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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Notorious Byrd Brothers

The Byrds

1968

Buy At Rough Trade
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Album Summary

The Notorious Byrd Brothers is the fifth album by the American rock band the Byrds, and was released in January 1968, on Columbia Records. The album represents the pinnacle of the Byrds' late-‘60s musical experimentation, with the band blending together elements of psychedelia, folk rock, country, electronic music, baroque pop, and jazz. With producer Gary Usher, they made extensive use of a number of studio effects and production techniques, including phasing, flanging, and spatial panning. The Byrds also introduced the sound of the pedal steel guitar and the Moog modular synthesizer into their music, making it one of the first LP releases on which the Moog appears.Recording sessions for The Notorious Byrd Brothers took place throughout the latter half of 1967 and were fraught with tension, resulting in the loss of two members of the band. Rhythm guitarist David Crosby was fired in October 1967 and drummer Michael Clarke left the sessions midway through recording, returning briefly before finally being dismissed after completion of the album. Additionally, original band member Gene Clark, who had left the group in early 1966, rejoined for three weeks during the making of the album, before leaving again. Author Ric Menck has commented that in spite of these changes in personnel and the conflict surrounding its creation, The Notorious Byrd Brothers is the band's most cohesive and ethereal-sounding album statement.The Notorious Byrd Brothers reached number 47 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and number 12 on the UK Album Chart. A cover of the Gerry Goffin and Carole King song "Goin' Back" was released in October 1967 as the lead single from the album to mild chart success. Although The Notorious Byrd Brothers was critically praised at the time of its release, it was only moderately successful commercially, particularly in the United States. The album later came to be widely regarded as one of the Byrds' best album releases, as well as their most experimental and progressive. Byrds expert Tim Connors has commented that the album's title evokes the American Old West.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.03

Votes

10411
Genres
Rock
Country
Folk
Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Sat Jun 05 2021
2

Some interesting sonic experimentation going on here, but unfortunately, it all sounds so dated. No stand out tracks that, to my mind, stand the test of time. While this album may have (strongly?) influenced music to follow, I don't feel that I've missed out by not hearing it before.

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Wed Sep 08 2021
3

3, it's fine. Killer bass lines by the horse though.

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Thu May 19 2022
3

At its best when the cosmic babble skewers the sweetie-pie folk babble, rather than the reverse. While they're incapable of having or being fun vocally, they're less inhibited sonically. By which I mean the horns on the opener sound a lot like farts.

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Thu Sep 09 2021
2

Un très, très, très mauvais album de la part de Gene Clark et de sa bande de gugusses ignares. Je vous ai déjà dit ce que je pensais de ce chanteur et de sa capacité à choisir des pseudonymes exécrables, je ne vais donc pas revenir sur son cas personnel. Quant à l'album, rien n'est à sauver dans cet enregistrement dépourvu de tout son agréable à l'oreille.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
2

I am disturbed by your lack of jangle.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
4

I love The Byrds and this album. Just no time to get into the details!

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Sat Jun 05 2021
4

Peace, love and group sex! Expectations were low and I considered it’d be variations of Turn, Turn, etc. and Tamborine guy songs. This is the music my mom would’ve listened to in college. I was generally underwhelmed until Space Odyssey played and I began seeing trails, but then Moog Raga kicked in and I was tripping balls. Moving forward to the threesome sex song Triad, was unexpected but oddly enjoyable. Take another hit, there’s a great riff on Bound to Fail. Finally, Universal Mind Decoder was another trippy song to get lost in and the banter on the alternate version in the studio provided some interesting insight into the recording process. I was pleasantly surprised at how dynamic and full this album is. In the end, how much do we really know about our parents anyway? Maybe mom was a freak who liked dropping acid and frolicking naked in the mud at Woodstock with everyone else. (yuck).

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Sun Apr 10 2022
4

This was a kind of snapshot of so many things that were going on musically in the late ‘60s. I have been learning a lot about the Byrds and how interconnected they were to so many things going on in music then. I really enjoyed this.

