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The Byrds – Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)

April 13, 2012

[Album 38/1001]

For a country album, a country & western themed analysis.

The good:
– I’ll always applaud a band trying a new sound instead of merely treading water.  Even if the results aren’t great (U2’s Pop) or the fans aren’t thrilled (Metallica’s Load), kudos for the effort.  The presence of mandolin, banjo, and pedal steel is always encouraging.

The bad:
– Disappointment is guaranteed for listeners hoping to hear songs that sound like Turn, Turn, Turn.  The Byrds found themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place with this record, alienating old fans while not exactly being instantly welcomed by the Nashville country music establishment.

The ugly (in this case, the bland):
– The style of tune heard here can work extremely well as a single mid-album track, as demonstrated by The Refreshments’ Horses and Band of Horses’ The General Specific.  Sweetheart of the Rodeo may have been a departure for The Byrds, but there’s not a great deal of variation within the album.

This album is credited as being one of the first country rock albums.  Seeing as that genre eventually led to excellent groups like Blue Rodeo and Wilco, I’m pleased The Byrds got things started with this record.

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From → 1960s

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