In addition to writing about music here on Taco Talks Records, I’ll also be contributing to the Savannah, Georgia music blog hissing lawns from time to time. Regardless of if you live in Savannah or not, I encourage you to check out the great work Bill and the other contributors are doing over there. Over the past year, hissing lawns has single-handedly kept me up-to-date on the latest local music news. It’s a thrill and an honor to get the opportunity to contribute to that great blog.
I’m sure I’m not alone in falling down the YouTube rabbit hole from time to time. Recently, I ended up wasting a healthy chunk of a day watching YouTube videos related to The Byrds. I thought I’d share some of the better gems I found:
The Byrds on Playboy After Dark September 28, 1968
Okay, first, we get to see frontman Roger McGuinn awkwardly schmooze with Hef and a few Playmates. Luckily, after those unpleasantries are out of the way, McGuinn, Clarence White, John York, and Gene Parsons blaze through two Basement Tapes-era Dylan tunes. The revelation here is Clarence White. For my money, he is one of the best American guitarists in rock & roll history, and it’s his axework on “This Wheel’s On Fire” that leads me to prefer their version of the song to Dylan’s or The Band’s.
Oh, and dig those dance moves out in the audience.
The Byrds on German TV in 1970
Years ago, music blogger Mark Prindle chided me on Facebook for my unabashed love of late-period Byrds. I mean, Mark really hates their later work. I’m not sure what I see that he doesn’t. Maybe it’s Clarence White’s otherworldly guitar playing. Maybe it’s Skip Battin. Or maybe it’s just the sheer weirdness of the post-’60s Byrds. That weirdness is on full display in this clip. Check out the floating German lady at the beginning of the song. And check out how spaced out all five of these dudes look here. If I’m being honest, I could watch this clip every day for the rest of my life and not tire of it.
The Byrds at The Fillmore East on September 23, 1970
Here they are performing a groovy version of “Eight Miles High.” The bass and drums breakdown showcases just how formidable Battin and Parsons were as a rhythm section. And pay extra close attention to the Poindexter in the audience having a freakout at 7:50. Um, give me your lunch money, Screech.
Another clip of The Byrds on German TV in 1970
Here they are performing an even groovier version of “Eight Miles High.”
I mean…the guy playing bongos was just their drug dealer, right?
The Byrds – Under Review
Finally, here’s a great BBC documentary on The Byrds. If you like The Byrds as much as I do, it’s well worth your time.