#170: The Notorious Byrd Brothers by The Byrds


The Notorious Byrd Brothers by The Byrds (1968)

Favorite Tracks: "Goin' Back" and "Wasn't Born to Follow" and "Get to You"

Thoughts: I've finished reading Graham Nash's Wild Tales. In the past I've stated more than once on this blog that Graham Nash is my favorite member of CSNY, and I need to retract that statement now that I've read his memoir. Even though this is a Byrds album, I'm not here to declare the new favorite is David Crosby. Far from it. Neil Young--despite his grumpiness and flaky devotion to the quartet--is now the best of the group in my mind. Not that it's a competition. I used to think "Gosh, why couldn't Neil keep it together and stick with the band?" Now I know why.

This is actually the album during which Crosby left (or was fired) from The Byrds, which made more sense when I realized that he wasn't in the cover photo. (Apparently the other band members have denied that the horse represents Crosby. Don't you think it looks photo-shopped in? I do.) Despite his dismissal/departure mid-production of the album, 3 of his recorded songs made the final cut.

Maybe if I read a memoir by Crosby himself I would like him better, but that certainly hasn't been the result of reading Wild Tales. Nash talks about admiring the fact that (adult content ahead) he once walked in on Crosby getting a 'job' from two women at once. The whole book treats the women in these men's lives like shit. (Except for Joni, which I appreciate. Graham refuses to say a bad thing about her, which I didn't expect but really respect.) Not to mention the endless amounts of hard drugs and huge egos that makes one imagine how any music got made at all.

Anyway, the Byrds. I know very little about this band, aside from "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season)" covers I heard growing up with the Oldies station in my hometown (neither of which are on this album). It looks like this record is during the psychedelic stage of the band's discography, though I didn't really get that vibe until the 3rd track in, "Natural Harmony."

There's a song called "Dolphin's Smile" by Crosby which from the title sounds like it should be right up my alley, but really I wasn't that into it. It felt like a parody of 60s folk pop. The album ends with the trippy "Space Odyssey," overall leaving me quite unimpressed and uninterested with this album.

Is This Better Than Every Picture Tells A Story?: Not even close!

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