Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Compare and Contrast: Speaking of Gorgeous

From 1965, and what remains one of the most perfect debut albums in rock history, please enjoy The Byrds and the hauntingly lovely "Here Without You."

And from the 1989 Byrds tribute album Time Between, here's the incomparable Richard Thompson, with his then touring band partners Clive Gregson and Christine Collister, and their more or less unplugged cover version.

The song, of course, is by the Byrds' rather tragic Gene Clark, and I think on balance it's the most beautiful thing he ever wrote. I say this knowing full well, of course, that his more celebrated "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" is also on the same album. In any case, Thompson and company's version suffers in comparison with the angelic choirboy harmonies on the Byrds original, but I think it does the song justice nonetheless.


steve simels said...

Note to self: Icelandic volcano ash cloud seemingly rendered ancient Byrds tracks less popular with readers than hoped.

TMink said...

Good harmonies in both, but those Byrd harmonies are really special. I think anything that David Crosby sang harmonies on is usually killer. The man has this gift for harmony, he often sings counter melodies.

But Richard is no slouch when he does a cover.


Anonymous said...

If you get the chance, take a listen to the version by Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey from the Mavericks album. It's pretty good. Thanks for posting the Richard Thompson version. I like it. You do a good job on this site. You've introduced me to a few new things. It's always fun to learn new things. Thanks again.

TMink said...

Anon, I have that album and I cannot recall their version! I can do that tonight on the ride home from work. Thanks for reminding me.

Trey - who loves H and S.

Unknown said...

I was going to mention Holsapple/Stamey version but how 'bout a plug for "Mr. Tambourine Man: The life and legacy of the Byrds' Gene Clark" by John Einerson. Pretty glum at the end (natch) but a great book.

Douglas Watts said...

Great pick, Steve.

In the late 70s, Columbia re-released the first two Byrds albums as a double set for about eight bucks so I bought it and became a huge Gene Clark fan.

But what strikes me here is how loud and present Chris Hillman's bass is, which I believe is a Rickenbacker, and how it drives the song. For 1965 it was very unusual to have a bass this dominant in a recording since engineers tended to roll off the bass pretty hard because they were afraid it would make the record skip. I read in a production mag that the Beatles practically beat their engineers with a stick to make McCartney's bass louder and finally succeeded.