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Tuesday, October 6, 2009


320 KBPS

Recorded at Bill Graham's legendary San Francisco concert hall during two shows in February 1969, this disc sounds like a practice session recorded in the morning after a particularly long, rough night. The vocals fall flat too often and rhythmic cohesion is always one measure away--too many noodly, irrelevant notes are slathered atop every song. Some of this can be explained by the absence of one former Byrd. In turning the band towards their country-rock bent and then splitting after less than a year, Gram Parsons left a hole that could never really be filled, not even by the nimble-fingered Clarence White. Their take on the Louvin Brothers' classic "Christian Life," for instance, is ragged, but not right. But the CD certainly has merit for more than just archivists and obsessives: the straight-ahead folk-rock material does shine with the "Nashville West" flavorings. There's a fiery "King Apathy III"; a revelatory, subtle version of "Bad Night at the Whiskey"; and a truly emotional take of "He Was a Friend of Mine," especially poignant a year after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

1. Nashville West
2. You're Still On My Mind
3. Pretty Boy Floyd
4. Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man
5. Medley:
Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)/Mr. Tambourine Man/Eight Miles High
6. Close Up The Honky Tonks
7. Buckaroo
8. The Christian Life
9. Time Between
10. King Apathy III
11. Bad Night At The Whiskey
12. This Wheel's On Fire
13. Sing Me Back Home
14. So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star
15. He Was A Friend Of Mine
16. Chimes Of Freedom

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