I have a nearly complete collection of The Byrds. There bootlegs out there that I’m not interested in. Those chiming chords of their first hits were impossible to resist. Their look embodied all that ‘hippy’ heady wear to lure teens like me at the time. Long hair, fringed jackets, tie-dye, square toed boots, mutton chops (my thighs miss them). I can remember first hearing Turn Turn Turn on the radio & wanting to be where they were spinning in the California sunshine in a haze of grass smoke.
I have as stand-alones: Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn Turn Turn, Fifth Dimension, Younger Than Yesterday, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Notorious Byrd Brothers, Dr Byrds & Mr Hyde. The first two are full of covers, originals, in that folk-rock sound. With Fifth D they become more experimental, more rock as well. Then with Younger they really take off – this might be my favourite: Renaissance Fair still knocks me out – it also marks where the band begins to fall apart – egos getting bigger, creative conflicts.
I’d also read the David Crosby was bi & the song that got him knocked out of the band was Triad – about a threesome. I looked at him with a keener eye – needing some sort of validation or my growing up queer & pretending it was bi to be on the safe side. The Byrds version of Triad shows up as a bonus track.
Notorious is also fine – more experimental with the use of moog, layer of sounds & my 2nd favourite of theirs. Sweetheart is the leap to country – amazing work & major changes in band members & a very influential lp on later groups i.e. The Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers & even country today.
The Byrds never really revived after Sweetheart – variations of the band continued to record & there are great tracks on Untitled, Easy Rider, Byrdmaniax (love the chrome death masks on the cover of this) & the reunion Farther Along – but these never had that sonic pull of the first handful of lps. The live Filmore 69 is great fun.
The Mp3 collections has: Untitled (the live Lp has a great 8 Miles High) is solid, new songwriters help & Chestnut Mare is classic. Easy Rider, Byrdmaniax – both have moments but could be any band. On this I’ve also added Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, The Hollies – best of’s by radio compatriots. Three Dog Night started as a strong band but turned to commercial mush. Steppenwolf were hard rockers all the way.
The other mp3 collection includes Farther Along/Full Circle – harmonies without real direction Full Circle is a reunion lp that has moments. I rounded this cd off with some Nils Lofgrin: bouncy, & excellent pop by a hot, short guy; Dr. John: Gumbo: covers of his faves; Roger McGuinn: one of his solo lps that failed to launch a viable solo career. Just for the hell of Zoobombs – a crazed rollercoaster of styles & great fun.
Stand alones: Final Approach: part of the Columbia box set; Uncut’s 8 Miles High: a collection of Byrds covers complied by Uncut magazine & given away with that month’s issue – great covers btw.
this sample is half of an exercise in which I was to write 100 opening lines:
1. I’d like you to meet my sister
2. It was a bark and thorny dike and as the water rose Kaleb prayed it would hold.
3. The ship’s vidscreen suddenly filled with a yellow glow.
4. ‘Which one of us will kill mother?’
5. The car screeched to a halt with Jack’s body protruding past the front bumper.
6. After the rain we were allowed back outside.
7. The window split into several large pieces before losing hold on the frame.
8. Once upon a time there was a crack dealer named Mickey M who found a magic marker in the secret woods.
9. ‘Are you sure this is the place.”
10. For a moment I thought the man who stood in front of me was me.
11. No colony had lasted as long as the Beta Q in this quadrant.
12. Billy couldn’t wait to get to the farm to see how his piglet had grown since last summer.
13. As the last of Jill’s clothes fell to the bedroom floor Kip felt he finally stood on the edge of manhood.
14. A barrage of staccato gun fire from behind stopped Cody in his tracks.
15. The brood mare nuzzled the glistening black form of the colt.
16. The door slammed in Carol’s face.
17. ‘Don’t be late again,’ Mrs. McLean warned Tracy.
18. The view from the top of Kl’da Mountain took their breath away.
19. ‘If I kill them all, there will be more for me.’
20. Although I’d never handled a knife before I felt sure I’d have no problem.
21. As Karen got closer to the slumped figure she saw that it had no head.
22. ‘I’m sorry to bother you at a time like this but I seem to have run out of sugar.’
23. The restaurant was empty.
24. As Tom hit the delete button he a feeling something bad was about to happen and soon.
25. Dear Diary – arrived at Camp Sunkiss today and it wasn’t raining.
26. The ceiling fan moved in slow circles that carved rather than moved the hotel air.
27. The arc of the electric charge leapt the gap to the gasoline.
28. ‘Do you take this man …’ the minister looked to me as my mind screamed ‘No! No! No! He isn’t human.’
29. ‘Have you lived here long?’
30. The Branston estate had been abandoned for several decades.
31. The ring was so small and round and all I had to do was get it off her finger and into my pocket.
32. The peasants stepped back from the car door as it swung open.
33. Marg rarely cried in public.
34. Numa, king of beasts, stretched in the hot jungle sun.
35. The grandfather clock in the front hall chimed ten and there was still no sign of James Cavendish.
36. A caped figure loomed abruptly as John was locking the car door.
37. ‘How many times do I have to tell you to turn that racket down?’ Vlad’s mother shouted up the stairs.
38. ‘The doctor has been delayed.’
39. The two butterflies looped around one another several times before settling on the lilac bush at the foot of the bell tower.
40. The blank canvas mocked Pedro with its very emptiness.
41. Dale watched the movers unload furniture into the house across the street.
42. The phone had rang six separate times already in the past half hour.
43. ‘Be an angel Beth and hand me that?’ Gran pointed painfully to the jewel box on the nightstand.
44. Once the merger was complete Phipps knew his revenge would also be complete.
45. There was nothing familiar in the room Frank found before his eyes.
46. The sparrow flew from the eaves of one house to the next.
47. ‘Stop looking at me like that,’ Paul reached inside his jacket, ‘Or I’ll make you stop looking.’
48. A slight breeze moved the lace curtains.
49. ‘Slow down before you …’ Becky’s warning was stopped by a sickening thud.
November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9
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