The Byrds

Live at the Fillmore West February 1969

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Recorded by Columbia engineers in February 1969, this is an early show by the first Byrds lineup to feature only one original member: founding member Roger McGuinn and Clarence White on guitars, John York on bass, and Gene Parsons on drums. Despite the recent departures of Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons for the Flying Burrito Brothers, the sound and repertoire are still very much in the Byrds' country-rock phase, many of the 16 tracks coming from the Sweetheart of the Rodeo and Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde albums. The big mid-'60s hits are revisited in a medley, and a few other songs first recorded in the pre-White days -- "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Chimes of Freedom" among them -- also show up. There are also covers of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens tunes that would not show up on Byrds albums. It's a pleasant but not outstanding set, probably of most interest to those who enjoy White's guitar playing. He and McGuinn work pretty well together here, but the timing of the band as a whole is sometimes tenuous, and the vocal harmonies are not as full as those of other Byrds configurations.

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