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Wed Apr 28 2021
5

Really enjoyed The Byrds. Fun and upbeat, a little funky. Great album.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
5

Les doy un cinco. No me ha encantado, pero me ha apetecido escucharlo varias veces. Es muy agradable el disco. Y son The Byrds :).

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Thu Apr 07 2022
5

Love the Bryds and I really love this album and it's probably there most diverse album they made, sure the folk/rock sound is still there but other influences show up as well. To me Goin Back (and Draft Morning) is probably reason this album is on the list, it's the root of power pop, it inspired Big Star which in turn inspired countless others like Teenage Fanclub, this is the origin. Wasn't Born to Follow is a early example of country rock sound, which they would go full in on the next album Sweetheart of the Rodeo with Gram Parson, which I hope is on the list as well. Albums awesome and a very important one in rock history.

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Sun Apr 10 2022
5

I just know of The Byrds from their hits and the numerous references to them in Wikipedia articles about other artists they influenced. Their influence is huge, so I have been very interested in hearing more of their work. I love the swingin’ and trippy 60s sound with occasional tinges of country. It was a lot of fun feeling this groovy listening to an album.

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Sun Apr 10 2022
5

I know a couple of tunes from The Byrds, but these were not those tunes. I didn't know anything about this album, but I really enjoyed it. The mix of psychedelic- to folk-rock was a fun listen. The album captured me from the first notes of the first track and kept my attention until the end.

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Mon May 16 2022
5

Love this sound! To me, it sounds like it could have been made any time in the last fifty years!

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

Have you been out drinking with friends and the conversation and laughs are flowing, but then something happens to snap you out of your mirth? You start questioning yourself. Have you had too much to drink? How many *have* you had? Are you going to hurl? What is your friend even saying to you at this point? Shit, he stopped talking and he's looking at you expectantly, you better laugh, he's always saying funny stuff, it was probably funny. You laugh and conversation and mirth continues. You're fine. But you switch to water instead of beer, just in case. Wasn't Born to Follow has this fairly standard country sounding sounding progression with some harmonies and jangly guitars and then... the breakdown. Totally non melodic noise. It makes you stop and question where you are. What am I doing? Is any of this even real? Then the country bass line starts back up again, and we're back in normalcy again... but it's coloured by the breakdown. It's like you've seen a monster out of the window of a speeding train. Normal doesn't feel quite as normal as it did before. And this is all in two minutes. This feels like real psychedelic folk rock. Not just a few wah pedals or phasers or tricks with tape, but psychedelia in the songwriting itself. Stuff to make you question your reality. Folk rock to set the baseline, and then all sorts of methods to pull the rug. Artificial Energy sets the tone, with a harsh edge on the bass and horns to match the lyrics that are about the harsh after affects of drugs. Natural Harmony starts with some lilting arpeggios, and then some expectant rhythmic chords, that appear to be telegraphing some upcoming rock pop chorus. But it never gets there. Instead it sorts of fades away, and ends in some fairly dissonant uneasy sounding feedback. Draft Morning starts with warm sounding music, and warm sounding lyrics, followed by a rug pull in the lyrics first, followed by a warning of horns and the sound of war. Sun warm on my face, I hear you Down below movin' slow And it's morning Take my time this morning, no hurry To learn to kill and take the will From unknown faces This album is just rug pull after rug pull. And it's all done inside such short songs. I don't like the word genius, so I won't use it, but if I liked the word, or was at least neutral about the word, I might apply it to this album I probably don't need to say it, but these five stars don't mean I would recommend it to anyone. None of my reviews are recommendations. Just how it hits me. And man, this hit me. I will listen to this a lot.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
5

Gotta love that originating psych-folk sound, and it is such a quick little bite that doesn't overindulge or overstay its welcome. This was delectable.

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Sun Jan 29 2023
5

Love! Especially the instrumentals

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Wed Mar 22 2023
5

It was good enough to visit again

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Tue Jun 06 2023
5

Featuring their trademark of lovely harmony vocals, jangly guitars and melodic songs, there's also some disorienting psychedelic touches, synthethsizers and sound effects. As per the previous albums, it's quite a short album, but a heck of a lot happens in under 30 minutes. It's production is shimmering and the mood is generally quite hazy. It's a fab LP to drift away on a lovely summer afternoon.

