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Roger McGuinn | Sweet Memories

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Rock: Album Rock Rock: 60's Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Sweet Memories

by Roger McGuinn

His first rock CD since 2004 including three newly recorded BYRDS hits without samples, eight original songs and one fun "Friday" song.
Genre: Rock: Album Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Turn,Turn,Turn
3:38 album only
clip
2. Friday
2:57 album only
clip
3. Chestnut Mare Christmas
3:42 album only
clip
4. Grapes of Wrath
2:05 album only
clip
5. Mr. Tambourine Man
2:20 album only
clip
6. Sweet Memories
3:14 album only
clip
7. Catching Rainbows
3:21 album only
clip
8. 5:18
2:02 album only
clip
9. The Tears
3:03 album only
clip
10. At the Edge of the Water
2:55 album only
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11. Light up the Darkness
2:10 album only
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12. So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star
2:36 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
“Sweet Memories” is the first studio rock CD that Roger McGuinn has recorded since 2004. It is the CD fans have been asking for at Roger’s concerts. They are continually asking for a studio version of the BYRDS songs. So, Roger re-recorded three BYRDS hits from scratch and they were so artistically performed that everyone asks, “Did you use samples?” The answer is no! He played every instrument and sang every vocal including harmonies on “Turn, Turn, Turn,” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “ So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” There are also nine other songs never recorded before.¬¬

“Sweet Memories” is a trip down memory lane for Roger McGuinn. It all begins when you open the package and see a letter he wrote to his family in 1965 on the back of a publicity photo of his new group, the BYRDS. He explains to his parents that their first song was written by Bob Dylan of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. The publicity photo Roger wrote on the back of is included in the collage of photos from Roger’s past on the opposite panel of the CD package. Get out your magnifying glass and see if you can identify the friends from a span of 60 years.

There are 8 other songs that Roger and Camilla have written over the years. This CD seemed the perfect time to record them.
"Chestnut Mare Christmas" - A continuation of the "Chestnut Mare" story. They were reluctant to write a sequel to that classic but the story continues with a tender message and Marty Stuart playing a galloping guitar!

“Grapes of Wrath”- The inspiration for this song is the black and white 1940 Henry Fonda movie which the McGuinns enjoy watching on a rainy day.

Sweet Memories”- Written in the early 1980s in Morro Bay, California. The late New York DJ, Pete Fornatale, was always encouraging Roger record it. The song was a favorite of Pete’s. To the McGuinns it wasn’t finished yet. There were still the European trips to write about and the wonderful train rides. Unfortunately, Pete passed on before it was recorded. When thinking about the title for this CD, that song seemed so appropriate because of all the memories on this disc.

“Catching Rainbows” took years to write and just as long to record. It didn’t fall into place until the beginning of this CD. It too is a song about the McGuinn adventures. The rainbow photo on the back of the CD with the song list was taken by Camilla on an ocean voyage.

It was “5:18” in the afternoon when the McGuinns were sitting on their garden porch in Morro Bay, California watching a storm rolling onto the California coast. At that time, they never dreamed of leaving California, but they did move a few years later.

“The Tears” was written by Camilla on an airplane returning home to California after a long tour. She was thinking about Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Bells.” With a hotel scratch pad and pen, words were scribbled about all the tears many have shed in the privacy of a closet.

Roger loves the being on the ocean. “At The Edge of The Water” was written by him during the morning dawn while sitting on a ship’s balcony with his guitar.

“Light Up The Darkness” was written in the McGuinn’s small rented condo in Century City within a year of their marriage. It was the beginning of a long beautiful relationship in life and work.

“Friday” - Roger recorded the song “Friday” because he and Camilla laughed so hard watching the spoof video on youtube they couldn’t stay in their chairs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4KwBklNuSE They even had to research the song to make sure it wasn’t written by Bob Dylan. Roger emailed the creator of the video, Nate Herman, and told him how much enjoyed his work and was thinking of recording the song himself. Nate replied, “Life imitating art imitating life.”

