Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dylan Covers: Byrds Play Dylan

Byrds: Positively 4th Street [Untitled 1970] [purchase]

Byrds: Mr. Tambourine Man [Royal Albert Hall 1971] [purchase CD] [purchase LP]

Byrds: Chimes Of Freedom [Fillmore West 1969] [purchase]

Byrds: You Ain't Goin' Nowhere [Untitled 1970] [purchase]

Byrds: This Wheel's On Fire [Fillmore West 1969] [purchase]

At Dean's request I put together a gaggle of Dylan covers performed by The Byrds. Since a few studio cuts have already been posted, I decided to stick with live versions. If nothing else, the entirety of the Byrds/Dylan catalog showcases the peculiar empathy Roger McGuinn had for Bob's work. But, these five songs also stand out for me ... and surely you saw this coming! ... because they highlight Clarence White's brilliance as a sideman. "Chimes Of Freedom" and "This Wheel's On Fire," in particular, have some incendiary guitar passages, but the stutters, filigrees, and flourishes throughout are typically genius.

Incidentally, way back in 1964, Clarence was given a demo of "Mr. Tambourine Man" by then-Byrds producer, Jim Dickson, for a possible solo release. This was about the time The Kentucky Colonels were slowing down and CW's interest in rock 'n' roll was perking up and a solo release made sense. Clarence passed on the song, so it went to the artist standing in the on-deck circle, The Byrds. Will the circle be unbroken ...

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