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Tue Aug 08 2023
5

Not my favourite Byrds album, but still the Byrds so 5 stars.

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Sat Aug 12 2023
5

Their best album in particular due to the two King/Coffin songs but overall it is a timeless classic of course.

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Thu Sep 21 2023
5

So glad I got to hear and discover this. I love the style and cool info about the Moog. Also loved the Triad song.

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Fri Oct 13 2023
5

Amazing really enjoyed the dolphin and tribe song on b side

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Fri Nov 10 2023
5

Great space cowboy/cosmic Americana music

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Thu Dec 28 2023
5

Kinda upset I had my shitty work headphones on for this one, I feel like I missed out on the production of it. Regardless I love this album, super cool psychedelic folk feel.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

Make this a Beatles album and I went in like knowing them from little more than "Twist and Shout" and "Yellow Submarine". I'm fairly appalled by my ignorance of The Byrds, wtf. So; while I am not too keen on the "Old John Robertson" side of this album's music, it was overall delightful and immensely surprising. I'm suspecting there is a 5***** in The Byrds' discography and it's probably this one. /// Rating day. I'm not going to think "Man, you know what? I need to listen to The Notorious Byrd Brothers" any time soon, but I saved 4 tracks to my playlist of *everything* and this a damn fine album, a super nice blend of US-flavo(u)red late 60ies poprock and people being weird and experimental, yes indeed, 5 stars.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

My favourite new discovery so far. This is a cracking album and one I’ll be buying. Going Back is a brilliant song. They have a lovely psychedelic folk-rock sound that just rolls through the album and then they seal the deal with effortless harmonies. I really really like it.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
5

There are several Byrds albums on this list, and this is the one that most deserves a spot. A shining example of how psychedelia, rock, and folk could intersect. Beautiful voices and arrangements, and some of the band's most original work.

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Sun Mar 21 2021
4

This is pretty cool, nice and cruisy. Well written, good songs, almost doesn't feel like it's 50 years old. 4/5.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
4

Extremely pleasant to listen to. I like folk in general, and this is no exception. Nearly perfection.

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Sun Apr 25 2021
4

Psychedelic folk rock that mostly works. Best track: Draft Morning.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

Guter gitarrenpop. Teils noch folkig.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
4

I never thought I’d like this kind of music. It was actually pretty nice

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Tue Jun 29 2021
4

Rock psicodélico sesentero.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
4

Nothing really outstanding, but it's still a pleasant album.

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Mon Jul 12 2021
4

Pretty great. You can really hear the Crosby.

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Tue Jun 29 2021
4

Love dat 12 string guitar sound.

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Sun May 23 2021
4

Easy listening, understandable it was so popular for the time.

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Mon Aug 30 2021
4

3.5/5. Another great Byrds record, they had this psychedelic rock thing down pat. Standout Tracks: Artificial Energy, Draft Morning, Get to You, Dolphin's Smile

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Mon Aug 30 2021
4

Pretty fun and experimental, still sound like worse Crosby Stills and Nash. 7

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Wed Sep 15 2021
4

Started off a bit too soft for me, but picked up. Weird elements of southern rock and psychedelic that somehow work pretty well.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
4

Good ol' fashioned Americana.

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Fri Nov 05 2021
4

¿Por qué este albúm que suena tan estándar es tan importante? En mi punto de vista es quizá el album que mejor encapsula a la banda. Combina pop, rock psicodelia y country con mucha maestría. Es un album que suena tanto feliz y sencillo como misterioso y profundo. Quizá el punto en que la banda se siente en su mayor capacidad de escribir y experimentar. Canciones como Get to You quizá suenan como algo normal pero continuando con el punto de estar a mediados de los 60s es una fusión interesante de folk, pop barroco y psicodelia que en su momento no se veía y que da la que quizá es su mejor canción. No, no son una banda que hoy suene espectacular para la mayoría, pero son una excelente banda y, como ya se ha dicho, mucho de la manera en que sonaban grupos que quizá fueron hasta más famosos es gracias a la base sentada por ellos y a la gran variedad de estilos en los que incursionaron.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
4

Thoroughly enjoyable, if a little repetitious. The instrumentals pieces I could live without.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
4

Good stuff! I like the soundscapes and harmonies on this album a lot, and it seems to twist and turn into some at times dark and at times transcendent places. Very creative!

