Thursday 14 May 2020

#142 THE BYRDS - Unsurpassed Masters 1965 (Flac)

The sessions for the Byrds first two albums 'Mr. Tambourine Man' & 'Turn, Turn, Turn' took place at Columbia studios in Hollywood throughout 1965.
These are top quality out-takes and all date from the early recording sessions, before the numerous line-up changes, apart from: 5D (Fifth Dimension) which was recorded near the end of the third album 'Fifth Dimension' sessions after Gene Clark had quit the band in early 1966. 
'Stranger In A Strange Land' was one of three David Crosby songs rejected for the second album. The Dylan cover 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue' was intended to be their third single release but the idea was dropped in favour of 'Turn! Turn! Turn!'
01. Mr Tambourine Man (vocals only)
02. You Won't Have To Cry (alternate version)
03. We'll Meet Again (alternate version)
04. Mr Tambourine Man (take 1, 2 instrumental)
05. Mr Tambourine Man (take 19, 20 instrumental)
06. I Knew I'd Want You (instrumental)
07. It's No Use (different takes)
08. Bells Of Rhymney (take 1, 2)
09. I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better (take 1, 2)
10. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (take 2, 3, 4 instrumental)
11. The World Turns All Around Her (take 14, 15  instrumental)
12. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (take 7)
13. It Won't Be Wrong (take 5, 6, 7, 18 instrumental)
14. Satisfied Mind (take 17, 18)
15. Set You Free This Time (take 1, 2, 3, 4, 18)
16. Stranger In A Strange Land (take 1, 2, 9, 10)
17. Wait And See (take 23, 24, 25, 26)
18. 5D (Fifth Dimension) (take 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26)
19. I Knew I'd Want You (Gene Clark outtake)

This disc can be repetitive and perhaps difficult to focus on especially with many takes not tracked individually. It can also be revelatory for the most enthusiastic of Byrds fans. The instrumental takes do give you an opportunity to hear the glorious ringing chimes of the six and twelve string guitars unfettered by vocals. At the time it was an unique and ground-breaking sound.

On the nine-disc 'Journals' bootleg there are twenty-two takes of Mr. Tambourine Man. Here, we have an a cappella and four instrumental takes. Take one is a little slow and tentative, the second much stronger although producer Terry Melcher isn't happy with the sound on the bass drum. Take 19 is stopped after a minute because he says "It doesn't feel right." Take 20 is much tighter but the producer still isn't convinced. The band go on to take 22 which was finally selected as the backing track on the released version.  (not included on the boot)

The track 5D (Fifth Dimension) needs even more takes, twenty-six are included on the 9-disc set. This sampler single disc includes nine takes but most are incomplete or breakdowns. The producer is Allen Stanton on this song and he stops many of the takes without explanation unlike the more vociferous comments of Terry Melcher. 

It's a disc you need to spend time with and appropriate for these hard times. Your effort in listening will be rewarded.

Band Members: with assistance from session musicians

Jim Mc Guinn: vocals, 12 string guitar
David Crosby: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Gene Clark: Vocals, Tambourine
Chris Hillman: Bass Guitar
Michael Clarke: Drums

Studio Session Outtakes 1965 (except track 18, recorded early 1966)
Recorded at Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Running Time: 75: 42

Lineage: Silver disc (Over The Air OTA-008) > PC >You



  1. Thanks for sharing as always! Your post are always most welcome! Superb sound quality and performances :)

  2. Wonderful recordings.
    Thank you.

  3. Couple of points: McGuinn threw Gene Clark out of the band (according to Chris Hillman). And ALL of the 1965 output, (done in the studio), is the 'The Wrecking Crew'. Both Hillman & (the late) Gene Clark & have both stated (several times) that they might of hit a Tambourine here or there, but that was the sum total of The Byrds, instrumental contributions to albums 1 & 2