The Byrds

Byrdmaniax

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As legend has it, the Byrds wrapped up the basic tracks for Byrdmaniax in early 1971 and then hit the road for a concert tour, leaving producers Terry Melcher and Chris Hinshaw to polish the final mix. Melcher and Hinshaw then proceeded to add copious overdubs to what the group had set down, drowning the songs in a swampy morass of keyboards, horns, strings, and massed background singers in the misguided hope of making the album sound more "commercial" (even Clarence White's superb lead guitar often gets lost in the murk). The shame of it is that the aural gingerbread managed to spoil what might have been one of the Byrds' better albums; it's hard to imagine what Skip Battin's goofy "Citizen Kane" or Roger McGuinn's witty "I Wanna Grow Up to Be a Politician" were intended to sound like originally, but "I Trust" and "Kathleen's Song" are lovely if you can listen past the overproduction, and "Green Apple Quick Step" gives White and Gene Parsons plenty of room to show off their old-time country chops. Not an awful album, but Byrdmaniax is hardly the pleasure it could have been in the hands of a more tasteful production team.

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