somebody else hadn’t thought of. And Roger was so smart, who listened to and go, ‘Well, we could just do this and this to it,’ and boom, it’s a record! I almost hate giving Roger as much credit as I do, but you can’t deny it – he was a moving force behind that band, and he did create the arrangements for the songs.”

Photographer Gus Webster: I get asked about this cover shot for The Byrds all the time. This was shot a couple of years after I first worked for them. The picture was done up in [Topanga] Canyon. The group was going through changes. I got a call to shoot the album cover. They wanted to go out to the country, since their first album cover was shot in a studio.

So I found this abandoned barn with four open windows. There was a horse in the field. I put each one of the guys in the windows. And in the last window I put the horse. I was mistakenly accused of denigrating David Crosby. It wasn’t to replace Crosby, who had been fired; it wasn’t to insult anyone. It was just to balance the composition. It was just a space and a horse — and what an image.”

Goin’ Back

I think I’m goin’ back
To the things I learned so well in my youth,
I think I’m returning to
The days when I was young enough to know the truth

Now there are no games
To only pass the time
No more coloring books,
No Christmas bells to chime
But thinking young and growing older is no sin
And I can play the game of life to win

I can recall a time,
When I wasn’t afraid to reach out to a friend
And now I think I’ve got
A lot more than a skipping rope to lift

Now there’s more to do
Than watch my sailboat glide
Then everyday can be my magic carpet ride
And I can play hide and seek with my fears,
And live my life instead of counting my years

Let everyone debate the true reality,
I’d rather see the world the way it used to be
A little bit of freedom, all we’re left
So catch me if you can
I’m goin’ back

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

Byrds – Tiffany Queen

Back in the 80s I bought some compilation Byrds tape with this song on it. I had never heard it before but I liked it right away. It does borrow from 50’s rock and roll just a little bit just enough to give it flavor.

Tiffany Queen was written and recorded live in the studio and it is a fun song. The song was on the album Farther Along and was released in 1971. The album peaked at #152 in the Billboard Al bum Charts and #41 in Canada.

FartherAlongCover.jpg

Farther Along was not their best album…their next album would be the reunion of the original members in 1973. That album was called Byrds and it peaked at #20 in the Billboard Album Charts, #19 in Canada, and #31 in the UK.

Roger McGuinn: “We wouldn’t really write at a session, because studio time was so expensive. Usually the writing would take place at someone’s house, either my house or the other guy’s house. We’d sit down at a table and chairs with a legal pad and start working on it. And you know, it definitely is work, it’s a lot more perspiration than inspiration! Once in a while you get a tune that’s pretty fully formed, like you wake up having heard it in a dream or something, but that’s only happened once in a while to me. An example of that would be the song Tiffany Queen: I dreamed that song and went in and recorded it the next day. I can’t think of any others.”

Tiffany Queen

Happiness hit me on the first day that we met
She was sitting in my kitchen with a face I can’t forget
She was looking in my direction and calling with her eyes
I was trying to do and interview and telling them all lies
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head

They asked me what I thought about the 50’s rock n roll
Then they got into a limousine and fell into a hole
I moved into the kitchen and I quickly fell in love
The warden came along and asked me what I was thinking of
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head

Well I grabbed her by the hand and with a few things I could
The warden said your leaving you better leave for good
I made it to Tasmania to buy a devil dog
We met a handsome prince who turned into a frog
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head

Now we’re living out in Malibu the ocean by our side
Laying in the sunshine drifting with the tide
Happiness hit me on the first day that we met
She was sitting in my kitchen with a face I can’t forget
Last year in the summer with a tiffany lamp over her head
Over her head

Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)

I love to feature a Byrd’s song because it’s time to break out the Rickenbacker 12 string guitar and hear the magical jangle and ringing tone.

This was written by Pete Seeger, an influential folk singer and activist. He recorded a demo of the song around 1961, and included a live version on his 1962 album The Bitter And The Sweet with just voice and guitar.

The lyrics were taken from a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) in The Bible. They were rearranged and paired with Seeger’s music to make the song.

When The Byrds started working on this song, McGuinn and David Crosby devised a new arrangement of Seeger’s original, but it took the band over 50 tries to get the sound right. The song was released on the Turn, Turn, Turn album in 1965. The album peaked at #17 in the Billboard Album Charts and #11 in the UK.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #26 in the UK, and #3 in Canada in 1965.

