The Byrds

Nashville West

Composed by Clarence White / Gene Parsons

Song Review by

This fabulous, almost visionary country-rock instrumental began life as a theme song for Nashville West, a 1966 studio aggregation that was led by future Byrds members Clarence White and Gene Parsons. A ballsy, locomotive-tempo rhythm propels the song from start to finish, and this is topped off with a sweet but powerful melody that allows guitarist White to explore most of the possibilities of his "B-Bender" Telecaster guitar. The funky rhythms and overall rock attitude indeed make this one of the birthplaces of what was to be called the country-rock idiom. When the two writers joined the Byrds in 1968, they brought the song to the band and recorded a somewhat tepid studio version on the Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde album that doesn't hold a candle to the Nashville West version. However, it became a part of the group's live repertoire, and the live cut on Untitled (with Roger McGuinn's excellent 12-string fingerpicking guitar runs) may be the definitive recording. Readers are also urged to seek out the original on Sierra Records' reissue, Nashville West.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Sweetheart of the Rodeo 1968 Sony BMG 1:57
Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde 1969 Sony Music Distribution
Untitled 1970 Columbia
No Image 1973 CBS Records
Guitar Player Presents Legends of Guitar: Country, Vol. 1 1990
Various Artists
Rhino 2:28
Nashville West 1996 Sony Music Distribution 2:27
Ultimate Byrds 1998 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 2:28
Live at the Fillmore West February 1969 2000 Floating World 1:57
12 Dimensions: 1965-1972 2002 Columbia
No Image 2002 Timeless 2:29
Sweetheart of the Rodeo/Live at the Fillmore 2006 Sony BMG
There Is a Season 2006 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy / Sony BMG 2:12
Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 2008 Sundazed 2:43
The Complete Columbia Albums Collection 2011 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 2:07
Original Album Classics [2012] 2012 Columbia / Sony Music
Straight for the Sun 2013 Let Them Eat Vinyl
Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, November 2, 1968 2014 Keyhole Records
Lee Jeans Living Rock Concert 1969 2015 All Access 2:30
Fun in Frisco 2016 Zip City 1:54
blue highlight denotes editor's pick