Sweetheart of the Rodeo | The Byrds | 1968 | Colombia | #352
Swinging in the opposite direction to yesterday’s album of the same year, which left me pumped for the concept of counter-cultural ideals mercilessly demanding a shift in how music should be produced and consumed, comes this easy-listening, easily-digestible procession of country & western. This list obviously wasn’t designed to be listened to sequentially; teasing contradicting emotions out of me and not allowing me to settle on them for more than 24 hours. My scrobble list definitely has a schizophrenic characteristic to it now – thankfully my day job doesn’t require me to work with people much.
This is all-out twangy, pedal-guitar, simple country & western rock. It isn’t supposed to be cool (and it really isn’t), but there’s a haunting, melancholy beauty to it at times. Especially felt in “You Don’t Miss Your Water” with its sombre harmonies and heartbroken lyrics. Calling it a “highlight” is generous – more like the rest of the album recedes into the consistent canvas of no-thrills country rock and this one remains as the track which just about made me feel something.
I suppose you’ve got to respect the dedication and sincerity with which The Byrds went all out country rock on this one – I think it was a bit of a turn for them. It didn’t inspire me to return to my cattle-herdin’ ranch days, nor is it technically amazing, but it didn’t offend me and is probably decent education for learning where those later, insipid Americana artists would draw inspiration from.
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Love reading your reviews Ryan, you take the reader on your listening journey x