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Timeless Flyte | Full Circle  - A Tribute To The Byrds

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Full Circle - A Tribute To The Byrds

by Timeless Flyte

Volume 4 of the acclaimed Byrds Tribute. This time round featuring country/rock in all its forms from the psychedelic country to more traditional and modern country.
Genre: Rock: Country-Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Wasn't Born To Follow (Les Fradkin)
Les Fradkin
2:05 $0.99
2. Message From Michael (The Woodys)
The Woodys
3:37 $0.99
3. Full Circle (Walter Clevenger & The Dairy Kings)
Walter Clevinger & The Dairy Kings
2:20 $0.99
4. One Hundred Years From Now (The Bye Bye Blackbirds)
The Bye Bye Blackbirds
2:45 $0.99
5. Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man (Jason Walker)
Jason Walker
4:06 $0.99
6. Change Is Now (The Dixie Beeliners)
The Dixie Beeliners
3:07 $0.99
7. Hickory Wind (The Livingroom Legends)
The Livingroom Legends
3:45 $0.99
8. Lover Of The Bayou (Starbyrd)
2:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The largest tribute EVER to the Byrds, this is Volume 4- "Full Circle" in a four volume series featuring great artists of today's Rock, Jangle Pop, Country and Alternative contemporary scene interpreting great Byrds classic songs.

John Einarson, author of "Mr. Tambourine Man-The Life And Times Of Gene Clark, writes:

Imagine a world with no Byrds.

What if the Byrds had never existed?

How would the course of popular music have unfolded had Kansas country boy Gene Clark, fleeing the narrow confines of the New Christy Minstrels’ homogenized folk-pop in early 1964, not chanced upon another ex-folk acolyte, Chicago-born Jim (Roger) McGuinn formerly with the Limeliters and Bobby Darin, at the Troubadour?

And if yet another folk music refugee, LA brat David Crosby, had not chipped in a harmony part to their Peter & Gordon-style duo? Or die hard bluegrass aficionado Chris Hillman had remained with The Hillmen, content to peel off rapid fire mandolin solos; or if Michael Clarke had not been walking down that street or that beach (depending on who’s telling the story) and not been spotted by Crosby?

How would the music world, both then and now, have suffered from the absence of this seminal California group?

While a handful of folkies had already begun testing the uncharted electric folk waters once the Beatles hit these shores, it was the Byrds who defined the signature sound universally identified as folk-rock – that chiming jingle-jangle Rickenbacker electric 12-string and rich harmonic blend. They were the avatars of a new style, direction and substance, popularizing a wholly original genre of rock music for the plethora of artists who followed in their wake. Their sterling electric Don’t Worry Baby-inspired rendition of Dylan’s rambling folk chestnut Mr. Tambourine Man gave courage to its creator to dive headfirst into the uncharted folk-rock waters himself.

With Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn! The Byrds shifted rock ‘n’ roll away from pedestrian boy-girl, cars, surfing and beach bunny themes giving it a truly literary sensibility, a marriage of poetry to a British Invasion beat. Theirs was the new sound of California, steeped in folk roots pumped through Fender Dual Showmans to gyrating patrons at Ciro’s on the Sunset Strip. In doing so they influenced the kingpins themselves, The Beatles, who were unabashed Byrds fans (just listen to If I Needed Someone).

Virtually every recording artist since (not just those who wear their Byrds influences on their sleeves like REM, the Stone Roses and Tom Petty) owes a debt of gratitude to the Byrds for turning rock ‘n’ roll into a true art form. “I remember a promotion guy asking me for the lyrics to Mr. Tambourine Man so he could give it to a disc jockey in San Francisco,” recalls CBS promo man Billy James. “It was poetry, it wasn’t She’s So Fine.”

Not content to rest on these extraordinary accomplishments, the Byrds turned folk-rock on its ear in 1966 with Eight Miles High, an aural assault on the senses like nothing heard or conceived before or since. This was music without context, without borders, and, like a year earlier with folk-rock, without a name or label. Boldly integrating John Coltrane freeform jazz with Ravi Shankar’s hypnotic Indian ragas in the fluid guitar lines of McGuinn’s Rickenbacker, once again it was the Byrds pointing the way to what would be known variously as raga-rock, acid-rock, and ultimately psychedelia a full year before all those San Francisco groups became synonymous with that epithet. “The guitar break was obviously a tribute to John Coltrane,” McGuinn acknowledges. “That’s one of my favorite guitar things I’ve done.”

