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The Byrds speak on

Dr. Byrds and Mr. Hyde



John York - Bill Wasserzieher 1993

I had met Roger before when I was in the Quintet (Sir Douglas Quintet) and I liked him. His business manager, Larry Spector, was a friend of mine and had asked me to join the Byrds when David left. At the time I said no, and when they asked me a second time after Chris left I said yes. Plus I had been playing with Clarence and being with him was like being in the presence of a master. I knew I could learn from him and from Roger. They both had such musical integrity.

That ('Dr.Byrds And Mr.Hyde') was the first thing we did. I had been in the band 2 weeks. Roger was also working on the soundtrack to the film 'Candy', and I wrote one of the songs for the movie with him. But they didn't use it - they wanted something with Dave Grusin - but it got on the Byrds album instead.

'B.J.Blues' is just a bridge we all worked out on the medley to show where the Byrds were headed at the time, connecting Dylan's 'My Back Pages' to Jimmy Reed's 'Baby What You Want Me To Do'. It was part of our live gigs too. We wanted to show people that this version of the Byrds could play.

(Working with Roger McGuinn, Clarence White and Gene Parsons) was wonderful.We all brought something to the mix. Roger with his folk background, Clarence and Gene from bluegrass, and me with blues and r&b. I learned so much, especially from Clarence and Gene. Roger would usually turn in first and Clarence and Gene would teach me gospel songs. We'd be out in the stairwell of some hotel at 4 in the morning, and they'd have me singing one part with them laying their parts on top. You get great echoes in stairwells.

We had been really unhappy with how 'Dr.Byrds' had come out. Bob Johnson had been fun to work with but what he did to the tapes was terrible. He mixed us like a country band. You couldn't hear Roger's guitar. It was buried in the mix. We were really proud of the version we did of 'Lay Lady Lay' but the gospel singers he added were unnecessary.

Roger McGuinn - Vincent Flanders 1969

Well, it (Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde) really wasn't as good an album - musically. At least Sweetheart had some integrity whereas Dr. Byrds was a more or less contrived departure. I'm not too happy with that one. That doesn't mean you should stop listening to it if you have it. An artist should never be satisfied with his own work anyway. I can't really say that I'm satisfied with anything we've ever done. I can find holes in anything we've ever done - which is a healthy symptom, I think.

I like This Wheel's On Fire and that song at the end - the Jimmy Reed song called Baby What You Want Me To Do. There were a couple of other songs I really liked.