Tuesday, 26 July 2016

"The Complete Columbia Albums Collection" by THE BYRDS (2011 Sony/Legacy 15CD Mini Box Set) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"…My Back Pages…"

Talk about a monster. 13 albums across 15 CDs (2 are Deluxe Edition doubles), more unreleased tracks than you can shake a wobbly stick at – a chunky 40-page booklet that literally gives track-by-track annotation - dinky facsimile 5” card sleeves – blindingly good remastered sound - and all of it for under twenty five quid!

Even the first 10 CDs reflect the “360 STEREO Sound” red Columbia labels that came with original American LPs - while the last three are the plain red variant – nice attention to detail. And apart from the very downward slope of the early Seventies sets - the music is pretty much sublime throughout. So here are the musical highs and lows of these American feathery troubadours…

Released November 2011 – "The Complete Columbia Albums Collection" by THE BYRDS on Sony/Columbia/Legacy 88697873802 (Barcode is the same) is a 15CD Box Set with a 40-Page Booklet and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 “Mr. Tambourine Man” in a single sleeve (45:40 minutes):
1. Mr. Tambourine Man
2. I Feel A Whole Lot Better
3. Spanish Harlem Incident
4. You Won’t Have To Cry
5. Here Without You
6. The Bells Of Rhymney
7. All I Really Want To Do [Side 2]
8. I Knew I’d Want You
9. It’s No Use
10. Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe
11. Chimes Of Freedom
12. We’ll Meet Again
Tracks 1 to 12 are the debut LP “Mr. Tambourine Man” – released June 1965 in the USA on Columbia CL 2372 (Mono) and CS 9172 (Stereo) and August 1965 in the UK on CBS Records BPG 62571 (Mono) and CBS S BPG 62571 (Stereo). The Stereo Mix is Used and Stereo Album Artwork for the repro 5” sleeve. This is the same for all discs listed below…
BONUS TRACKS (1996 CD):
13. She Has A Way (Previously Unissued Version with Alternate Vocal Track/Take 2)
14. I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better Way (Previously Unissued Version with Alternate Lead Guitar Overdub)
15. It’s No Use (Previously Unissued Version with Alternate Lead Guitar Overdub)
16. You Won’t Have To Cry Way (Previously Unissued Version with Alternate Vocal Track/Take 2)
17. All I Really Want To Do – Mono 7” Single Version (A-side of USA 45 on Columbia 4-43332)
18. You And Me Way (Previously Unissued Instrumental Backing Track/Take 13)

Disc 2 “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in a single sleeve (49:12 minutes):
1. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season
2. It Won’t Be Wrong
3. Set You Free This Time
4. Lay Down Your Weary Tune
5. He Was A Friend Of Mine
6. The World Turns All Around Her [Side 2]
7. Satisfied Mind
8. If You’re Gone
9. The Times They Are A-Changin’
10. Wait And See
11. Oh! Susannah
Tracks 1 to 11 are the LP “Turn! Turn! Turn!” – released December 1965 in the USA on Columbia CL 2454 (Mono) and CS 9254 (Stereo) and March 1966 in the UK on CBS Records BPG 62652 (Mono) and S BPG 62652 (Stereo). Stereo Mix used
BONUS TRACKS (1996 CD):
12. The Day Walk (Never Before) – Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
13. She Don’t Care About Time – Mono 7” Single Version (Non-Album B-side to “Turn! Turn! Turn!” USA 45 on Columbia 4-43424)
14. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Previously Unreleased Version 1/Take 1
15. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue - Previously Unreleased Version 1/Take 1
16. She Don’t Care About Time - Previously Unreleased Version 1/Take 2
17. The World Turns All Around Her - Previously Unissued Alternate Mix/”Bongo Version” 1
18. Stranger In A Strange Land - Previously Unreleased Instrumental Backing Track/Take 10

