Wednesday, October 2, 2019

THE BYRDS, 'The Last Byrds Album' (Updated)


The Byrds

THE LAST BYRDS ALBUM  (1972)

Tiffany Queen   
Bugler
Antique Sandy
Lazy Waters
I'm So Restless*   [Roger McGuinn]
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Draggin'*    [Roger McGuinn]
Born to Rock and Roll**
Farther Along
Lost My Drivin' Wheel**
Time Cube*    [Roger McGuinn]


All tracks taken from the CD re-issue of 'Farther Along' except where noted

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The follow up to 1971's Byrdmaniax started out as a band produced offering to be released that same year. Discussions for a reunion of the original line-up of the Byrds were already in motion and McGuinn's dissatisfaction with the latter-day line-up was further compounded with arguments over salary with drummer Gene Parsons. After a disappointing 45 single release of "America's Great National Past Time" (sung by bassist Skip Battin and written by him and lyricist Kim Fowley) backed with the Clarence White led rendition of the traditional "Farther Along" in Nov. 1971, the album originally titled Farther Along would be shelved by leader Roger McGuinn (though the other members would subsequently concur) and put the future of the band's current line-up in doubt.


By July 1972, Parsons had been fired and replaced by session drummer John Guerin. To further cement his return to controlling the group--a single with "Born to Rock and Roll" backed with a cover of "Lost My Drivin' Wheel" was issued as Roger McGuinn and The Byrds. Session musicians had been employed to back McGuinn on at least one of the tracks--but company rules made the recordings be labelled as 'The Byrds' since McGuinn was not contracted as a solo artist with Columbia. Half of the Farther Along tracks were combined with new songs McGuinn had recorded including the sides to the 45 single to make The Last Byrds Album. It's also fitting that Bob Dylan would appear on a song--bringing things full circle--playing harmonica on "I'm So Restless". Clarence White sings lead on "Bugler" and "Farther Along"; Skip Battin sings lead on "Lazy Waters"...McGuinn takes the rest. 

After disbanding the latter-day Byrds in Feb. 1973, McGuinn and the original Byrds would join forces once again to release Full Circle on David Geffen's Asylum label.

1.  Full Circle    [Byrds]
 2. Sweet Mary     [Byrds]
 3. Changing Heart     [Byrds]
 4. For Free       [Byrds]
 5. The Water is Wide     [Roger McGuinn]
 6. Things Will Be Better    [Byrds]
Side B:
 7. Cowgirl in the Sand      [Byrds]
 8. Long Live the King     [Byrds]
 9. My New Woman     [Roger McGuinn]
10. Laughing    [Byrds]
11. Bag Full of Money    [Roger McGuinn]
12. (See the Sky) About to Rain     [Byrds]



In reality, McGuinn had wanted to changed the band name to put his in front, but was discouraged from doing so by whomever at the time. Farther Along was released in Nov. 1971 and the band was reported to be unhappy with it--though Clarence White's vocal on "Bugler" was a highlight. The CD re-issue of this album included versions of "Bag Full of Money", "Born to Rock and Roll" and "Lost My Drivin' Wheel". These songs and versions of "Draggin'", and "I'm So Restless" (reportedly lost) with new drummer John Guerin were left unreleased at the time in 1972. In 1973, McGuinn released his eponymous solo debut and it included remakes of "Lost My Drivin' Wheel", "Draggin'" (featuring Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys on piano and bgv), "I'm So Restless'" (featuring Bob Dylan on harmonica), and "Bag Full of Money" (featuring Crosby on harmony) along with "My New Woman" (with backing by the original Byrds line-up and saxophonist Buddy Emmons) and the traditional "The Water is Wide" (again featuring Crosby). A proposed McGuinn/Crosby LP never happened--though those two songs were great. I included them with "My New Woman" on my mix of the Byrds reunion LP for that reason.

2 comments:

  1. I'd call my version of the Reunion Full Circle as well, and use the back photo on the front as you did. Here's my track listing , which differs a bit from yours.
    side 1
    Full Circle
    Sweet Mary
    Changing Heart
    Borrowing Time
    For Free
    One In A Hundred ( Gene's Roadmaster )
    side 2
    Things will be Better
    She's The kind Of Girl ( Roadmaster )
    Long Live The King
    My New Woman ( McGuinn )
    Laughing
    See The Sky About to Rain

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  2. Cheers! Never thought "Borrowing Time" belonged. Kinda meh to me. I've also tinkered with including the Clark-McGuinn remake of "She Don't Care About Time" that was taken from a scrapped project with Terry Melcher. Also even once included Clarence White's cover of "Lost Highway" as a kind of tribute to him. "Cowgirl in the Sand" is the one I usually drop (just because Michael Clarke doesn't even play on it). My alternate playlist of this is pretty much yours but without Hillman's 2nd song and "Cowgirl"...but I pulled those two reunion tracks from 1970-71 for an imagined GC album. Good stuff anyway you slice it, lol.

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