"This original album contains eleven songs and clocks in at about twnety-nine minutes. That's my kind of record. The songs are tremendous in spite of many of them being dated by subject matter, production, instrumentation, and the general faroutness and grooviosity of the time. The hidden track in which David Crosby becomes contentious is astonishing. They kicked him out of the band. That's why there's a horse on the cover."
End of the First Era
Morten Vindberg | Denmark | 01/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Notorious Byrd Brothers" is usually regarded as the last album by the original band. Gene Clark had actually left after the second album, but it's obvious that this is the last album where the original Byrd-sound is still predominant. Still, as with every new Byrds album, this it's not just a repition of previous efforts.
New sounds, rhythms and instruments and are explored on the album, which must be their most psychedelic. But as always it's the songs that make this another great Byrds album - of course along with the brilliant guitar-playing and the delicate vocal harmonies.
No Bob Dylan songs were recorded for the album; instead two fine Goffin/King songs stand out among the most memorable on the album. Both "Goin'Back" and "Wasn't Born to Follow" have the classic Byrds-sound and both songs are lyrically and musically very strong.
Among the new original Byrds songs "Draft Morning" is a highlight. The song was originally written by David Crosby, but he was asked to leave the band midways through the recording of the album, so the song was finished by Hillman and McGuinn. Another David Crosby song "Triad" may be have the reason for his ousting. Crosby wanted the song included on the album instead of "Goin' Back", but the other band members may have found Crosby's lyrics too controversal. The song was given to Jefferson Airplane and Crosby was out of the Byrds. Iin retrospect this seem a pretty stupid solution, considering that both tracks could easily have been included - Byrds albums usually had a very short playing time - and TNBB is no exception with its app. 30 minutes. Now the song is to find among the bonus-tracks.
Crosby was not involved with the final recordings which include the opener "Artificial Energy", "Natural Harmony", "Get to You" and the terrific "Wasn't Born to Follow" which feature the great Clarence White on guitar. White is actually playing on several on these recordings, and he was later to join the Byrds as a permanent member. His contribution to "Change is Now" make this average tune another stand-out; almost like a new "Eight Miles High".
Hillman's "Old John Robertson" is catchy Byrds-country and another favourite.
Weakest track is the closing tune ( sea-shanty style ) "Space Odyssey" feature odd space sounds, but somehow seems to go nowhere; a paradox that It is the longest track on the album.
Among the bonus-tracks the instrumental "Bound to Fall" is quite good, but sounds unfinsihed. Though all bonus tracks are interesting "Triad" is really the only track that ought have been included on the original album. "Moon Raga" is the weakest and it's wonder why it was not placed as the last track.
A hidden track feature studio talk that reveal there was a lot of tension within the band during these recordings. "
Thomas M. Deangelo | cape may,nj | 02/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I forgot how good these guys were. Great 60's sound. The last Crosby alblum. Worth the money a must have for all Byrds fans.Some of the out takes are better than the originals. the cover of Carol King's GOING BACK in the bonus tracts has a definite southern twang in the vocals Gram Parson maybe? Crosby's TRIAD, & Hillman's DRAFT MORNING are classics"
Bill Your 'Free Form FM Handi Cyber | Mahwah, NJ USA | 05/23/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There were hundreds of pale Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band xeroxes after the Beatles brought brought out that album, and the notion that all things in rock were possible, in 1967. But only a band as great as the Byrds could properly ride on the fabs coat tails.
And in a way, Nortorious Byrd Brother's is even more the surprise. The Beatles had been experimenting and expanding their reference frame from day one, and had added octane to the process on Revolver. The Byrds were the best American folk rock bands, and literally invented the concept of open breeze rock, based on a sharp chime guitar sound, and aural economy.
Yet here is the album, full bore with diversity and maximum sound. "Artifical Energy," is full royal horns that is head to head with the best chamber rock. It is also, almost, funky."Goin' Back" is lush balladry for FM radio. The eletro lab of "Draft Morning" deals with Vietnam, while Crosby's "Tribal Gathering," with its bullet circular riff has the drive of rock and the challenging edge of jazz. Even a bonus track here, a moog experiment, shows how big the Byrds' ambition was beyond folk rock.
It never happened, as rock went back to the roots, and the Byrds tore down musical and cultural lines with Rock and Roll's first pure country album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, a suicide move for any rock band in 1968, and one of the most brilliant coups in the music, ever."