Disc 3 “Fifth Dimension” in a single sleeve (62:21 minutes):
1. 5D (Fifth Dimension)
2. Wild Mountain Thyme
3. Mr. Spaceman
4. I See You
5. What’s Happening?!?!
6. I Come And Stand At Every Door
7. Eight Miles High [Side 2]
8. Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)
9. Captain Soul
10. John Riley
11. 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album “Fifth Dimension” – released August 1966 in the USA on Columbia CL 2549 (Mono) and CS 9349 (Stereo) and September 1966 in the UK on CBS Records BPG 62783 (Mono) and S BPG 62783 (Stereo). Stereo Mix used.
BONUS TRACKS (1996 CD):
12. Why – Mono 7” Single Version (Non-Album B-side to “Eight Miles High” – a US 45 on Columbia 4-43578)
13. I Know My Rider (I Know You Rider) - Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
14. Psychodrama City - Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
15. Eight Miles High - Previously released on the 1987 American compilation “Never Before” on Murray Hill Records
16. Why – as per 15
17. John Riley – Instrumental Version 1

Disc 4 “Younger Than Yesterday” in a single repro sleeve (47:35 minutes):
1. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star
2. Have You Seen Her Face
3. C.T.A. – 102
4. Renaissance Fair
5. Time Between
6. Everybody’s Been Burned
7. Thoughts And Words [Side 2]
8. Mind Gardens
9. My Back Pages
10. The Girl With No Name
11. Why
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album “Younger Than Yesterday” – released March 1967 in the USA on Columbia CL 2642 (Mono) and CS 9442 (Stereo) and April 1967 in the UK on CBS Records BPG 62988 (Mono) and S BPG 62988 (Stereo). Stereo Mix used.
BONUS TRACKS (1996 CD):
12. It Happens Each Day – David Crosby song Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
13. Don’t Make Waves – Mono 7” Single Version (Non-Album B-side to “Have You Seen Her Face” – a US 45 on Columbia 4-44157. Also non-album B-side to the UK 45 of “Lady Friend” on CBS 2924 in September 1967)
14. My Back Pages – Previously Unreleased Alternate Version
15. Mind Gardens – David Crosby song – Previously Unreleased Alternate Version
16. Lady Friend – Mono 7” Single Version (A-side of a US 45 on Columbia 4-44230)
17. Old John Robertson – non-album B-side of 16

Disc 5 “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” in a single repro sleeve (58:27 minutes):
1. Artificial Energy
2. Goin’ Back
3. Natural Harmony
4. Draft Morning
5. Wasn’t Born To Follow
6. Get To You
7. Change Is Now [Side 2]
8. Old John Robertson
9. Tribal Gathering
10. Dolphin’s Smile
11. Space Odyssey
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” – released January 1968 in the USA on Columbia CL 2775 (Mono) and CS 9575 (Stereo) and April 1968 in the UK on CBS Records BPG 63169 (mono) and S BPG 63169 (Stereo). Stereo Mix used.
BONUS TRACKS (1997 CD):
12. Mood Raga - Previously released on the 1987 American compilation “Never Before” on Murray Hill Records
13. Bound To Fall – Previously Unissued Instrumental
14. Triad - David Crosby song Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
15. Goin’ Back – Previously Unissued Version 1
16. Draft Morning – Previously Unissued Version with an Alternate End
17. Universal Mind Decoder (Early Demo Version of “Change Is Now”) – Previously Unreleased Instrumental Version

Disc 6 “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” in a gatefold sleeve – Disc 1 (55:05 minutes):
1. You Ain’t Going Nowhere
2. I Am A Pilgrim
3. The Christian Life
4. You Don’t Miss Your Water
5. You’re Still On My Mind
6. Pretty Boy Floyd
7. Hickory Wind [Side 2]
8. One Hundred Years From Now
9. Blue Canadian Rockies
10. Life In Prison
11. Nothing Was Delivered
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” – released August 1968 in the USA on Columbia CS 9670 (Stereo) and September 1968 in the UK on CBS Records S BPG 63353 (Stereo)
ADDITIONAL MASTER TAKES from the 2003 Legacy 2CD DELUXE EDITION:
12. All I Have Are Memories – Previously Unreleased
13. Reputation - Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
14. Pretty Polly – as per 13
15. Lazy Days – as per 13
16. The Christian Life – Master Take with Gram Parsons Vocals - as per 13
17. You Don’t Miss Your Water - Master Take with Gram Parsons Vocals - as per 13
18. One Hundred Years From Now - Master Take with Gram Parsons Vocals - as per 13
19. Radio Spot for “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” Album

