Nanci Griffith RIP. Recalling sad farewells to the 'folkabilly' queen
Loft vinyl: (1) wartime boogie woogie from Albert Ammons

Byrd song: when California dreaming embraced Britfolk

Lots of us loved the Byrds in rock mode or when their Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger covers made them sound like entirely different songs.

Eight Miles High and 5th Dimension, as well as Mr Tambourine Man and Turn Turn Turn, are still among my all-time favourites. 

But for distraction, Roger McGuinn and his fellow Byrds also took inspiration from the folk music of the British Isles. This short post will highlight someone the results.


The Bells of Rhymney also involved the hand of Seeger, who had put the Idris Davies poem of South Wales coalfield tragedy and defiance to music.

With my new toy, a vinyl turntable (thanks Christelle, my elder daughter) that also allows me to play Spotify tracks via Bluetooth, I renewed acquaintance last night with their versions of Wild Mountain Thyme - I have always thought of it as Scottish song but do know it has elements of Irish heritage, too - and John Riley.

  Perhaps Salut! Live readers will alert me to others I have overlooked. But this is as far I got with a leisurely search. I do know also, as a result of that search, that there are many, many more Byrds covers of Dylan songs than I imagined.





The Byrds: Best Dylan cover is a tie between My Back Pages and Chimes Of Freedom. Best version of a British folk song, hmmm, not convinced of the quality of any I've heard. Best Byrds song overall, the Gram Parsons penned Hickory Wind, pure country cream.

Bill Taylor

Roger McGuinn has earned a legitimate place in the folk canon, as evidenced by some of the people he performs with on his "Treasures from the Folk Den" album. Details in this link:
As a taste, here he is with Tommy Makem, doing "Finnegan's Wake"
I saw one of the later incarnations of the Byrds (featuring Clarence White, Skip Battin and I think Gene Parsons in the lineup) at Newcastle City Hall with you and Alan Sims in 1971 or '72. I seem to recall you have more memory of the opener, Rita Coolidge.
I've also seen McGuinn on stage with Bob Dylan at Madison Square Garden at the end of Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour. But my favourite memory of him (I've told this story before but when has that ever stopped me?) was a solo, acoustic gig at a small club in Philadelphia around 1980. He introduced "Ballad of Easy Rider" as "a song I wrote for a biker movie." When someone yelled out a request for "Eight Miles High," he told them it was impossible to do the song on his own without an electric guitar. And then he did it anyway. Magic.

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