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Reviews


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TravelingMan2009

GREAT NEW SONGS FROM THE BYRD MAN BUT PRODUCTION VALUES COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
I am a huge Byrds and Roger McGuinn fan, so in many ways it pains me to only be able to give McGuinn's new solo effort three stars out of five. This is not to say that Byrds and McGuinn fans shouldn't buy this. In fact, I'd encourage his fans to go ahead and purchase this, but just be aware of both the strengths and the shortcomings of the effort. First, the GOOD. Lyrically and tune-wise, the eight new McGuinn originals are top-notch and probably represent his best songwriting efforts in many a year. The best of the lot are probably "Chestnut Mare Christmas" and "5:18", although all eight of them are pretty good. The cover of the spoof song "Friday" is also catchy and fun to listen to. Second the SO-SO. Why McGuinn felt it necessary to include new covers of "Turn Turn Turn" (which actually sounds pretty good to me), "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "So You Want To Be a Rock n Roll Star" is puzzling. Really, these new versions don't add anything beyond what the pristine originals already offer. I think most fans, myself included, would much rather have had three more previously unreleased originals. "Living Legend", "The Price", "Take Good Care of That Smile", "Loving You is Not a Sin" and "America For Me" would all have fit nicely in this current release. Finally, the NOT SO GOOD. The real issue for me is the inconsistent quality of the production values, stereo mix and vocals. The first observation is that this is not really a "rock CD" as had been mentioned in the press. It really is more an extension of McGuinn's folk roots despite the ample helpings of electric Rickenbacker 12-String throughout. Drums are almost entirely absent from this effort and the few songs that have them, the drums are so far back in the mix that they might as well not be there at all. With regard to the production values, the difference in audio clarity between this release and McGuinn's earlier LIMITED EDITION release is significant. While songs like "Chestnut Mare Christmas" (probably the nicest sounding tune on the CD) have a proper stereo balance between the individual instruments and the vocals, many of the other songs mix the guitars and bass too far to the middle and with a sound that is too far back in the mix and way too "muddy" for lack of a better word. Its a shame because you can tell, if you listen closely, that the guitar parts are really nice. "Turn Turn Turn", "Friday", "Chestnut Mare Christmas" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" sound fine, but the rest of the tunes to varying degrees from one to the next, in my opinion, suffer from a less than optimal stereo mix and equalization. Lastly, in my opinion, McGuinn relies entirely too much on double-tracked lead vocals which, when the harmony vocals are layered in, prove to be too much of a distraction and, by the time the CD is over, almost on the verge of being annoying. McGuinn's voice may not be in the shape it was 50 years ago, but as "Chestnut Mare Christmas" shows, he can still sing a fine lead vocal without relying on so much double-tracking. This project would have benefited tremendously from having an outside producer oversee the mixing or at least offer suggestions. Still I do recommend getting this if you are a Byrds and McGuinn fan. Even with its shortcomings, its a CD I will still listen to often. Its just that it could have been a FIVE STAR effort with a little more work.
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Bruce Kula

A Boxful of Sweets
Roger McGuinn’s metronomically reliable beat was recognized by the top folk musicians of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s when he was a kid; his impeccable finger-picking, typically banjo rolls applied to a Rickenbacker 12-string, made “Turn! Turn! Turn!” the best rock ‘n’ roll song ever written and an unlikely pop star of Pete Seeger.
Fittingly, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” leads off McGuinn’s new CD (Sweet Memories), and through some sorts of miracles of technology and inspiration it rings with more jingle and jangle than ever. You’ll bring it home (autographed) from the latest McGuinn solo concert, load it into your living room media system, and marvel. Same goes when you reach “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”.
There’s a lot more. By no means caged by the folk-rock genre he helped invent, McGuinn proves it (with a wink to Bob Dylan) by covering Rebecca Black’s cover of “Friday”. Remarkably but characteristically—and no thanks to Bob— he finds a lovely melody and an unexpected chord structure in it.
It’s been a long wait for new recorded original material from the McGuinns (Roger’s wife Camilla is his occasional writing partner), and they’ve used the interim to produce material worth the wait:
• “Chestnut Mare Christmas” answers anyone whose sensibilities remain ruffled by the Byrds’ (1970) “Chestnut Mare”, a pretty pony whom some suspected of wanting to be branded tracked by a cowboy over-eager to do the job. 2018’s more evolved chestnut mare lives according to her own rules—and still proffers a happy ending. Marty Stuart prances, canters, and gallops on lead guitar, the only music on the CD that McGuinn doesn’t sing or play.
• The McGuinns are happy with their life, and it’s reflected in their music. While they are capable of writing “The Tears” sleep-deprived on a plane, more typical of their output are songs nicely suited for the Seafaring gallery of McGuinn’s Internet Folk Den. Even the potentially grim dustbowl ballad “Grapes of Wrath” is a mere semitone and a few words from being a bright sea chantey suitable for entertaining denizens of a ship’s forecastle; “At the Edge of the Water” would require no adjustments at all.
• The CD is steeped in the ocean, no surprise on a McGuinn record: He loves being on shipboard (sipping a sparkling wine, mind you, not hauling in an unwieldy sheet) or, failing that, near the sea. His “Sweet Memories” include the time they lived at Morro Bay, and “5:18” gives an account of a prayer-inducing storm headed there.
• Also clearly detectable, perhaps more than ever, are McGuinn’s declarations of his faith (in the warm, melodic “Catching Rainbows”) and gentle preaching (in the stirring “Light Up the Darkness”) .
Ironically, sings McGuinn, “Now’s the time to get around…”, not to sit back and mull sweet memories. As I write this, McGuinn is a week into the 50-year anniversary tour of Sweetheart of the Rodeo upon which, I have no doubt, he has already collected plenty of sweet memories. Buy this CD, then get yourself a ticket.
Read more...

