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Bobby Dylan vs. The Byrds


LC

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Ah, here's a tougher one.... Which "Mr. Tambourine Man" do you prefer?


I love Dylan and his folksy original treatment. But if I had both in front of me, I think I'd play the Byrds' version first. Yep, this might be a rare case where the coverer outdoes the coveree, so I'll go with the Byrds' jangle. Am I wrong?

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No offense, but The Byrds basically re-did every Dylan song they ever covered, to the point that they're two completely different tunes generally, only with the same lyrics....and IMO, there's no real basis for comparison. Similar to comparing Hendrix's "All Along The Watchtower" to the original....one's rock, one's folk.

And oh, by the way, The Byrds' version of "Lay Lady Lay", complete with horns and female backing vocals, blows dead goats!!!

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Hmmm...After "Younger Than Yesterday", they covered "You Ain't Going Nowhere," "Nothing Was Delivered", "This Wheel's On Fire", "Lay Lady Lay", "It's All Over Now Baby Blue" (slow version), and "Positively 4th Street" (live). Hell, that's at least half of their Dylan covers, I suspect.

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When in the Hell did The Beau Brummels cover "This Wheel's On Fire"? Is it perhaps on a live bootleg or youtube video? ....cause I have everything they've ever recorded, and don't have their version of it!

Their version of "One Too Many Mornings" on Triangle is excellent, but their "Tambourine Man" on the all-covers '66 album isn't too hot...and I know that Sal Valentino's post-Brummels band Stoneground did "It Takes A Lot To Laugh".....and Sal covers "Isis", and 3 other tunes (none of them "Wheel's") on a live Dylan tribute show that was put out several years ago ("Positively 12th & K")

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Regarding The Byrds, pre- and post-Crosby split. I saw them live twice - in '66 and '70. The '70 version, with the incredible Clarence White (who, with Gene Parsons, had just invented the Parsons-White B-Bender, and was using it on his '54 Tele) was 10 times better live than the originals, who couldn't really nail their on-record harmonies live very well. Now, per McGuinn and Hillman, Crosby had a tendency to sabotage their live shows on occasion, especially the last year he was in the band. The '66 version I saw was a 4 piece, an early post-Gene Clark show, and Chris H. wasn't really singing much....leaving most of the harmonies to Roger/David...and they were butchering them throughout most of the night....not to mention that Michael Clark was a pretty bad live drummer.

The earlier Byrds were far and away the better band in the studio, but the later ones were really excellent live (that night, they were Roger, Clarence, Skip Battin on bass and Gene Parsons on drums), even if their studio albums were pretty bad.

P.S. I also left out another later Dylan cover - they did "Paths Of Victory" on their first box set, with Roger, Chris and Croz back in the fold for 3-4 new studio cuts.

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"What the hell made you choose that picture below your name? Was that the guy on 'Designing Women'? I laugh everytime I see it."

Nope, that's the late great Jimmy Finlayson, who was in a lot of Laurel and Hardy's old films.....nobody did a slow burn or got madder than he did! My two favorites he was in - "Big Business" when L&H are selling Xmas trees, and wind up wrecking Finlayson's house (while he destrys their car), and "Two Tars", when they destroy each others' cars. His trademark "d'oooh" was the basis for Homer Simpson's "d'oh", I believe.

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I've heard more than enough live boots of the originals to know that I caught them on a bad night.

As far as the later Byrds, Clarence White is one of my all-time favorite guitarists. He was the best acoustic bluegrass picker ever in the Kentucky Colonels until Tony Rice came along decades later. His electric work, especially his pedal steel effects with the string bender he invented was revolutionary. Every Nashville studio cat over the past 30 years has been using string-benders, mostly the Parsons-White version, which Fender still uses (in modified fashion) on one of their current Telecasters. Clarence himself wasn't happy with his rock playing on tunes like "Wheel's"....but listen to him on "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man" and the more C&W oriented songs they did....pure magic! Sadly, he was killed by a hit & run driver after a gig in LA in '73 (post-Byrds). Marty Stuart now owns Clarence's heavily modified '54 Tele. He used to take it on the road with him, and would show it to fans (like me) after shows....until someone told him what it was worth! He now keeps it in a vault...

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WOW!

How nuts does McGuinn look in that clip? He looks like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining"! "Heeeeerrrreeeee's Johnny!"

In 1965, I liked The Beatles and I really liked The Rolling Stones, but I freakin' LOVED The Byrds!

I must have played their first album at least a thousand times ( and "Mr Tambourine Man" and "The Bells Of Rhymney" at least 3000 times each). Here's a copy of the session contract for "Mr Tambourine Man". It would appear McGuinn's the only Byrd who actually played on that one.

Interesting side note: Leon Russell on piano, and Larry Knechtel on bass!

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Eric Carmen said:

How nuts does McGuinn look in that clip? He looks like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining"! "Heeeeerrrreeeee's Johnny!"

In 1965, I liked The Beatles and I really liked The Rolling Stones, but I freakin' LOVED The Byrds!

I must have played their first album at least a thousand times ( and "Mr Tambourine Man" and "The Bells Of Rhymney" at least 3000 times each). Here's a copy of the session contract for "Mr Tambourine Man". It would appear McGuinn's the only Byrd who actually played on that one.

Interesting side note: Leon Russell on piano, and Larry Knechtel on bass!

Yes! I thought the same thing! McGuinn looks kind of deranged on that clip... If you look at other Byrds clips from that year, he looks totally different. Here, yeah, he looks diabolical. Awesome!

Also, good tidbit on the Tambourine session, Eric. I didn't know about the session guys on the song (that was Hal Blaine's drumming?), though I bet Hollies and JohnO might have. You guys put some great Byrds info on this thread -- thanks.

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I think I could probably still play and sing every part on that first album. I dissected that record so my first band could learn all those songs. There are some really, really terrible (and funny) "clams" (wrong notes) in Chris Hillman's bass parts on that record. I couldn't believe they left them in. If you listen to "Spanish Harlem Incident" there are a couple times when Chris plays an F# bass note against a G chord, that sound like he must have dozed off for a minute. It's pretty funny stuff. He missed the right note by one fret.

It kind of makes your hair stand on end for a bar or two. :blink:

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'I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better'

'Have You Seen Her Face'

'Goin Back'

'Lady Friend' [No one else here would ever pick this one I'd bet]

'My Back Pages'

'Bells of Rhymney' or'Don't Doubt Yourself Babe'.

Of course I could pick another 5 I like just as much...The Byrds Had about two dozen stone cold classics...Almost every Gene Clark penned song for instance.

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