Mr. Tambourine Man -- What A Debut!
Lover of the Bayou | Louisiana, U.S. | 05/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a debut! The Byrds only released two albums and a handful of singles with Gene Clark--until a rather abysmal reunion in the early 1970's--but what a couple of albums they are! "Mr. Tambourine Man," their first release, would of course be hailed as one of the penultimate folk-rock records, with the group so aptly adapting the songs of Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to a radio-friendly audience. Yet, for me, it's not how the group performs the title track, "The Bells of Rhymney," "Spanish Harlem Incident" or even "Chimes of Freedom," but the quality of their original material, the bulk of which was penned by Gene Clark! Clark's amazing "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" has become a rock and roll classic, and "Here Without You" beautifully exemplifies its composer's darker, poetic side. Clark and McGuinn, the team that penned The Turtles' "You Showed Me," would co-write "You Won't Have to Cry" (not to be confused with "You Don't Have to Cry" by Crosby, Stills and Nash) and the lesser known "It's No Use." With the success of their first LP under their belts, the group would appear to offer more of the same with "Turn! Turn! Turn!" but Clark would emerge as an even more powerful force with compositions "Set You Free This Time," "She Don't Care About Time" and the hauntingly brilliant "The World Turns All Around Her!" Lesser known track "If You're Gone" would precede Clark's last songwriting credit on a Byrds recording with "Eight Miles High" on their "Fifth Dimension" LP. With Clark's departure, group members David Crosby and Roger McGuinn would be allowed to spread their wings and soar as celebrities and songwriters in their own right, and Crosby's ultimate departure would likewise permit bassist Chris Hillman to step forward before leaving to form The Flying Burrito Brothers, Souther, Hillman and Furay and the Desert Rose Band, then completing a musical full-circle by again reuniting with Clark and McGuinn for two releases and a brief tour. It having been common practice in the early to mid 1960's for session musicians to play on the company predicted hits, such would be the case with much of "Mr. Tambourine Man," but The Byrds would prove themselves to be competent enough musicians and capable performers that this would not be the case with subsequent releases. I love every line-up that's existed of The Byrds, from Gene Clark to Gram Parsons and John York to Clarence White and Skip Battin, with drummer Gene Parsons himself providing exceptional all-around musicianship and serving as a steadying force while the group forged its way into country-rock after a brief dalliance with psychedlic music. But again coming full-circle, it would be this cornerstone from the folk-rock years and the group's debut that holds the dearest place in my heart and serves as the best starting point for future Byrds fans."
Byrds in the Belfry - Metamorpho Uses Every Trick!
! Metamorpho ;) | Castle in Scotland | 10/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As all my fans probably know by now, the campaign trail has been very hard on your beloved Seer. First of all, it was that interview on nationwide T.V., you know the one, where I was debating at a townhall and they tried (purposely) to trip me up with my own words. I tell you people, the press in this country is so slanted. And definitely not Metamorpho friendly. I chuckled, I gaffawed, and smiled at the cameras in any given opportunity. You see, it doesn't matter what I say- as long as I look good. I didn't take a course in the advertising industry for nothing you know! Look where it's gotten me thus far. A reknown reviewer on Amazon for free! Hmmmmmmm..... I must see if I can change that soon.
In any event, the press said I had birds in the belfry, which is partially correct. Actually it's Byrds (don't forget the y for the i - most important!). Yes. They flew into my mind with folk-rock harmonies, a 12 string Rickenbacker and, thank God, no other substance which would stress me out! Believe me folks, we must be grateful for small favors.
In any event, now that I have some short time from the campaign, I can finally relate to you this excellent first attempt by the Byrds called "Mr. Tambourine Man". In order to appreciate it fully, you have to tune your mind back to 1965. It was then that Bob Dylan really made his appearance known in the pop-folk-rock arena with the astounding "Like a Rolling Stone". Yes. Everything was changing at this point. America finally had an artist with credibility enough to stand equal to The Beatles. In some ways, even moreso.
So what happens? The Byrds get enamored with the Dylan songs and decide to give a lot of his previous efforts a folk-rock appeal - electric guitars and all, and what we wind up with is a quite considerable classic debut album. What really set it apart was the 12 string guitar sound and those great harmonies. Somehow, it was a different sound and totally unique for the time. Sort of like my bid for President. which, believe me, this country needs now!
Included herein, are generous amount of Dylan's compositions done in only the way the Byrds could do them. A new look. Incredibly pop friendly. Not only do you get "Mr. Tambourine Man" but more new looks at his music such as "Spanish Harlem Incident", "The Bells of Rymney", "All I Really Want to Do" and "Chimes of Freedom". A revelation and all so accessible.
But, added to this, is the incredible artistry of Gene Clark. So many good songs penned by this amazing artist. Listen to "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" (covered by other artists such as Tom Petty), "You Won't Have to Cry", "She Has a Way" and "I Knew I'd Want You". This is very different mid-sixties pop - pleasing and a joy to listen to then, as well as now.
As with anything in the sixties, we were examining more emotions in a love relationship. Yes, those themes are here (along with important Dylan messages), but the thing that stands out, to me, is a magikal energy that runs like a thread throughout all these songs. It is a miraculous debut album, and one that is essential to the pop enthusiast. Lush harmonies, folk-pop chord changes, and relevent, youth oriented concerns in musical form. You just can't get a mid-sixties sound better than this. Take my word. I am Metamorpho, and I have spoken! I expect you all now to flock to the nearest download. You won't be disappointed.
Now, let me get back to the campaign trail. Current polls have your beloved Seer coming in a distant third! This will not do. I will be in Pennsylvania and then hopping over to Ohio tomorrow. Come out and meet me. (And vote for me- even more important!). I need these States to fly into the White House, sort of like a Byrd, you know?
Vote for Me- I'll set you free --
The first is the best
Michael Patrick Boyd | Waukesha, WI | 01/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mr. Tambourine Man is The Byrds debut album and is 31 minutes and 35 seconds long and was released on June 21, 1965. Mr. Tambourine Man reached #6 on the US Billboard Album 200 charts. It charted to singles from that album. They are: Mr. Tambourine Man #1 and All I Really Want to Do #40. This was The Byrds most successful album and the only one to peak under the top ten list. Also included are songs like I Knew I Want You, I Feel A Whole Lot Better, and Chimes of Freedom. This is a must to add to your Byrds collection.