The Byrds
Sweetheart of the Rodeo


5.0
classic

Review

by Badmoon USER (65 Reviews)
February 19th, 2005 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1968 | Tracklist


With the addition of Country educated Gram Parsons, the already famous Byrds took a paramount change for the best. They had ditched the twelve string Rickenbacker, picked up a pedal steel, and never turned back. From 1968 on, the legendary “Byrds" would now be associated with smooth harmonies, acoustic guitars and Country Rock, opposed to twangy guitars, Psychedelia and David Crosby (Who had left the group prior). Covers of greats like Woody Guthrie and Merle Haggard would move quickly into their sets, but even though the group lost various members, added a few, and lost a large portion of their original sound, they were still The Byrds, and still amazing and ground breaking.

Sweetheart of The Rodeo was McGuinn and the boys’ first venture outside of their Psychedelic/Folk-Rock natural sound, that had been with them since the early 60’s. However, the group had played around with the Country Rock sound for sometime. Albums like Fifth Dimension and Turn! Turn! Turn! feature various interpretations of the Country sound on songs like “5D (Fifth Dimension)" and numerous others. Also, being that The Byrds had always been attracted to Folk, Country was never that far away. All the band needed was someone to bring the sound out of them. Which Gram Parsons successfully managed to do.

Sweetheart of the Rodeo is a cluster of wonderful melodies and sounds of the West. Throughout the album, the band relies on the twangy sound of the pedal steel guitar and stacked harmonies to each song strong. The technical ability displayed is not amazing, but they do great with what they have. Other than guitarist Clarence White, the band had never been technically proficient. But The Byrds are of course not weak in most fields. During each song, the group throws out wonderful vocal ability, with fantastic harmonies and melodies. And generally, all things are great Country band should have.

Musically, covers rule the album. Like every other release, Bob Dylan songs play a role, and on this release, there is no difference. The band does not only cover Dylan though. They venture to legends like Merle Haggard and Woody Guthrie, and tackle artists like The Louvin’ Brothers and William Bell. Surprisingly, the covers outweigh the originals. Not only are they done much better, but there is much more of them. From the beautiful “I am a Pilgrim" to “Blue Canadian Rockies", the covers dominate the album and really add an interesting property.

Throughout all of the covers and small amount of originals, The Byrds touch many different emotions and subjects. The intro “You Ain’t Going Nowhere" owns a very optimistic thought that opens the album perfectly. “The Christian Life", with it’s sincere example of a Christian made myself and other look at the band differently, and the fact that they added no sarcasm, nor tongue and cheek attitude really makes the cover genuine.

Sweethearts of the Rodeo is a fantastic and important album. The album had done so much for Country, Country Rock and brought Gram Parsons to the mainstream. On top of those large effects, Sweetheart of the Rodeo started off the career of Clarence White. One of Country Rock and Bluegrass’ most important lead guitarists. Overall, the album is just plain good and was very important in the progression of Rock ‘n’ Roll.



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user ratings (89)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Badmoon
February 22nd 2005


384 Comments


bump

BlackDeathMetalJazz or really ANYTHING else please-
April 11th 2005


200 Comments


You really dont get enough credit for reveiws. GReat album and good reveiw.

Jawaharal
October 22nd 2005


1832 Comments


is that the same something vauge as the old one?

keithmoon
September 29th 2006


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wich are the original songs?

This Message Edited On 09.29.06

stinkypoptart
September 29th 2006


1169 Comments


im was surprised that you aint going no where was so country or whatever, i only heard turn turn turn, which i love, but its more rock.

El_Goodo
September 29th 2006


1010 Comments


...I just can't get into the Byrds, which is weird since I love The Beatles, and I love Bob Dylan and the Byrds basically mold those two styles together. I just don't enjoy the singing as much as I do in the Beatles.

stinkypoptart
September 29th 2006


1169 Comments


john and paul are defnitly better singers then whoever sings in this band

DikkoZinner
November 8th 2013


4272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice album

Dunwich
January 23rd 2014


530 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Seminal. God I love them Byrds.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 23rd 2014


20813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome band

Digging: Motorhead - Bad Magic

NorthernSkylark
April 18th 2014


7097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This one got me into country

Digging: The KLF - Chill Out

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 13th 2015


20813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if only all country sounded like this...

NorthernSkylark
July 13th 2015


7097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

would jam it a lot more, that's for sure

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2015


20813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they had quite the 6 album stretch. everything from their debut through this little gem are all excellent

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2015


20813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

anyone who likes this album needs to listen to "Ballad of Easy Rider". it's also country influenced and is much better than the ratings suggest

NorthernSkylark
August 11th 2015


7097 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

should prob give them a go

argonaut
August 11th 2015


818 Comments


Ballad Of Easy Rider is great, highly underrated. The title track and Tulsa County are both among my favorite songs by The Byrds.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 11th 2015


20813 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah argonaut, the title track rules, but jack tarr the sailor might be my favorite song from that album



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