Limited 'Millennium Edition' reissue of classic 1968 album in a deluxe heavyweight miniaturized LP sleeve complete with inner sleeve and a Japanese-style obi strip on the spine. 11 tracks. Individually numbered. 1999 release.
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 05/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album was considered revolutionary when it was originally recorded - a rock band recording a country album with a rock edge - but it was so influential that nobody hearing it now will think there is anything revolutionary about it.Bob Dylan wrote two of the songs - You ain't going nowhere and Nothing was delivered - while there are also covers of songs by soul singer William Bell (You don't miss your water) and Woody Guthrie (Pretty boy Floyd).Gram Parsons contributed two songs - One hundred years from now and Hickory wind. He also wrote Lazy days, which was recorded for the original album but not included on it. This is added as one of several bonus tracks, some of which feature Gram as lead singer instead of Roger McGuinn.The remaining tracks are covers of country songs that had previously been recorded by (among others) George Jones and Merle Haggard.
Not long after this album was recorded, Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons left and formed the Flying Burrito brothers. The music here set the pattern for that band and other country-rock bands such as Poco and the early Eagles music. But in the new millennium, mainstream pop, rock and country music all seem far removed from this album. Modern singers and bands doing music of this type are classified as alt-country. Although the term alt-country covers many different styles, the influence of this album is obvious in many alt-country singers and bands.The music here is excellent on its own merit. It was not very successful at the time but has grown in status with the passage of time."
Richard Malitz | Buffalo Grove, IL | 01/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start this review saying this: I did NOT like country music when I bought this album. I bought it thinking it would be a good "starter" album if I wanted to check out country. Well, not only did I like this album, I love it. It is the best Byrds album to me, and yet it is 100% country. There is basically no connection to the classic Byrds sound, unless you count McGuinn and Hillman's vocals. With new member Gram Parsons, he took the band into country heaven. I have always liked pedal steel guitar, and on this album, it is on every song! It is heaven to listen to. The 2 Dylan covers are my favorite Dylan covers the band has done. While Parsons only sings on 3 cuts on the album (due to contractural problems his vocals were taken off some songs)the new CD reissue has the original versions with him singing lead vocals. Now you can compare One Hundred Years From Now and The Christian Life to the originals. The best part is both versions of both songs are great. You also get some additional bonus tracks and an awesome instrumental featuring pedal steel vs. Clarence White, who's regular guitar playing is amazing. Remember, this is 100% country, and some of the finest music I have heard. Hearing McGuinn, Hillman, and Parsons sing lead on separate tracks showcases 3 amazing voices. I love Parson's voice the best, he is pure country, and it blows me away at how young he was. I was expecting to see 4 hippies in 1968 with long hair and beards on the cover. Wrong, they look like 4 clean cut college kids! You must buy this album, I did on a whim and I can't get enough. One more reason to buy this CD, this is my first review, and I had to mention THIS CD out of over 600 that I own!"
TimothyFarrell22 | Massachusetts | 06/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are only two Byrds originals on this album, the rest of the songs being covers of classic country and roots songs. However, don't make you write this album off. The Byrds always had the best covers of other peoples' songs, and this album is a testament to that fact. Despite the fact that at the time the Psyche-Rock crowd and the Country crowd were two warring camps, the Byrds tried to bring both of them together the same way they had done with Folk. The result? A commercial flop that only over time proved to be an incredibly influential album. It was quite a daring move at the time to bring together the two styles of music, and this album proved they were more related than most people beleived at the time period. Another reason for the lack of acclaim for the album at the time was that it didn't sound a lot like the Byrd's earlier albums. Unfortunatly, the band used this as the template for a good amount of their subsequent albums, which may be the reason they tumbled downhill so quickly. The last great Byrds release, and an essential recording."
The best ever collection of Bonus Tracks?
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 08/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes I find the idea of adding Bonus Tracks to rereleases of old LPs a bit upsetting. Rarely are the tracks remotely as good as the cuts on the original album. Most often, I find myself just skipping them entirely. Only very, very rarely are the bonus tracks in fact better than the original. This is one of those rare instances.As the liner notes point out, shortly after Gram Parsons joined the Byrds, a man objected to Parson's recording with them, claiming that he had an exclusive constract for Parson's services. This spooked Columbia into having nearly all of Parson's vocals pulled off SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO. Roger McGuinn then provided the vocals for all the Parsons songs. The only two Parsons's cuts that made it onto the final album were "You're Still On My Mind" and the surreally beautiful "Hickory Wind" (though I do prefer the live version off GRIEVOUS ANGEL, with Emmylou Harris providing those utterly gorgeous harmonies).Is this a big deal? YES! I bought this album years ago on LP, and while I liked it, I found too many of the songs to be parodies of country songs rather than anything close to authentic. The worst offender to me was "The Christian Life," in which McGuinn sings with an exaggerated and slightly silly Southern accent. This new CD version of SWEETHEART restores as Bonus Tracks all of Gram Parsons's lead vocals. I love Roger McGuinn, but this is a country album for a rock audience, and McGuinn just didn't have a great country voice. Parsons, on the other hand, had a phenomenal way with country songs. When Parsons sings "The Christian Life," there isn't the tiniest hint of irony or parody. Instead of mildly goofy, it sounds like a heartfelt declaration of faith. And while McGuinn does a fine job on "One Hundred Years From Now" and "Life in Prison", his voice just does not have the strength or authenticity of Parsons's.It has always been known that Gram Parsons's had an enormous impact on the Byrds, despite his only being with the group for three months (he quit on political grounds when the rest of the band agreed to perform in South). With this collection of Bonus Tracks, we can better appreciate just how great an impact that was. In short, this is one of those rare instances where a rerelease is better than the original. And the original was very, very good indeed. And it further emphasizes that Parsons's tragically early death deprived rock of one of its greatest innovators.Nice moment: at the end of Gram Parsons's awesome rendition of "One Hundred Years From Now," Parsons goodnaturedly asks, "Gary? Can I hear through my earphones, too?""