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Archive for January 20th, 2012

Tomorrow Is A Long Ways Away: The Byrds’ “Preflyte” Expanded For U.K. Reissue

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On November 10, 1964, The Byrds inked a deal with Columbia Records.  Or more accurately, Jim (later Roger) McGuinn, Gene Clark and David Crosby signed to Columbia Records, with Michael Clarke and Chris Hillman officially joining the roster later.  But before that auspicious major label signing, The Byrds’ bags were packed, pre-flyte, it was zero hour…and after that day, they were destined to be high as a kite…eight miles high.  (Pardon the mixing of musical metaphors.)  The band’s pre-Columbia days have been anthologized over the years almost as extensively as their “official” catalogue, with the earliest release coming in 1969 on Together Records, simply titled Preflyte (Together ST-T-1001).  The recordings were compiled in 1988 for the CD era in an expanded version by Rhino Records as In the Beginning (Rhino CD 70244), also including some rare Elektra sides from the band’s days as The Beefeaters.  Other assorted tracks trickled out over the years, and in 2001, Sundazed issued a 2-CD, 40-track version, The Preflyte Sessions (SC 11116).  On February 27, the U.K.’s Floating World Records will assay these early Byrds tracks as Preflyte Plus, retaining the 40 tracks on The Preflyte Sessions but adding an additional eight songs.

The first 40 tracks on Preflyte Plus are identical to the 2001 Sundazed issue, compiled by Roger McGuinn and Bob Irwin.  You’ll hear embryonic versions of some familiar songs, produced by Jim Dickson at Los Angeles’ World Pacific Studios, including “You Showed Me” (the McGuinn/Clark composition later popularized by The Turtles) and “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the group’s first Columba hit.  Dino Valenti’s oft-recorded “Get Together” premiered on the Sundazed set in a solo rendition by the young David Crosby, the singer who first caught Dickson’s attention.  Four of Crosby’s early solo performances are included. It was at the famed Troubadour that Crosby first sang with McGuinn and Clark, and in short order he introduced them to Dickson.  They were christened The Jet Set, although a brief liaison with Elektra Records led to a British Invasion-leaning single (“Please Let Me Love You”/”Don’t Be Long”) under the name The Beefeaters.   David Fricke’s copious liner notes to the Sundazed edition indicate that there’s still confusion as to whether Michael Clarke or Chris Hillman joined the group next, but either way, The Beefeaters vanished and The Jet Set’s rank expanded to five.  The Byrds was soon born.

Columbia Records’ Terry Melcher re-cut six of the World Pacific tracks for the band’s first two major label albums: “It’s No Use,” “Here Without You,” I Knew I’d Want You,” “You Won’t Have to Cry,” “It Won’t Be Wrong (Don’t Be Long)” and “She Has a Way.”  The latter languished in the vaults for nearly thirty years.  All of the original versions of these songs are present on Preflyte Plus.

What new tracks have been added to Floating World’s reissue?  Hit the jump, and you’ll also find a full track listing with discographical info, and a pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 20, 2012 at 10:05