Top Artists – The Byrds

The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn!

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  • This outstanding 360 Label pressing of the band’s sophomore release boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • You will not believe how punchy, lively, dynamic, and exciting some of these tracks sound here
  • One of the better sounding Byrds recordings, with a number of their best songs, including the title track
  • 4 1/2 stars: “…more Bob Dylan covers were included, as well, and “Satisfied Mind” was their first foray into country-rock, a direction they would explore in much greater depth throughout the rest of the ’60s.”

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The Byrds – The Notorious Byrd Brothers

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  • This outstanding Columbia 360 label pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it from start to finish
  • David Crosby is shown the door, fittingly replaced on the album jacket by a horse’s ass
  • 4 1/2 stars: “The Notorious Byrd Brothers showed the group continuing to expand the parameters of their eclecticism while retaining their hallmark guitar jangle and harmonies.”

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The Byrds – The Byrds

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  • This outstanding pressing boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER from first note to last – fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, tubey, solid, with tight, note-like bass, what early Byrds record sounds this good?
  • Top quality covers of great songs by Joni Mitchell (For Free) and Neil Young (Cowgirl in the Sand, See the Sky About to Rain)

*NOTE: On side one, a crackly edge is lightly stitchy for the first five revolutions.

The album features the original Byrds lineup of McGuinn, Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, David Crosby, and Chris Hillman.

Even though this is not one of The Byrds’ stronger albums, it does have some very nice material. For Free on side one may very well be the high point of the album for me. They also do a nice version of Neil Young’s Cowgirl In The Sand. (more…)

The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man

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  • An outstanding vintage Columbia pressing, earning solid Double Plus (A++) sonic grades on both sides
  • Lively, balanced and vibrant, with a healthy dose of the Tubey Magical richness these recordings need in order to work
  • Listen to how breathy Jim (later Roger) McGuinn’s vocals are – his vocals are key to the better sounding Byrds records
  • 5 stars: “One of the greatest debuts in the history of rock … nothing less than a significant step in the evolution of rock & roll itself, demonstrating that intelligent lyrical content could be wedded to compelling electric guitar riffs and a solid backbeat.”

Tubey Magic? This copy has a healthy dose of it on both sides.

Want to hear exactly what I’m talking about? Play Chimes of Freedom, one of the best sounding tracks on side two, if not THE best. Listen to how breathy Jim (later Roger) McGuinn’s vocals are. Byrds records almost never sound like that.

I Knew I’d Want You is another one that sounds amazingly Tubey Magical on the best pressings.

By the time you get to track two on side one you’re hearing one of my favorite Byrds song of all time: I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better. It’s energetic and very present on this copy.

Notice that Gene Clark’s vocals usually sound better than Roger McGuinn’s. For some reason they tend to brighten up his vocals, and the last thing you ever want to do with a Byrds recording is make it brighter. But having said that, most of the reissues are too thin and bright compared to the best originals. (more…)

The Byrds / Mr. Tambourine Man – What to Listen For

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Want to hear what the best copies of Mr. Tambourine Man can do? Play Chimes of Freedom, one of the best sounding tracks on side two, if not THE best. Listen to how breathy Jim (later Roger) McGuinn’s vocals are. Byrds records almost never sound like that.

I Knew I’d Want You is another one that sounds amazingly Tubey Magical on the best pressings. (more…)

The Byrds – Untitled

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

WOW! The best pressing to ever hit the site, and it’s Triple Plus (A+++) on ALL FOUR SIDES. The overall sound is really rich, full-bodied, and open with impressive transparency and presence. Features a 16 minute Eight Miles High on the live disc that just kills — especially on a lively copy like this.

On the better copies songs like Chestnut Mare reveal a huge soundstage with delicate guitars, sweet vocals, and lively drums. Most of the pressings we’ve played over the years were nothing to get worked up about, but the sound here is wonderful. It’s exceptionally musical and natural with a nice, fat, tubey quality to the guitars and real strength and definition down low. (more…)

The Byrds – Fifth Dimension – The Red Labels Can Rock (More Accurately, Some of Them Can)

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

There was not another Red Label that could hold a candle to this copy in our recent shootout, and no 360 label copy could either. It’s the exception that proves the rule.

Does it have 100% of the Tubey Magic of the best 360 Label copies? Maybe not, but it has quite a healthy dose, and it does so many things so much better than any of the tube-mastered originals we played that it was simply no contest. There was nothing that communicated the music remotely as well as this Red Label copy did. (more…)

The Byrds – Younger Than Yesterday

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

It ain’t easy to find great sounding copies of this album on decent vinyl, but we managed to get a hold of a hot one here. White Hot in fact. Not only that, but the vinyl’s pretty darn quiet! The sound is very tubey with excellent transparency and serious immediacy.

Most Byrds’ records are far from audiophile demo discs. However, what the best originals and ’70s reissues give you is relatively good sound.

This album will never sound as good as Abbey Road. Keeping that rather obvious point in mind, as I listened to this copy the thought that went through my mind is that this tape had been mastered about as well as it could be.

It’s tonally correct from top to bottom; the frequency extremes are there; and the vocals have a silky, sweet quality to them (when they haven’t been bounced down too many times of course).

Recommended Tracks (more…)

The Byrds / Younger Than Yesterday – Sundazed Mono Debunked

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Sonic Grade: D

We can’t recommend this title. It’s thin, flat and dead in the midrange, with little of the magic of the originals. I suppose if you can’t find anything better, it will do in a pinch… 

The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man – A Sundazed Heavy Vinyl Winner!

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Sonic Grade: B

This is probably the best of all the new [2006] Sundazed mono reissues. I never thought I would hear a Sundazed record with this kind of richness and sweetness. It reminds me of a good 360 pressing, and that has virtually never happened before. Side one is a tad better than side two, which is slightly brighter than it should be. But both sides are exceptionally good considering the modern mastering. 

This album also has my favorite Byrds song of all time: I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better. (Notice that Gene Clark’s vocals all sound better than Roger McGuinn’s. For some reason they tend to brighten up his vocals, and the last thing you ever want to do with a Byrds recording is make it brighter. But having said that, almost all the reissues are too bright compared to these good originals.)