Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde came out. The sets were heavy on that album and Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, with a few other country covers thrown in alongside a medley of “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, “Mr. Tambourine Man”, and “Eight Miles High”, and ending with “Rock & Roll Star”, “He Was A Friend Of Mine”, and “Chimes Of Freedom”. From the opening “Nashville West”, Clarence wails and Roger keeps out of his way.
the final Byrds album for Columbia was Skip Battin on bass; that incarnation of the Sweethearts (catchy, isn’t it?) was already represented on the first two sides of (Untitled). By now they didn’t sell records in America, but flourished in the UK. A well-performed set was extracted from Roger’s vaults for Live At Royal Albert Hall 1971, released on the psychedelic-centric Sundazed label, and it’s clear how far they’d come as a live act since the Fillmore show. Just as on (Untitled), they begin with “Lover Of The Bayou”, and move through their older Dylan covers with newer tracks. Things go acoustic to show off Clarence’s prowess there, through a couple of traditional songs and “Mr. Tambourine Man”. (By now Gene Parsons would leave the kit to play banjo, and their road manager covered on percussion.) A lengthy “Eight Miles High” jam has to wait through an extended bass solo for the song itself to emerge. While not on the same level as in the folk-rock era, their vocal blends shine throughout, right through the closing a cappella take on “Amazing Grace”. We even get to hear them called back for several encores.
These two albums nicely complement the studio albums of the period, and show strengths that were sadly lost in the mixes. And anytime we get to hear Clarence White, everybody wins. Both are worth seeking out.