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Thu Dec 02 2021
4

I enjoyed this album a lot. My favourite song was Get To You.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
4

Ever heard this album before. I'm very familiar with their first three albums which are classic in their own rights. The Notorious yrd Brothers has a different sound, a jazzier sound that works very well. I enjoyed each and every song. Can't quite give it a five bit I'm tempted. 4.25 🌟

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Wed Dec 22 2021
4

Love this album. Not my favourite Byrds lp, but close enough.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
4

I was a little skeptical about some of the raving critical reviews this album has gotten, especially starting out with the weird "Artificial Energy." But after the rough start, I was completely sold. This is a gorgeous collection of songs, full of rich vocal harmonies and some stunningly lovely guitar work. The Byrds beautifully marry a pop sensibility with psychedelic experimentation and a bit of a country twang. It really shouldn't all work together, but it does. Roger McGuinn's guitar work is ridiculously good, some of the best put to record. I really enjoyed this. Fave Songs: Get to You, Change is Now, Wasn't Born to Follow, Draft Morning, Goin' Back, Natural Harmony

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

I liked it. The flanger effects were probably overdone but I'm sure it was a novelty at the time.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
4

wasn't born to follow so good!

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Sun Jan 16 2022
4

Cool psychedelic country album

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Thu Jan 20 2022
4

Good vibes! Will likely listen to more

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Fri Jan 28 2022
4

Such a cool sound, probably the most catchy and easy going psychedelic sound I’ve heard from all of the 60s bands. It knows just how far to push it and it works. The album has a bit too much country in it for me to really get into it. A generous 4/5 - Pretty good, added to my list

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Wed Feb 02 2022
4

A nice mix of folk and psychedelic with some heavy phasing and a weird synth song, but it all manages to hold together well, even with the changing cast of characters. It’s a bit of a time capsule of some of the different movements of the (rich) music scene of that time, especially in the US. The vocals are very recognizable as The Byrds. I only listened to the original 29 minute vinyl release and would be far less enthusiastic if the Moog Ragga was part of the package.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

This was just a generally solid 60s album. Some psychedelic, some blues, some other stuff. Just very enjoyable

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Wed Feb 23 2022
4

C’est eclaté. Du bon rock psychedelique. Comme il ne s’en fait plus. K’ai bcp aime. 4.5

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Wed Feb 23 2022
4

Who knew that David Crosby was holding the Byrds back? Some argue this is the band's finest work. I'm not ready to co-sign that statement yet. I seem to prefer my Byrds with a splash of Gram Parsons. There are still too many Byrds albums on this list (they shouldn't have more than 3). So cut two off, but this one stays.

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Wed Mar 09 2022
4

Sweet melodies and harmonies. Lush and a treat

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Sun Mar 13 2022
4

LSD was good in 1968 👍👍. The strongest 7/10 I can give without it being an 8/10. In all honesty it probably is an 8/10 album, might be a 9/10, I'm not sure yet. I'll rate it how I feel right now after just listening to it.

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Thu Apr 07 2022
4

Great instrumentation on most of the songs, the pedal steel countrified psychedelics, and I can listen to McGuinn play a Rickenbacker 12 all day long. Plus the harmonies! On the other hand, the stereophonic effects are bit much, but I guess a bit novel for the time or thought to contribute to mind expansion, using what I imagine were the terms in the day. There are couple misses. Moog Raga should have been cut and not used up precious studio time and recording tape.

