The Byrds - Dr. Byrds and Mr. Hyde
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Dr. Byrds and Mr. Hyde (Sony Legacy, 1997)

The Byrds

Reviewed by Bill Sacks

The disc was the lowest-charting record of the group's career. The remastered reissue was recorded by the core of what would become the second stable version of The Byrds with drummer Gene Parsons and White featured as full members.

As the title suggests, the album is somewhat erratic track-to-track, but its many highs rank alongside the best work of the band's earlier incarnations. The work begun on the previous album is met out here with wide variety: the record opens with a version of Dylan & Danko's "The Wheel's On Fire," filled with unbridled menace; from there, a reworking of the traditional folk tune "Old Blue" featuring complex electric finger-picking from White and McGuinn and the biting "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man," the song Parsons and McGuinn wrote in response to being blasted by WSM d.j. Ralph Emery as "hippie bastards" whose notion of the tradition was illegitimate.

The truth lay in the Byrds' praxis rather than ideology, and their revenge is double - not only did the song find its way to FM radio and Woodstock, the recorded legacy it defends resonates clearly in the work of a generation of sharp Midwestern songwriters who have just recently bestowed us with a wealth of gifts. They honor this music by their own renovations of its sound and forms, revisiting its spirit in the process.

CDs by The Byrds

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