Friday, November 09, 2012

Returning to "Sweetheart"


After hearing some early RYAN ADAMS tunes yesterday, I decided it was high time I went back to the original source material.
That's why I'm listening to "SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO" by THE BYRDS today.
Fueled by the vision of brief band member GRAM PARSONS, the Byrds' 1968 release is generally credited as the first country-rock record -- an album and a sound that launched hundreds of thousands of twangy combos, up to and including the present day.
The album provides a blueprint to a sound so ubiquitous today that it seems unfathomable to consider it was once new -- so new and alien, in fact, that "Sweetheart of the Radio" barely sold any copies upon its initial release.
However, the people who did purchase the album back in the late 1960s and early 70s were indelibly changed.
Writer Chris Smith describes the album's landmark combination:
"Incorporating traditional country instruments such as pedal steel guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin, 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo' recalled the timeless twang of Hank Williams without abandoning the strides the Byrds had made toward giving folk music a steady beat and an electric kick."
Today, I hear this album both as a collection of wonderful tunes and as the signpost it became.
You can't say that about too many other albums.

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