The Byrds - Preflyte Sessions (Music CD)

Release Date: 27 February 2012
Artist: The Byrds
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This double CD brings together all of the early Byrds rehearsals/demos found on the Preflyte and In the Beginning releases, and adds quite a bit more. As such, it stands as the definitive document of the birth of the group and how they sounded prior to recording the "Mr. Tambourine Man" single for Columbia at the beginning of 1965. For that reason alone it would be essential for any Byrds fan. But even for non-fanatics, there's a great deal of excellent music here to enjoy, even if the songwriting is more Beatles-like than it would be on the Byrds' early albums, and the performances more tentative. If you already have Preflyte and In the Beginning, what you really want to know is what's been added. To begin with, there are four pre-Byrds solo David Crosby electric rock cuts, also produced (as everything here was) by early Byrds manager Jim Dickson. Two of those, "Come Back Baby" and "Willie Jean," have shown up on other compilations, but "Jack of Diamonds" and Dino Valenti's "Get Together" have not. "Get Together" is particularly intriguing, kicking off with a weird "Twist and Shout"-like intro. Then there are no less than 14 additional previously unreleased alternate takes by the Byrds themselves, although unfortunately just one of these (an instrumental run-through of "The Times They Are a-Changin'") was not available in a different version, or different versions, on Preflyte or In the Beginning. None of these additional, multiple versions, alas, are as good as the ones that were first heard on those prior collections, though there are some interesting minor differences, like the bluegrass-type fractured guitar solo on a take of "You Movin'." Also, three of the new takes are just instrumental backing tracks without vocals. Still, it's great to have all of this material in one place, and the 50-page booklet of essays and photos is another major bonus. ~ Richie Unterberger
Release Date: 27 February 2012
Artist: The Byrds

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Catalogue No: FLOATD6122