Friday, 10 July 2015

It's The Byrds !

I'm pursuing a Byrds obsession at the moment on foot of an excellent documentary on the band broadcast on BBC Radio earlier this week. Narrated by Peter Fonda, with his customary swagger, this hour long program is a good primer on the band and their music and includes contributions from Roger McGuinn and some particularly good stuff from Byrds fan Bobby Gillespie ("There's a real sadness to Gene Clark, a real heaviness, for such a young guy to be writing great songs"). Listening to this Byrds' history, the speed at which the band moved, the turbulence that made the band a veritable revolving door of line-up changes has bumped up on my to-read list Johnny Rogan's 2012 biography Requiem for the Timeless: Volume 1, which requires some investment on the part of the reader, this massive book measures 1216 pages... not quite eight miles high but getting there...

One interesting thing feature of the documentary were some radio spots for their albums, including one for Ballad of Easy Rider which I was quite taken with - the voice featured has a distinctive, warm and friendly tell-it-how-it-is quality that I like ("It's a music about America too... it's The Byrds"). A little detective work suggests the voice belongs to Marshall Efron, a voice artist and actor (his credits include THX-1138). I like the Sweetheart of the Rodeo radio spot as well, with Columbia doing their damnedest to sell a country record to a rock audience ("For their latest Columbia album the Byrds take 11 trips to the country. Why not fly with them?")

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