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The Notorious Byrd Brothers

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The Byrds 3/25/1997

Review

The recording sessions for the Byrds' fifth album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, were conducted in the midst of internal turmoil that found them reduced to a duo by the time the record was completed. That wasn't evident from listening to the results, which showed the group continuing to expand the parameters of their eclecticism while retaining their hallmark guitar jangle and harmonies. With assistance from producer Gary Usher, they took more chances in the studio, enhancing the spacy quality of tracks like "Natural Harmony" and Goffin & King's "Wasn't Born to Follow" with electronic phasing. Washes of Moog synthesizer formed the eerie backdrop for "Space Odyssey," and the songs were craftily and unobtrusively linked with segues and fades. But the Byrds did not bury the essential strengths of their tunes in effects: "Goin' Back" (also written by Goffin & King) was a magnificent and melodic cover with the expected tasteful 12-string guitar runs that should have been a big hit. "Tribal Gathering" has some of the band's most effervescent harmonies; "Draft Morning" is a subtle and effective reflection of the horrors of the Vietnam War; and "Old John Robertson" looks forward to the country-rock that would soon dominate their repertoire. [The CD reissue adds six bonus tracks, including different versions of "Goin' Back" and "Draft Morning," a few instrumentals, and David Crosby's controversial "Triad"; unlisted on the sleeve is a rehearsal outtake which captures comically vitriolic arguments among the band.] ~ Richie Unterberger
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Artificial Energy The Byrds 2:19
  3. 2 Goin' Back The Byrds 3:26
  4. 3 Natural Harmony The Byrds 2:11
  5. 4 Draft Morning The Byrds 2:42
  6. 5 Wasn't Born to Follow The Byrds 2:4
  7. 6 Get to You The Byrds 2:39
  8. 7 Change Is Now The Byrds 3:22
  9. 8 Old John Robertson The Byrds 1:49
  10. 9 Tribal Gathering The Byrds 2:3
  11. 10 Dolphin's Smile The Byrds 2:0
  12. 11 Space Odyssey The Byrds 3:51
  13. 12 Moog Raga [Instrumental][Stereo] The Byrds 3:22
  14. 13 Bound to Fall [Stereo][Instrumental] The Byrds 2:7
  15. 14 Triad [Stereo] The Byrds 3:28
  16. 15 Goin' Back [Stereo] The Byrds 3:53
  17. 16 Draft Morning [Take][Stereo][Alternate Take] The Byrds 2:54
  18. 17 Universal Mind Decoder [Stereo][Instrumental] The Byrds 13:43

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