The Byrds

Nashville West

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
Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde 1969 Legacy / Columbia 2:28
Untitled 1970 Columbia 2:07
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 2:28
12 Dimensions: 1965-1972 2002 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 2002 Timeless 2:29
The Complete Columbia Albums Collection 2011 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 2:31
Original Album Classics [2012] 2012 Columbia / Sony Music