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Ballad of Easy Rider (Exp)
Ballad of Easy Rider (Exp)
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Byrds
Title: Ballad of Easy Rider (Exp)
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 1/1/1969
Re-Release Date: 3/25/1997
Album Type: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Styles: Oldies, Folk Rock, Country Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 074646511428

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CD Reviews

The Last Great Byrds Album
Steve Vrana | Aurora, NE | 01/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Originally released the same month as the Beatles' Abbey Road, both albums amounted to swan sangs for the respective bands. The Byrds would release spotty albums with occasionally excellent material, but Ballad of Easy Rider would be their last album of uniformly top notch songs.The album opens with the stunning "Ballad of Easy Rider" and in two short minutes McGuinn captures the youth culture's optimistic search for freedom: "The river flows, it flows to the sea/wherever that river goes, that's where I want to be." The album was very much a band effort. Of the four originals on the album, McGuinn contributed only the title track. John York wrote "Fido," (featuring the only drum solo on a Byrds' album). Gene Parsons (no relation to Gram) and Clarence White are given songwriting credit for "Oil in My Lamp," one of the few lead vocals for White who is better known for his guitar work. The other original is the gentle "Gunga Din" by Gene Parsons, who also provides the vocal.The country take on "Tulsa County" features some terrific guitar playing by White. "Jack Tarr the Sailor" is the type of sea chantey McGuinn would return to on his solo album Cardiff Rose. Their rendition of "Jesus is Just Alright" was released as a single and though it was little different than the version put out four years later by the Doobie Brothers, the Byrds version spent only one week at No. 97 before falling off the charts. It would also be the last time a Byrds single would dent Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart.As they had done throughout their career, the Byrds once again went to the Bob Dylan songbook. This time recording a moving version of "It's All over Now, Baby Blue." But the band's most stirring cover is their majestic take on Woody Guthrie's "Deporte (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)," a sympathetic look at the plight of Mexican immigrants. The bonus tracks are abundant--seven in all. Of the two tracks otherwise only available on The Byrds Boxed Set, "Way Beyond the Sun" is a traditional folk tune and "Mae Jean Goes to Hollywood" is a Jackson Browne song. "Fiddler A Dram" is an experimental song using the then-new Moog synthesizer, which is a curious but non-essential track. "Build It Up" is an instrumental allowing Clarence White to show off his guitar prowess. The other three tracks are alternate takes of the original album's songs, including the long version of "Ballad of Easy Rider." [Only in the sixties would a 2-minute and 26-second song be able to stake a claim as the "long" version!)The album peaked at No. 36--their highest charting album since Greatest Hits went to No. 6 in 1967. Sales no doubt were helped along by the popularity of the movie "Easy Rider," which featured the album's title song in the soundtrack.All told, this was the last great Byrds album and it belongs in any serious Byrds fan's collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"
The Best Latter-Day Byrds Album and, Possibly, Best Ever.
Matt | 11/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When Columbia Records released "The Ballad of Easy Rider" in 1969, they advertised that "the movie gave you the facts, the 'Ballad' interprets them." How dead-on they were: while "Easy Rider" depicted a democratic America, "The Ballad of Easy Rider" IS everyman's America captured in music. Full of warm, harmonious vocals which rival (and surpass I'd say) the mellifluous sounds of CSN, simple themes, brilliant muscianship, and pure and genuine production thanks to Terry Melcher (a far cry from the orchestrated twang of "Byrdmaniax"), this album is the very best that the Byrds ever made. The aforementioned harmonies of McGuinn, White, Parsons, York, and even Melcher- I think- blow the original line up out of the water...just check out "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Creatively, likewise, each track differs from the previous yet the album coherently flows and, by the end, simply cries "Help me, I'm lonely!" Five stars for an absolutely brilliant album, one that changed my life."
A Fine Transitional Album
Compton Roberts | Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA | 07/31/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"1969's "Ballad of Easy Rider" was the commercial shot in the arm that The Byrds so desperately needed, reaching #36 on the charts when their previous albums had been languishing (unfairly, I might add) near the bottom. Its connection to the film "Easy Rider" is unfortunately in name only. You will not find classic, trippy 1960s rock in the style heard on that film's soundtrack. In fact, this album is a laid-back, sweetly-sung, gently-played experience, anticipating much of the country-flavoured LA rock music of the 1970s (Poco, The Eagles, Firefall, etc.). The album opens with a lushly-orchestrated version of "The Ballad of Easy Rider", a true Byrds classic, and frustratingly, the only Roger McGuinn original on this album! From here its momentum is slowed by a mediocre John York tune "Fido" and an unremarkable, though hard-rocking version of the traditional gospel "Oil in My Lamp". The album gets back into more familiar Byrds territory with "Tulsa County" (which would have fit nicely on "Sweetheart of the Rodeo") and a sea shanty called "Jack Tarr the Sailor" that Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span fans should enjoy. The second half of this CD blasts open with a transcendent cover of the gospel tune "Jesus Is Just Alright", inaugurating a brand new sound for The Byrds which would be developed further in concert and on their next, superior effort "Untitled". A moving cover of Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue", an infectious single-that-should-have-been by drummer Gene Parsons "Gunga Din", and "Deportee", a deeply-felt elegy for migrant workers written by Woody Gutherie, end the original album on a strong note. The bonus material is fairly engaging and certainly fits the original album's mood well: "Way Behind the Sun" has to-die-for smooth, country/blues picking from master Clarence White; "Mae Jean Goes to Hollywood" is a catchy, inconsequential Jackson Browne donation to the group; "Fiddler A Dram" is one of those weird McGuinn folk song/Moog synthesizer amalgams; and "Build It Up" is an Allman Brothers-styled instrumental by Clarence White. Sony has done an exceptional job with the remastering here, though it is probably the best recorded album in the Byrds' canon. While this is not top-flight Byrds music, I dare say you will play this CD more often than more highly-regarded Byrds albums. Why? Because of its cohesion of mood and consistency of performance. Warmly recommended to Byrds fanatics, but with reservations for casual listeners or beginning Byrds fans."