Disc 7 “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” – Disc 2 (61:20 minutes):
THE INTERNATIONAL SUBMARINE BAND
1. Sum Up Broke – 7” Single Mono Mix
2. One Day Week – 7” Single Mono Mix (1 and 2 are the A&B-sides of a International Submarine Band US 45 on Columbia 4-43935)
3. Truck Drivin’ Man – 7” Single Mono Mix – A-side of a US 45 on Ascot AS-2218
4. Blue Eyes
5. Luxury Liner
6. Strong Boy – 4, 5 and 6 from the US 1968 LP “Safe At Home” on LHI Records S-12,001
WORKNG DEMOS, OUTTAKES & REHEARSAL VERSIONS – PREVIOUSLY UNISSUED
7. Lazy Days (Alternate Version)
8. Pretty Polly (Alternate Version)
9. Hickory Wind (Alternate “Nashville” Version/Take 8)
10. The Christian Life (Rehearsal Version/Take 7)
11. The Christian Life (Rehearsal Version/Take 8)
12. Life In Prison (Rehearsal Version Takes 1 & 2 with Gram Parsons Vocal)
13. Life In Prison (Rehearsal Version Takes 3 & 4 with Gram Parsons Vocal)
14. One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal Version Takes 12 & 13 with Gram Parsons Vocal)
15. One Hundred Years From Now (Rehearsal Version Takes 14 & 15 with Gram Parsons Vocal)
16. You’re Still On My Mind (Rehearsal Version Takes 13 with Gram Parsons Vocal)
17. You’re Still On My Mind (Rehearsal Version Takes 48 with Gram Parsons Vocal)
18. All I Have Are Memories (Alternate Instrumental Take 17)
19. All I Have Are Memories (Alternate Instrumental Take 21)
20. Blue Canadian Rockies (Rehearsal Version Take 14)

Disc 8 “Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde” in a single sleeve (51:59 minutes):
1. This Wheel’s On Fire
2. Old Blue
3. Your Gentle Way Of Loving Me
4. Child Of The Universe
5. Nashville West
6. Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man [Side 2]
7. King Apathy III
8. Candy
9. Bad Night At The Whiskey
10. Medley: My Back Pages/B.J. Blues/Baby, What You Want Me To Do
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album “Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde” – released March 1969 in the USA on Columbia CS 9755 (Stereo) and April 1969 in the UK on CBS Records S 63545 (Stereo)
BONUS TRACKS (1997 CD):
11. Stanley’s Song - Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
12. Lay, Lady, Lay – as per 11
13. This Wheel’s On Fire – Previously Unissued Version 1
14. Medley: My Back Pages/B.J. Blues/Baby, What You Want Me To Do – Previously Unissued Alternate Version Take 1
15. Nashville West - Previously Unissued Alternate/Nashville Version

Disc 9 “Ballad Of Easy Rider” in a single sleeve (56:51 minutes):
1. Ballad Of Easy Rider
2. Fido
3. Oil In My Lamp
4. Tulsa
5. Jack Tarr The Sailor
6. Jesus Is Just Alright [Side 2]
7. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
8. There Must Be Someone (I Can Turn To)
9. Gunga Din
10. Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
11. Armstrong, Aldrin And Collins
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album “Ballad Of Easy Rider” – released December 1969 in the USA on Columbia CS 9942 (Stereo) and January 1970 in the UK on CBS Records S 63795 (Stereo)
BONUS TRACKS (1997 CD):
12. Way Beyond The Sun - Previously released on 1990 4CD Box Set “The Byrds”
13. Mae Jean Goes To Hollywood – as per 12
14. Oil In My Lamp – as per 12
15. Tulsa County – Previously Unissued Alternate Version
16. Fiddler A Dram (Moog Experiment) – Previously Unissued
17. Ballad Of Easy Rider – Previously Unissued Long Version
18. Build It Up – Previously Unissued Instrumental

Disc 10 “(Untitled/Unissued)” in Gatefold Sleeve (Disc 1 – 71:24 minutes):
1. Lover Of The Bayou [Side 1 Live]
2. Positively 4th Street
3. Nashville West
4. So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star
5. Mr. Tambourine Man
6. Mr. Spaceman
7. Eight Miles High [Side 2 Live]
8. Chestnut Mare [Side 3 Studio]
9. Truck Stop Girl
10. All The Things
11. Yesterday’s Train
12. Hungry Planet
13. Just A Season [Side 4 Studio]
14. Take A Whiff On Me
15. You All Look Alike
16. Welcome Back Home
Tracks 1 to 16 are the DOUBLE ALBUM “(Untitled)” – released October 1970 in the USA on Columbia G 30127 and November 1970 in the UK on CBS Records S 66253. Sides 1 & 2 of the double-album are ‘live’ – Sides 3 & 4 are studio tracks. The Bonus CD is a mixture of both as noted below…

