From their earliest days as 12-string-wielding folk-rockers, to the thrilling psychedelic excursions of their raga-rock period to their 1968 birthing of country-rock, the Byrds were always accorded a hero's welcome in England.What better place to record founding Byrds member/guitarist/singer Roger McGuinn's new version of the band--featuring fretboard ace Clarence White, bassist Skip Battin and drummer Gene Parsons?than London's Royal Albert Hall!
Rescued from a tape that had sat forgotten in McGuinn's climatized garage for decades, this stellar 1971 set, featuring live versions of the current band's studio faves ("Lover of the Bayou," "Chestnut Mare") as well as adventurous reworkings of Byrds classics ("Mr. Tambourine Man," "My Back Pages," "Eight Miles High," "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star") might be the most accurate and stirring live performance yet of the legendary Los Angeles combo. By 1971, the guitar interplay of McGuinn andWhite had become a jaw-dropping highlight of their live performances,as had their stripped down, acoustic mini-set and peerless four-part vocal harmonies.
As McGuinn, in typically understated fashion, says of this new Sundazed release, available now on both compact disc and as a high-definition vinyl, double-gatefold LP: "It was a great night, so I'm happy there's a record of it!"
Also available on colored vinyl!
Also available as a digital download on iTunes.
"...the set verily smokes, with White's edge-of-distortion, Bender-equipped Tele right in your face...with a ripping rendition of White's instrumental "Nashville West" and an acoustic tour de force on "Black Mountain Rag" paired with "Soldier's Joy," this is the answer to any Clarence White fan's dream."
--Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar Magazine
"The Byrds were still a year and change from their messy end when they played the newly unearthed London show on Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 (Sundazed). This is the (Untitled)-era Byrds -- singer-guitarist Roger McGuinn, drummer Gene Parsons, bassist Skip Battin and lead guitarist Clarence White -- in sparkling last-hurrah mettle, mixing space flight and prairie dust in jangle and repertoire, and singing, at the very end, a short, wonderful "Amazing Grace" in backwoods-chapel a cappella harmonies."
--David Fricke, Rolling Stone Magazine
"...Live At Royal Hall demonstrates, on theconcert circuit the quartet took on an unexpected guise: populist, road-tested American everyband, touching on vintage rock 'n' roll, bluegrass, blues, honky-tonk, gospel, and more.
Weaving Dead-like "Eight Miles High" jams in with stripped-down Woody Guthrie gems--Clarence White's stringwork zigzagging through the material with authority--this edition of the Byrds demonstrated a deep, oft-taken-for-granted kinship with the very foundations of American music. White, three years a Byrd and settling into the job with a rare sonic adventurousness, is the focus, gluing disparate styles together with dazzling versatility, gracefully reinventing each song with the instincts of a guitar genius..."