Ecclesiastes (3:1-8)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

From Songfacts

Seeger: “I got a letter from my publisher, and he says, ‘Pete, I can’t sell these protest songs you write.’ And I was angry. I sat down with a tape recorder and said, ‘I can’t write the kind of songs you want. You gotta go to somebody else. This is the only kind of song I know how to write.’ I pulled out this slip of paper in my pocket and improvised a melody to it in fifteen minutes. And I sent it to him. And I got a letter from him the next week that said, ‘Wonderful! Just what I’m looking for.’ Within two months he’d sold it to the Limelighters and then to the Byrds. I liked the Byrds’ record very much, incidentally. All those clanging, steel guitars – they sound like bells.” (this appears in Zollo’s book Songwriters On Songwriting)

A folk trio called The Limeliters released an upbeat, banjo-based version in 1962.

Before he recorded this song with The Byrds, Jim McGuinn (who later went by Roger) played acoustic 12-string guitar on Judy Collins’ 1963 version, which appears on her album Judy Collins #3. He also worked up the arrangement with Collins.

Judy Collins’ version was released as a single in 1969 when it was included on her album Recollections. It reached #69 in the US, the only Hot 100 appearance of the song besides The Byrds’ rendition.

Dolly Parton covered this on her 1984 album of cover songs The Great Pretender, and again in 2005 on Those Were The Days

Roger McGuinn teamed up with country artist Vern Gosdin, who was once a member of Chris Hillman’s bluegrass band The Hillman and one half of The Gosdin Brothers (who occasionally opened for The Byrds), for a cover of this song on Gosdin’s 1984 album There Is A Season. McGuinn played the same 12-string Rickenbacker that he used on The Byrds’ recording of the song. In 1994 a previously unreleased version that was originally remixed in 1984 for an anticipated single was included on the The Truly Great Hits Of Vern Gosdin

This was used in the movie Forrest Gump as Forrest says goodbye to Jenny, who is leaving for Berkeley.

I love Roger’s glasses…I did track down a pair of them in the 80s…I then lost them and bought some off of Ebay…they are not easy to find.

Turn Turn Turn

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

My Favorite Guitarists

Here are some of my favorite guitarists. Being fast is not something I care about… I’ve always liked guitarists who play with feel more than finger tapping.

 

Roger McGuinn, Byrds – He will not rip off lightning licks but he plays the Rickenbacker 12 string like no one else. I like the tone and his understated style.

Image result for roger mcguinn playing guitar byrds

Neil Young – This may seem like an odd choice but when Neil plays the electric guitar…anything that can happen will. He plays by feel and feedback and God bless him for that.

Related image

Brian May, Queen– You can hum his solos. One of the most melodic lead guitar players I’ve ever heard.

Image result for brian may playing guitar young

Pete Townsend, Who – The king of the power chord. Pete does not have blinding speed but every note he plays is for a purpose.

Related image

Keith Richards, Stones – The Human Riff… When Keith found G tuning the Stones sound changed forever and it may have been the key to their longevity.

Related image

George Harrison, Beatles – After the Beatles, he reinvented himself into a great slide guitar player. Guitar players are still trying to find that tone. He had a great touch and taste in whatever he played.

Related image

Buddy Guy – For electric blues and the tone he gets Buddy Guy is the man. Below is a picture of Buddy at the Festival Express playing a great version of Money.

Image result for buddy guy festival express

Jimi Hendrix – Like Keith Moon…many musicians have tried to copy him but none have. It is controlled chaos but I like it.

Image result for jimi hendrix 1970

Chuck Berry – Rock and roll owes a lot to him…he has been copied more than anyone.

Related image

Scotty Moore, Elvis – The guitar player backing Elvis on his great 50s hits. Keith Richards said of Moore… Everyone else wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be Scotty.

Image result for scotty moore 1955

Also

Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Peter Green, Lindsey Buckingham, BB King, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page

 

 

 

 

 

The Byrds – Drug Store Truck Driving Man

This song is on the Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde album by the Byrds. The song is decent but the interesting part is the story behind the song. It was written in response to an on-air argument with Ralph Emery, at the time an all-night country DJ on a country radio station. It was written by Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons.

In 1968 The Byrds were in Nashville promoting their new country album “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” and got a cool reception at the Grand Ole Opry. They got into an argument with Emery on air when he said that “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” wasn’t country and then proceeded to call them long-haired hippies and would not play the record. He also didn’t understand what the song meant and Roger told him that Dylan wrote it…that didn’t help.

