The basis of this album was to take the original and then popular concept of Folk music made popular by artists such as Bob Dylan and to turn it into Folk Rock, which would be an amplified and more exciting (supposedly so) musical listening experience. This was first achieved by the American band The Byrds with this, their debut album. Indeed, Folk Rock was coined as a term to describe their music around the time of this album. So it is historically important and must be heard for all purposes, so let’s hear it.
We begin with Mr. Tambourine Man which is the title track and a Bob Dylan cover, beginning with 12 string Rickenbacker guitar and a beautiful and more lovable sounding song than the original. It’s slower but much more focused. The lyrics and singing are really excellent here, and this is likely inspired not just by Bob Dylan himself, but many contemporary Rock acts such as The Beatles. A short but very sweet sort of listen, this is quite timeless. The outro has some really excellent and pretty guitar fills, all the way to the fade-out. A classic for sure.
Next along is I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better which begins with multitracked rhythm styled guitars, before launching into a song about leaving a lover who has no purpose to oneself. Musically, this instantly sounds good and is definitely a refreshing and nicely layered piece of music. Sound a lot like a USA version of The Beatles, this is very well played and delivered. No doubt that these guys began a new genre which was Folk Rock, this is a simple, yet extraordinarily good listening experience. Catchy and gorgeous from start to finish. Great tune, the guitar parts in the outro are divine.
Spanish Harlem Incident is a Bob Dylan song again that begins with some interesting guitar parts and lyrics driving along a song about gypsies and the like. It is another fine listen with some intelligent sounds and playing. This album is definitely an instant classic and proves that the USA music of the 1960s was not trash, despite the popularity of the British Invasion, per see. Short, at less than two minutes long, but very very good.
You Won’t Have To Cry is next, having some clean and wonderful guitar parts, before launching into a romantic song about cheering up a broken-hearted and blue lover. In any case, another awesome track that sounds fresh, interesting and inspirational. These songs sound brilliant, although they are very short indeed. Beautiful and lovely melodies are here throughout this tale of upbeat romanticism. Excellent and short Pop/Rock piece from start to finish.
Next is Here Without You which is a more melancholy sounding sixties piece and is a song about loneliness and despair after a relationship breakup. It sounds very fresh and inspired all the same, and unlike some musicians today isn’t overly depressing. It’s merely an observation and a very good one at that. Simple, lively and beautiful, The Byrds were artists supreme all right. So far, a fantastic and simple sounding album, this is another classic song to hear. Great tune.
Following is The Bells of Rhymney which begins with some gorgeous Fender sounding guitars, and launches into another semi-sad tune. This still sounds like 1960s joyful Pop/Rock music, although the lyric matter here is downbeat. Anyway, this simple and impressive music no doubt inspired those in the years to come to make simple and short songs. There is a nicely arpeggio styled guitar part as a guitar solo, before launching into the second half of the song. Very gorgeous and lovely, the lyrics leave images into one’s brain on this album. That is the point, this is modern-day poetry. This song finishes with some gorgeous harmonies, before concluding. Awesome effort.
All I Really Want to Do is a Bob Dylan cover that begins with melodic guitars before launching into another classic piece of romantic Pop/Rock music that sounds like a decent and straightforward 1960s listen. It’s about being a friend or boyfriend with a lady with no strings attached. This is a rarity in the world today and sounds pretty and full of excellent sounding instrument playing. Good song. It ends with some intricate guitar playing.
I Knew I’d Want You begins immediately with guitar strumming, basslines and rolling drums. This is a very Beatlesque sounding achievement about finding a lover with references to seeing love in one’s eyes. The singing and lyricism are about romantic ideals, and this is no doubt a really excellent tune. The singing here is very John Lennon-ish, but the music is in a context of its own. Another solid tune.
Next along is It’s No Use which begins with some excellent guitars in the right channel, bass guitar in the left channel and followed by awesome vocals and an interesting song and subject matter. Another Classic Pop/Rock piece that sounds extraordinarily good, this is simple music for those who don’t need Progressive Rock or anything extensive as such. It just is simple, which is the point. The guitar fills throughout this song ought to be praised, and are brilliant overall, especially during the bridge and outro. Excellent.
After that is Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe which has some nice clean guitar progressions, to begin with, before quickly launching into a catchy and melodic Pop/Rock piece that is very fresh and awesome. The drumming here is very powerful and is worth paying attention to. The lyric and subject matter is about proving a lover’s worth, done very well. A really cool song, once again, it has some interesting guitar effects in the left channel towards the end of the song which are also really good. It fades out into oblivion, another good song.
Chimes Of Freedom is another Bob Dylan cover, with some excellent guitar playing in the left channel to begin with, before launching into a really top and interesting music piece that deserves attention. The Byrds obviously were really great at taking a basic idea and putting it into a Folk-Rock perspective. Even though this is the longest song on the album, it is less than four minutes long, which is great. A really great and interesting song, although this is a cover, it sounds excellent and listenable. The Byrds were experts in taking music to a new place. Very catchy and fresh sounding, it finishes with some simple harmonies. Excellent.
We’ll Meet Again is the last song on this album, with more gorgeous guitar playing and is a very bright and lovely song to finish this album off with. A really well crafted and excellent listen, this finishes off a very underrated 1960s album and a listen that kickstarted Folk Rock. Very nice and positive music, this is very cheerful. Not bad, one of the best half hours of music you will hear. Excellent.
This album was a revolutionary one, changing music for the better in many ways. It is a good and short collection of songs done completely different to many others at the time, and gave birth to the Folk-Rock movement. This is an excellent debut, and much more was to come from The Byrds in their near future. Regardless, an amazing listen, especially for those who dig the music of the 1960s.
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