This debut album features Jim (Roger) McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke. The line-up of the Byrds changed regularly but some of these musicians also achieved success with other groups, too numerous to mention here. The style is generally described as folk-rock, but there is more to it than that.
The title track of this album was their first and biggest hit, going all the way to number one on both sides of the Atlantic. The follow-up, All I really want to do, was also a massive hit despite having to compete with a version of the same song by Cher. Both versions of the song made the UK top ten, though the Byrds' version charted higher. The single version of All I really want to do differed from the original album version, but both are included in this set.
The two hits are from the songbook of Bob Dylan, one of the finest songwriters of his generation. The Byrds recorded many of his songs during their career. This album contains two other Dylan songs, Chimes of freedom and Spanish Harlem incident. Don't doubt yourself babe is a song by Jackie De Shannon, another excellent songwriter, who was one of the first music professionals to recognize the Byrds' talent. The bells of Rhymney (about a Welsh mining disaster) is a cover of a song that Pete Seeger based on an Idris Davies poem. The most surprising inclusion is We'll meet again is the signature tune of Dame Vera Lynn, the British forces' sweetheart of World war two. Apparently, the song was featured at the end of the move, Dr Strangelove, and it was this that brought the song to their attention. Gene Clark wrote all the remaining songs here, often with the help of Roger McGuinn.
This was a fine album in its original form. The excellent bonus tracks make it more desirable than ever to anybody who enjoys sixties pop, rock and folk music.