The Byrds

Byrds [EP DVD]

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

A 90-minute collection of Byrds clips from 1965-1973 should be pretty cool, but while this bootleg DVD does have its pleasurable aspects, it also has the frustrating shortcomings of a below-board product not executed with the professionalism that would be obligatory for a legitimate release. The visuals are not taken from the highest-grade copies, sometimes obviously so, and though (with the exception of a couple particularly blurry 1965 poolside mimes) it's not downright difficult to watch, sometimes it comes perilously close to being a strain. Certainly some of this has circulated in better condition, both among private collectors and, perhaps unbeknownst to the compilers, even on some official video compilation releases. There are also clicks and volume fluctuations on the audio track that, while slight, are noticeable enough to be distracting. If you can put up with that, these are fun and interesting sequences to watch, though, irritatingly, they're not chronologically ordered. The earliest of them are mid-'60s television clips of the band in its first flush of stardom, and the later material features more laid-back but worthwhile glimpses of the group from the late '60s and early '70s, when Roger McGuinn was the only remaining original member. There are some little-seen oddities of note, like a full 1965 performance of the group doing Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" (which they never put on their records) live; a couple of mimed clips from the brief time in late 1967 when Gene Clark rejoined the band; a 1968 appearance on Playboy After Dark (with some expectedly bizarre, brief spoken repartee between Hugh Hefner and McGuinn) shortly after Clarence White had joined; and a lengthy segment from 1971 in Brussels, with the McGuinn-White-Gene Parsons-Skip Battin lineup. It makes one hungry for a proper video retrospective of the Byrds, something of course that could be said of dozens if not hundreds of such bands not yet gifted with a commercial video documentary.