What an Unfortunate Collection of "Hits"
Robert H. TAYLOR | Charlotte, NC USA | 02/01/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I consider myself to be a great fan of the Byrds, including the latter-day Byrds after everyone was either fired or quit except McGuinn. Clarence White deserves to be the "Sixth Byrd", since he's been playing on Byrds albums since "Younger Than Yesterday". My problem is not with McGuinn's new lineup of players. My problem is with the track selection.
If Columbia is going to feature the faces of these four guys on the cover, then they should not have featured any of the tracks from "Notorious Byrd Bros." or "Sweetheart of the Rodeo". Those two records don't need to be plucked from anyway. They should stand alone and left intact as classic concept albums. They rightfully belong to the likes of Crosby, Hillman, Gram Parsons and Mike Clarke, not Battin and Gene Parsons, whose faces don the cover of "GH Vol.II". Columbia should have recognized that "Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde" started the last phase of the Byrds, where McGuinn was the only remaining original. Therefore, this record should have reflected the best of the Byrds since "Dr. Byrds".
With that being said, I also don't approve of the inclusion of some very terrible songs like "America's Great National Pastime" (this song in particular does not deserve to be under the Byrds title. I have no idea why McGuinn allowed for this to happen), and "I Wanna Grow Up to be a Politician" and "Citizen Kane". Let's get real! These are not good songs! Again, I love the latter-day Byrds, so I've come up with my own version of "Greatest Hits Vol II". I hope some of you fans will agree:
1. Ballad of Easy Rider
2. Chestnut Mare
3. Your Gentle Ways of Loving Me
4. All The Things
5. Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man
6. Just a Season
7. Gunga Din
8. I Trust
9. Kathleen's Song
10. Mae Jean Goes To Hollywood
11. Glory, Glory
Best of The Byrds Volume 2 is loaded with creativity.
Robert H. TAYLOR | 12/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some of these other reviewers just didn't get it. These songs are gems, they are adventurous sonic masterpieces that are in some ways reminiscent of some of the songs on the Beatles White Album.
Not that the Byrds' style is the same, but certain of these songs display such wit and humor that the listener is not sure if a song is a complete parody or partially serious. Yet at the same time the originality of the musical arrangements shine through. If you like some of the White album songs such as Rocky Raccoon, Honey Pie, Back In The U.S.S.R., and Bungalow Bill, then you should like this album. Many of the songs have a countrified sound, like McCartney's Rocky Raccoon, but distinctly Byrds. The Byrds infuse influences from older musical traditions, such as the 1930s tinge on Citizen Kane. The Beatles had done this on Honey Pie, but it was more of a 1920s sound. And the subtle parody of Back In The U.S.S.R. is mirrored by I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician.
The songs: Citizen Kane is about ultra-wealthy publisher William Randolph Hearst, who back in the 1930s owned a castle and 40 miles of prime California coastline. The castle was called Xanadu. The major Hollywood movie stars would drop by for wild parties, and the song is a slightly exaggerated account of their escapades.
Tiffany Queen is another song about people who might be having too much fun at parties. Chestnut Mare is the wild horse the narrator is intent on catching, but its not really a wild horse anymore if he catches it, is it?
I wasn't Born To Follow and Easy Rider romanticize the freedom of the individual and the lure of the American Road, pre-sport-utes. Jesus Is Just Alright With Me was paid a tribute when the Doobie Brothers' later version cloned the Byrds' sound almost exactly, and become a hit.
He Was A Friend Of Mine is a folk rock tune expressing the nation's emotions after President Kennedy's assassination.
This eclectic batch of songs somehow fits together as a whole. If you are open to the idea of music combining brilliant electric guitar work and country music influences, along with intelligent lyrics, and some humor, then this could be your CD."
Includes Some Of My Favorite Tracks!
The Orange Duke | Cupertino, Ca United States | 03/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A superb overview of late Byrds! Lets face it, the later Byrds albums were often uneven, but this fine disc collects many of the greatest tracks in one convenient package. Here you can see the transformation of the band from folk pop to country rock. The vocals are top notch. An excellent choice for fans of The Band, The Dead or The Eagles. This album includes some fine and often over looked songs with sharp social criticism. Especially well suited to casual fans of the band, and I recommend it highly. Stand out tracks include `I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician', `America's Great National Pastime' and `You Ain't Going Nowhere'. I must admit though, that I find `Chestnut Mare' to be tiresome."