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"CAPTAIN BILLY’S MAGIC 8 BALL" - EPISODE # 35 - " THE GREAT AWAKENING"" - FEATURING THE ALBUM "THE BYRDS GREATEST HITS" By THE BYRDS IN HIGH DEFINITION- THE CAPTAIN DIVES INTO HIS 8 TRACK TREASURE CHEST TO RETRIEVE ANOTHER CLASSIC!

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“THE GREAT AWAKENING

CAPTAIN BILLY DIVES INTO HIS 8 TRACK TREASURE CHEST TO RETRIEVE AND REVIVE ANOTHER CLASSIC!

EPISODE #16: THE BYRDS GREATEST HITS by The Byrds (Columbia, 1967)

The greatest score during my frenzy of cartridge collecting occurred when I acquired the entire Byrds Columbia discography on 4 track. The 4 track medium predated the 8 track, and requires an entirely different player. For that I scored an incredibly rare, vintage, Muntz,— a clunky, ham radio sounding apparatus, fashioned from massively heavy chunks of wood with some basic electronics on top. I adored it for its primordial rawness.

But, prior to that, the only Byrds recording I owned was The Greatest Hits collection. I first got it on vinyl with a Columbia Records Club delivery at the age of 14, then again later in 8 track. A lot of new life information was getting disseminated to me during this time, and the Byrds were a part of this great awakening. Imagine: this was the first time hearing “Chimes of Freedom”, “Turn, Turn, Turn” “My Back Pages” — all the Pete Seeger – Bob Dylan Kabbalah-like messages, translated for the rock generation. However, as I recall, “Mr. Spaceman” was my favorite cut at the time (although Gene Clark’s “Feel a Whole Lot Better” also made a big impression.)

I realize, more and more over time, how great and ballsy this band really was. Although, at the time it seemed to me like cheating, it was no easy a task to take the thorny, allusive poetry of Dylan, and turn it into danceable pop music – with consistent excellence, over a number of years. It turns out that these renegade folkies, enamored of the power of electricity, were essential to the turning on of American consciousness.

After David Crosby and Gene Clark left the band, lots of poetical copycats and psychedelic aspirants crowded the pop landscape. The Byrds hooked up with Gram Parsons and turned into Drug Store cowboys, and the moment of cultural epiphany had passed, but their achievement is irrevocable – the proof is in this amazing document.


By Rich Buckland 11/14/2021 04:57 PM

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