Even before the psychedelic wave crested, it was the Byrds again at the forefront bringing it all back home to a simpler roots-based American music, daring to bridge the deep cultural divide that separated rock music and country music by embracing both Nashville and Bakersfield on an album that marks ground zero for country-rock and later alt.country and Americana: 1968’s landmark Sweetheart of The Rodeo. While others were content to wet their feet in country music, dabbling in its familiar textures, the Byrds dove in all the way.

With Sweetheart of The Rodeo and the albums that followed it, the Byrds became the first top echelon group to wholly embrace and legitimize country music making it hip for the hippies and leading the way for all the SoCal A&M/Asylum Records stable to follow. “It all begins with the Byrds,” asserts Hillman on the roots of country-rock, “and I will argue that point with anybody. We took the ball downfield and the Eagles took it into the end zone for ten touchdowns.”

This time though it wasn’t McGuinn’s Rickenbacker but newcomer Gram Parsons’ heart-on-his-sleeve voice and Clarence White’s distinctive stringbender twang defining an entirely fresh, innovative sound that propelled the group through several albums. Today’s crop of country music artists weren’t weaned on Hank, Lefty and Buck but on the Byrds and their many offshoots, and through them connected the dots back to their traditional roots.

So where would popular music be today without the Byrds? Folk-rock? Acid-rock? Psychedelic-rock? Country-rock? Alt. country? And all those inspired and influenced by their music, including the artists on this tribute? Enough said.

And what of the Byrds’ offspring? Without their success as his springboard Crosby might never have hooked up with Stills & Nash (and sometimes Young – and maybe no Stills and Young either as the Buffalo Springfield got their earliest breaks via the patronage of the Byrds). Master of the minor key melancholy ballad, Gene Clark would never have teamed up with Douglas Dillard in their trailblazing Expedition, nor duet with Carla Olson on their seminal ‘80s roots album. ‘New Country’ would not have been transformed by Chris Hillman’s hit making Desert Rose Band. Country-rock’s own ill-starred Hank Williams, Gram Parsons might have continued to toil in the woefully neglected International Submarine Band. Nor would he and Hillman have hitched their wagons as revered country-rock renegades the Flying Burrito Brothers. Clarence White may have remained a respected yet largely anonymous session player; not to mention Firefall, McGuinn, Clark & Hillman, CPR, Thunderbyrd, Firebyrd and on and on.

The Byrds’ body of work remains both influential and essential, not preserved in amber or trapped in some nostalgia time warp, as vital today as it was some 40 years ago. Their music continues to resonate across generations, eras, timelines, and cultures. “That music is greater than any of us,” notes latter day Byrd John York on the band’s legacy, “because when we’re all gone people will still be playing Turn! Turn! Turn!”

“The thing that [manager] Jim Dickson drilled into our heads,” offers Hillman, musing on the enduring impact of the Byrds, “was, ‘Go for substance. Go for depth in your material.’ And he was absolutely right. He used to tell us, ‘Do something you’re going to be proud of in ten years.’ That’s a very important concept to instill in nineteen or twenty year old kids.”

McGuinn concurs. “I’m very proud of our work together. Like Dickson said we did work that not only stands up ten years later but forty years later.”
John Einarson is author of “Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of The Byrds’ Gene Clark” (Backbeat Books, 2005)


ERIC SORENSEN, noted "jangle" rock journalist and Project Manager for this disc offers a track by track commentary for this Fourth Volume of TIMELESS FLYTE- A Tribute To The Byrds (Full Circle):

"Wasn't Born To Follow" - Les Fradkin. Executive producer Les Fradkin showcases his sonic production sounds again on the opening track of the final disc in the four-volume "Timeless Flyte" series. Unlike the original Byrds version of this Carole King/Gerry Goffin song, Fradkin's version jumps out at the listener like the revved-up motor noise of Fonda's and Hopper's choppers, with some mid-60s psychedelic tones added for good measure. Put this track on your IPOD clock radio, and you'll never have to worry about over-sleeping again!

