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William C. Altreuter
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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ah, the Byrds. They were pretty great, but it is hard to look over their catalog and not see that problems were going to be inevitable. Probably the chief problem was David Crosby, and that's what makes their reunion album, Byrds, is so interesting.  This review pretty much gets it right, I think. CSNY was an new concept for a supergroup at thetime because it was designed to leave room for remunerative side projects. Byrds was intended to be such, probably, at least by Crosby. It was a return to a band that he'd been kicked out of, a band that was pretty indisputably Roger McGuinn's band once Crosby moved on. The band that showed up on Byrds was a different sort of Byrds-- it was a Crosby-fronted band, because Crosby had returned as the bigger star. Byrds chiefly featured Crosby songs, or songs by Crosby bandmate Neil Young, or Crosby pal Joni Mitchell. The single, Chris Hillman's "Things Will Be Better" is probably the catchiest thing on the record, and is probably the thing that kept Byrds out of the cut-out bin for as long as it was. It wasn't very long-- I don't think I ever saw a copy without the tell-tale notch in the top of the jacket. You know what? "Things Will Be Better" is pretty slight stuff.


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