Disc 11 “Unissued” (Disc 2 – 49:24 minutes):
1. All The Things (Alternate Version)
2. Yesterday’s Train (Alternate Version)
3. Lover Of The Bayou (Studio Recording)
4. Kathleen’s Song (Alternate Version)
5. White’s Lightning, Pt. 2 (Studio Recording)
6. Willin’ (Studio Recording of the Lowell George song)
7. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Live Recording from Felt Forum, 1 March 1970)
8. Old Blue (Live Recording as per 7)
9. It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) (Live Recording as per 7)
10. Ballad Of Easy Rider (Live Recording as per 7)
11. My Back Pages (Live Recording as per 7)
12. Take A Whiff On Me (Live Recording from Fillmore East, 23 September 1970)
13. Jesus Is Just Alright (Live Recording as per 12)
14. This Wheel’s On Fire (Live Recording as per 7)

Disc 12 “Byrdmaniax” in a Gatefold Sleeve (46:51 minutes):
1. Glory, Glory
2. Pale Blue
3. I Trust
4. Tunnel Of Love
5. Citizen Kane
6. I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician [Side 2]
7. Absolute Happiness
8. Green Apple Quick Step
9. My Destiny
10. Kathleen’s Song
11. Jamaica Say You Will
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album “Byrdmaniax” – released July 1971 in the USA on Columbia KC 30640 and August 1971 in the UK on CBS Records S 64389
BONUS TRACKS (2000 CD):
12. Just Like A Woman – Previously Unreleased Bob Dylan cover
13. Pale Blue – Previously Unreleased Alternate Version
14. Think I’m Gonna Feel Better – Previously Unreleased Gene Clark song

Disc 13 “Farther Along” in a Single Repro Sleeve (46:02 minutes):
1. Tiffany Queen
2. Get Down Your Line
3. Farther Along
4. B.B. Class Road
5. Bugler
6. American Great National Pastime [Side 2]
7. Antique Sandy
8. Precious Kate
9. So Fine
10. Lazy Waters
11. Bristol Steam Convention Blues
Tracks 1 to 11 are the album “Farther Along” – released December 1971 in the USA on Columbia KC 31050 and January 1972 in the UK on CBS Records S 64676
BONUS TRACKS (2000 CD):
12. Lost My Drivin’ Wheel – Previously Unreleased
13. Born To Rock And Roll – Previously Unreleased Roger McGuinn song
14. Bag Full Of Money - Previously Unreleased Roger McGuinn song

Like the SIMON & GARFUNKEL and ELVIS PRESLEY catalogues – THE BYRDS have had the magic touch of remaster/remix engineer VIC ANESINI. I’ve sung his praises many times before (Hall & Oates, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jayhawks to name but a few) – and yet again – the STEREO quality on these recordings is gorgeous. When you get to the fabulous “Younger Than Yesterday” album with nuggets like “Goin’ Back” and “Draft Morning” – the sonic power of the remaster combined with the beauty of the tunes is a pretty overwhelming thing. To hear their beautiful version of Dylan’s “My Back Pages” sound this good is a joy.

And while there are tracks like “Glory, Glory” and “Pale Blue” on “Byrdmaniax” – I’d prefer “Just A Season” from the underrated “Untitled” double and “Get Down Your Line” from the patchy “Farther Along”. Also check out the David Crosby outtake “It Happens Each Day” from late 1966 which first appeared on the 1990 4CD retrospective “The Byrds” – unbelievably good. The Gram Parsons outtakes on “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” are amazing too. And of course throughout the duration is the guiding hand and voices of GENE CLARK and ROGER McGUINN – pumping out singles like “I Feel A Whole Lot Better”, “Eight Miles High” and “it Won’t Be Wrong”.

"...I opened my heart to the whole universe…and found it was loving…" - Roger McGuinn sings on "5D (Fifth Dimension)". 

Open your soft machine to this groovy BYRDS box set and I’m sure you’ll be feeling the love decades from now…

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