“Message From Michael” – The Woodys. What a treat it is to include another husband/wife duet song … that is dedicated to the memory of the Byrds’ original drummer Michael Clarke. Dyann and Michael Woody blend Everly Brothers-inspired vocal harmonies with a chiming Rickenbacker 12-string … to create a very Byrdsian homage to Michael Clarke. The lyrics of this poignant song, which first appeared on the Woodys’ Teardrops & Diamonds album, are based on an open letter that Michael Clarke wrote to young people prior to Michael’s own alcohol-related death. If the 12-string riffs sound familiar, that may be because it’s studio musician Cam King fingering the strings. Cam can also be heard playing his Rickenbacker 12-string on the Freddie Steady 5 track that appears on this four-disc set.

“Full Circle” – Walter Clevenger & The Dairy Kings. Once Executive Producer Les Fradkin became familiar with Walter’s work, Les knew that Walter could “nail” any Gene Clark song that he chose to record. “Full Circle” was tailor-made for Walter and his bandmates. I have heard some wonderful versions of “Full Circle” in the past two decades, but this version tops them all.

“One Hundred Years From Now” – Bye Bye Blackbirds. Jim Huie encouraged me to contact this young San Francisco band to invite them to contribute a track for this compilation. Much like their contemporaries, the Beachwood Sparks and Maplewood, the Bye Bye Blackbirds are right at home with the “canyon rock” sound of the late 60s.

“Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man” – Jason Walker. From my perspective, this song will always be more associated with “Woodstock” than with the Byrds. Jason Walker, another Michael Carpenter Aussie recruit, turns in a fine version of this song.

“Change Is Now” – The Dixie BeeLiners. Buddy Woodward is as hardworking and knowledgeable as an indie musician can be. I first met Buddy when he was a member of the country-pop band the Ghost Rockets. Buddy subsequently organized a terrific Byrds tribute show at the Bottom Line in 2000, and he performed in a similar show at the Birchmere later that year. Several years ago, he paired up with Brandi Hart as the Dixie BeeLiners. Buddy, Brandi and their studio colleagues give “Change Is Now” a very fresh and appealing bluegrass treatment.

“Hickory Wind” – The Living Room Legends. This is one of several male/female duets featured on this set of discs. This track was recorded by husband and wife, Ken and Mindy Stevens, and their bandmates. Ken and Mindy have a strong affection for the “Sweetheart”-era Byrds material; so much so, that they even performed all of the songs from that album at a show last year. When I first discovered the Living Room Legends on CDBaby, their music reminded me of the Kennedys. What a treat it is for me to be involved in a project that includes both of these husband/wife duos!

“Lover of the Bayou” – Starbyrd. Horst-Peter Schmidt and Graham Allman Talbot reunited as Starbyrd to record this track. I once referred to Horst-Peter as the “Crown Prince of 12-String” … because Horst-Peter wrote a song about Roger McGuinn, entitled “King of 12-String” and Horst-Peter sounds quite a bit like Roger McGuinn. Graham has teased Horst-Peter about his “royal” status ever since then. On this track, Horst-Peter proves again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.



to write a review

Eric Sorensen

All good things must come to an end, and "Full Circle" completes the four-volume Byrds tribute set - "Timeless Flyte." This set, masterminded and produced by Byrds disciple Les Fradkin, is the largest downloadable tribute project to date. "Full Circle" gives the 41-song compilation fitting closure. Fradkin once again puts his "sonic signature" on the track he recorded for this volume, "Wasn't Born To Follow," and each of the other participating artists contribute a reverential treatment of their cover song. "Full Circle" also includes the poignant original song, "Message From Michael," by the Woodys. The Dixie Bee-liners showcase their "bluegrass with a buzz" on their track, and San Francisco newcomers, the Bye Bye Blackbirds, transport listeners back in time to the days of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Walter Clevenger and the Dairy Kings' version of Gene Clark's "Full Circle" is the finest version I have heard. Fans of the Byrds (individually and collectively) will all find something to smile about when they add "Full Circle" to their music libraries. This disc, and the previous three Volumes, are a must for Byrds collectors!