After Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!, the Byrds amped up their wingy eclecticism for 1966′s inspired 5D, which includes the old ballad “John Riley” and old-sounding “Wild Mountain Thyme,” both with admirably tasteful and low-key strings; an early glimmering of country rock (a close encounter with “Mr. Spaceman,” where Roger McGuinn takes a convincing fiddle break on Rickenbacker 12-string); David Crosby emoting “Hey Joe”; and cockpit radio chatter and what sounds like a vacuum cleaner on “The Lear Jet Song.” It’s the sound of a band stretching, discovering its interests — sometimes with a cool demeanor, sometimes over the top. Two songs springboard from splashy ’60s modal jazz, “I See You,” and the hit “Eight Miles High,” with McGuinn’s memorably jumbled electric 12-string solo. It’s fascinating to hear him play at the limits of his technique, barely hanging in there. (“Almost like a parody of a guitar solo, except that it’s real,” a smart observer once said.) An earlier, shaggier, supposedly better take also appears on the expanded reissue, but the single’s tighter, and the guitar playing more gloriously frantic.
By Douglas Wolk on 06.30.09 in Icons
Bob Dylan didn't get to be the greatest living songwriter by repeating himself. He's reinvented his style and technique with nearly every record he's made in the course of his half-century career; he's been the political...
By Peter Blackstock on 07.11.12 in Lists
Woody Guthrie isn't just important for his own music, but for the voices he inspired. In this list, Woody's disciples pay him back by covering some of his best-loved songs.
By Vijith Assar on 10.24.11 in Lists
Beyond death and taxes, a further list of life's constants would have to include music, storytelling and, unfortunately, violence; perhaps we find murder ballads so thrilling because they cleverly mash them all together....
By Charles Farrell on 10.06.11 in Reviews
Can there be any argument that (aside from possibly John Coltrane's classic quartet) this is the greatest small jazz band ever? With Miles Davis's band, you had five deeply individual players, all of whom were capable of...