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Sun Apr 10 2022
4

I’m surprised there are this many Byrds albums on here, but I guess I’ve found them all pretty enjoyable I mean Sweetheart of the Rodeo was probably the most obnoxious but I think all the ones I’ve heard had something I liked anyway this gets an 8/10 from me the songs (I think there were multiple?) that used 5/4 were really impressive and sounded surprisingly good

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Sun Apr 10 2022
4

Oh yeah, I like this. Great use of brass on the opening track, getting Beatles vibes. Absolutely love "I wasn't born to follow"! I knew it from Easy Rider, pleasantly surprised to hear it here.

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Mon May 02 2022
4

A delightful album full of quality tracks from the folk rock era with some new instrument experimentation going on as well (but you can keep the awful Space Odyssey).

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Wed May 11 2022
4

As usual, The Byrds have produced a soft and well-crafted album, which has the effect of a sunny day where it is good to live peacefully. I love their vibe and would be ready to listen to them at any time.

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Wed May 11 2022
4

Love the fact that hey put exotic instrument and psych sound into a more mainstream ablum. Pioneer of the genre. Great folk song as well. I Always enjoy The Byrds.

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Wed May 11 2022
4

Sunny album for a sunny day. Great folk rock bangers in this one, I really enjoyed it!

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Wed May 11 2022
4

The Byrds are the kind of band that I like but from which there's no albums I'm totally crazy about. This one's a good example, extremely pleasant and a really nice transition from their more psychedelic first years, but in the end nothing from it will really stick with me. I'll be really glad every time I hear it, but it won't become a personal classic.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

Don't think I've heard any of these tunes...but they all sound really nice. I need more Byrds in my life.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

Winsome, groovy and trippy (maybe to a fault with “Space Odyssey” and the uber-outre “Moog Raga” on the expanded version). Such a great brand that went from strength to strength during these years, despite turmoil. This album holds up excellently well and their influence shines through.

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Thu May 19 2022
4

Music was very good. The singing matched the noises and it was pretty ok. Sounded like Beatles vibes

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Thu Jul 14 2022
4

Really liked it Good production Very similar to the Beatles

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Wed Jul 20 2022
4

This was a pretty wild and fun album

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Wed Jul 20 2022
4

If you don't like this album don't worry you aren't weird and if you do like it don't worry you aren't weird. They certainly threw all sorts of musical styles, sounds, and instruments at this album its a mix of folk, country, electronic and pop and more yet it somehow works. Overall, this album covers subjects like nature, peace, love, war, and drugs this album could have been written and recorded last week as to how relevant it still feels on much of that subject matter. The track titled Draft Morning is a stark historical reminder of the draft and the never-ending war machine continually churning out casualties of war and conflict all in the name of profits and a stark reminder of the Vietnam war and in the historical context of 2022 the nearly unbroken half a century of war and conflict we as a nation have been involved in and how seemingly normal and a part of everyday life it's become. A handful of songs later you'll come across "Tribal Gathering" this song touches on tribalism and groupthink and then a few more songs later you get a track like "Space Odyssey" it's weird and odd and just plain out there it's truly spectacular I can't imagine how it might have been received in the late 60s early 70s.

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Fri Jul 29 2022
4

The last track on spotify - 13+ minutes. - of them arguing with each other about the song is pretty funny. fits with the wiki article about their arguments when creating this album

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Sun Aug 07 2022
4

Lovely, tuneful, thoroughly of its era but I enjoyed it a lot.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
4

Nice. Some great harmonies, and I like the trippiness of some of the songs. Favorites: Natural Harmony, Wasn't Born to Follow, Get to You, and Bound to Fall (instrumental).

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Fri Sep 02 2022
4

Fairly experimental folk, which is quite a fun sonic experience. However, there were a few moments on the album that were a little samey for my tastes.

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Sun Sep 04 2022
4

Les melodies gairebé perfectes i les cançons per conservar durant décades continuaven sortint a dojo en el cinquè disc de la banda. Crosby ja estava de retirada, però les seves aportacions i les de la resta del grup fan del treball el favorit de molts. El toc hippie i antibèlic de la majoria de lletres encara li dona una pàtina més nostàlgica i atractiva

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