Bruce Kula

A Boxful of sweets
Roger McGuinn’s metronomically reliable beat was recognized by the top folk musicians of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s when he was a kid; his impeccable finger-picking, typically banjo rolls applied to a Rickenbacker 12-string, made “Turn! Turn! Turn!” the best rock ‘n’ roll song ever written and an unlikely pop star of Pete Seeger.

Fittingly, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” leads off McGuinn’s new CD (Sweet Memories), and through some sorts of miracles of technology and inspiration it rings with more jingle and jangle than ever. You’ll bring it home (autographed) from the latest McGuinn solo concert, load it into your living room media system, and marvel. Same goes when you reach “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”.

There’s a lot more. By no means caged by the folk-rock genre he helped invent, McGuinn proves it (with a wink to Bob Dylan) by covering Rebecca Black’s cover of “Friday”. Remarkably but characteristically—and no thanks to Bob— he finds a lovely melody and an unexpected chord structure in it.

It’s been a long wait for new recorded original material from the McGuinns (Roger’s wife Camilla is his occasional writing partner), and they’ve used the interim to produce material worth the wait:

• “Chestnut Mare Christmas” answers anyone whose sensibilities remain ruffled by the Byrds’ (1970) “Chestnut Mare”, a pretty pony whom some suspected of wanting to be branded, tracked by a cowboy over-eager to do the job. 2018’s more evolved chestnut mare lives according to her own rules—and still proffers a happy ending. Marty Stuart, the only additional person on the CD besides McGuinn, prances, canters, and gallops on lead guitar.

• The McGuinns are happy with their life, and it’s reflected in their music. While they are capable of writing “The Tears” sleep-deprived on a plane, more typical of their output are songs nicely suited for the Seafaring gallery of McGuinn’s Internet Folk Den. Even the potentially grim dustbowl ballad “Grapes of Wrath” is a mere semitone and a few words from being a bright sea chantey suitable for entertaining denizens of a ship’s forecastle; “At the Edge of the Water” would require no adjustments at all.

• The CD is steeped in the ocean, no surprise on a McGuinn record: He loves being on shipboard (sipping a sparkling wine, mind you, not hauling in an unwieldy sheet) or, failing that, near the sea. His “Sweet Memories” include the time they lived at Morro Bay, and “5:18” gives an account of a prayer-inducing storm headed there.

• Also clearly detectable, perhaps more than ever, are McGuinn’s declarations of his faith (in the warm, melodic “Catching Rainbows”) and gentle preaching (in the stirring “Light Up the Darkness”) .

Ironically, sings McGuinn, “Now’s the time to get around…”, not to sit back and mull sweet memories. As I write this, McGuinn is a week into the 50-year anniversary tour of Sweetheart of the Rodeo upon which, I have no doubt, he has already collected plenty of sweet memories. Buy this CD, then get yourself a ticket.
Read more...