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Celebrating the mojo of the “CRY” recordings of The Byrds [disputed] – Gene Clark, Pat Robinson


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I thought I’d just start a thread here in case any interest. My expectations are modest!

 

This about the so-called “CRY” recordings of The Byrds (ostensibly anyway) around mid 1980s – perhaps a bit later.

 

CRY is an acronym representing Gene Clark, Pat Robinson and John York (thus no Roger McGuinn). Nicky Hopkins also involved.

 

There is a significant resource aside from my own instincts and passion for some of these recordings. It may have expired online. Credit straightaway to Mike Masterson. I have a print-out of his notes last updated January 8th 2010. My remarks refer to information gleaned from Masterson and my own reflections.

 

These recordings were unreleased until soon after the millennium. I have 4 non-bootleg CDs which afaik in the aggregate isn’t missing anything significant:

‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ [EUROTREND 152.435] (released 1999/2000)

‘Alternative Takes’ [LASERLIGHT 21 579] (released 1999/2000)

‘It’s All In Your Eyes’ [POP STARS PS 95620] (released 2000)

‘Most Famous Hits – The Album’ 2 CD [SURPRISE 95331/2] (released 2001)

 

NB: ‘Alternative Takes’ suffers from Loudness. The others are good.

 

Some of the songs are Byrds mainstays. Others are new compositions – especially courtesy Pat Robinson. Some result from collaboration between Clark and Robinson only.

 

There are variations in the lengths of some tracks and the extent to which they have been edited and/or overdubbed. I find these a matter of mere preference – not fundamental better/worse.

 

Having reviewed in my own Library, highlights in alphabetical order are:

 

“As If We Didn’t Know” – written and lead voc. Pat Robinson. Fantastic mojo. Awesome grunge and lead guitar. I can’t explain the mojo. Stands head and shoulders above “ordinary” Byrds stuff, and I am a Roger McGuinn fan who appreciates his talents. I’m not talking about technics. I’m talking about music. Goose bumps. Meaning. What the hell are we all doing here. etc

 

“Boyfriends, Girlfriends” – written Clark & Robinson / voc. Pat Robinson. Again – so good it’s painful. Two versions. One with horns. The other with guitar solo (on ‘It’s All In Your Eyes’ only). Both versions Ace.

 

“Dangerous Games” – written Clark & Robinson / voc. Gene Clark. ‘The Album’ version slightly shorter. One of the best few CRY tracks. Over 6 minutes of pulsating heaven. Great driving music!

 

“Dragons Eye” – written Clark & Robinson / voc. Gene Clark. Wonderful. One of the best. If you want to get spaced out/high without drink or drugs, try this one.

 

“It’s All In Your Eyes”. On ‘It’s All In Your Eyes’ only. Not in the CRY top tier. But it has the magic. I notice it’s a Pat Robinson song. Seems Pat deserves some recognition for his musical gift. [This said, “Next Time Around” and “One More Two Time”, which are likely solely Pat Robinson, are not among the best.]

 

“Love’s A Loaded Word” – written Clark, Robinson & Hopkins / voc. Pat Robinson. Awesome. Among the best. Screaming guitar. All this emotion in both Pat Robinson’s vocals and the driving guitar. I don’t know who’s responsible for the best axe work.

 

“My Marie” – written Clark & Robinson / voc. Gene Clark. One version significantly abbreviated from the full version which is over 6 mins. Bliss. Soaring Can’t believe it’s really you my Marie … You were meant to be with me Marie.

 

“Prisoners Of Time” – Hauntingly beautiful. A solo Pat Robinson composition! One version is shorter/edited.

 

“Quicksand” - written Clark & Robinson / voc. Pat Robinson. Top tier CRY.

 

“Tell It Like It Is”. If you like this Aaron Neville song written by Davis & Diamond, you have to hear the CRY version – which you may not recognise readily. In the very top CRY layer with “Dangerous Games”. Life is too short to have sorrow. Here today and gone tomorrow. And so you might as well get what you want. Baby and live. Girl go on and live. Tell it like it is. Oh like it is. Tell it like it is. Like it is.

 

“The Panther” - written Clark & Robinson / voc. Gene Clark. Top layer CRY.

 

“Washington Square” - written Clark & Robinson / voc. Gene Clark. Mentionable

 

“Where Does The Love Go” – written Clark, Robinson & Hopkins / voc. Pat Robinson

 

I will add, in fairness, that among the tracks I haven’t mentioned, a few are naff. Chestnut Mare is hopeless and not a patch on the The Byrds-proper. I don’t have enough information to understand why some CRY tracks are transcendental and other take-or-leave. Something to do with differences between recording sessions/leadership?

 

Please do chime in if you have information – or any reflections of your own to share.

 

I don’t mind if there is a broadening to all Byrds. But really – I want the exceptional mojo of some of these CRY tracks to be celebrated.

 

Taster – “As If We Didn’t Know” [NB: The picture on the CD cover here is misleading - Roger McGuinn has nothing to do with CRY] …

 

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