Ralph Emery would not budge…It was the 1960s in a very fifties Nashville and Ralph could not get past the hair. It would open up a bit in the early seventies with Outlaw country music by Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings.

This is from an interview with Chris Hillman.

“There was the funny story with Ralph Emery, the DJ in Nashville, where he had The Gilded Palace Of Sin tacked on the wall outside of his office, and with a big red pen it said, ‘This is not country music.’ Roger and Gram had gone to do an interview with him when we were all still with the Byrds, and Ralph was such a jerk to them then that they wrote that song “Drug Store Truck Driving Man”. A classic! I wish I’d written a part of that. But later, whenever I’d go on his show with the Desert Rose Band, Ralph would ask, “Did you write that song?” Finally, I had to say, “No, but I wish I had!” So when Roger was on later, Ralph would say, “Well, how is Gram doing?” and Roger would answer, “He’s still dead.” McGuinn was pretty darned quick in those situations!” 

Lyrics

He’s a drug store truck-drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

Well, he’s got him a house on the hill
He plays country records till you’ve had your fill
He’s a fireman’s friend he’s an all-night DJ
But he sure does think different from the records he plays

He’s a drug store truck-drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

Well, he don’t like the young folks I know
He told me one night on his radio show
He’s got him a medal he won in the War
It weighs five-hundred pounds and it sleeps on his floor

He’s a drug store truck drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

He’s been like a father to me
He’s the only DJ you can hear after three
I’m an all-night musician in a rock and roll band
And why he don’t like me I can’t understand

He’s a drug store truck-drivin’ man
He’s the head of the Ku Klux Klan
When summer rolls around
He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

He’ll be lucky if he’s not in town

This one’s for you, Ralph

 

 

Roger McGuinn

Those glasses and Rickenbacker equals the sixties rock band. One of my favorite guitar players ever. I loved the jangling 12 string Rickenbacker that McGuinn is famous for… Roger heard George Harrison use one and then McGuinn took it to a new level in songs like Eight Miles High.

I was lucky to see him solo in 1987. He will not rip into a Hendrix solo but the sound he gets out of his 12 string Rickenbacker is great. On the songs, he did only on his 12-string acoustic he makes them sound full without a band.

His sound is the sound of the mid-sixties. He was a founder of the Byrds and was with them through all of their incarnations. The jangly pop, country rock, and the more rock music jamming faze in the early seventies.

The Byrds started in 1964 and lasted until 1973. McGuinn was the only member to remain with the band the entire run. Personally, I like all of the phases of the band. The last phase is probably the least well known but with Clarence White playing guitar with his B-Bender was fantastic. Songs like “Lover of the Bayou,”” Ballad of Easy Rider,” and “Chestnut Mare” are memorable.

McGuinn also collaborated with Bob Dylan on the soundtrack “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” and joined Bob in the mid-seventies on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

The Byrds influenced many artists like Elvis Costello, The La’s, Wilco, REM, and The Jayhawks but the one I think of the most is Tom Petty. Tom helped revive the jangly sound in the seventies with American Girl which sounded very close to McGuinn. This is Roger talking in 2014:

“When I heard ‘American Girl’ for the first time I said, ‘when did I record that?’ I was kidding but the vocal style sounded just like me and then there was the Rickenbacker guitar, which I used. The vocal inflections were just like mine. I was told that a guy from Florida named Tom Petty wrote and sings the song, and I said that I had to meet him.

Roger invited Tom to open up for him in 1976 and they were friends after that. Roger released an album in 1991 titled “Back To Rio” with help from Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, and others.

His solo career was never too successful until 1989 with a country hit “You Aint Going Nowhere” that made it to number 6 in the Country Charts. That was ironic after being told by Nashville disc Jockey Ralph Emery in 1968 that the song wasn’t country when the Byrds covered it. In 1991 he had his most commercial album “Back To Rio” that made it to #44 on the Billboard Charts and two singles “King of the Hill”#2 and “Someone To Love”#12.

Roger, Chris Hillman, Marty Stuart are currently doing a small tour for the 50th anniversary of Sweetheart of the Rodeo…I see the Ryman on there and I see me there.

https://www.jambase.com/article/byrds-co-founders-roger-mcguinn-chris-hillman-announce-sweetheart-rodeo-50th-anniversary-tour