on 1 May 2005
I remember Penny Valentine in Disc and Music Echo writing of the original vinyl release "the Byrds are back with a sound as warm and as creamy as sunflowers" and thats just how it sounds to me....the original beautifully clean clear production has been greatly enhanced by this remaster and the addition of some excellent bonus tracks makes one of the great albums of the 60`s even more desirable...1967 produced a lot of outstanding records but this one shone like a beacon.... as George Harrison remarked "i feel sorry for the people who didn`t buy it!"
on 14 February 2007
The departure of singer-songwriter, fear of flying victim, Gene Clark from The Byrds' ranks and a reluctance to rely on Bob Dylan material had coincided with a blossoming of the composing skills of Roger McGuinn and David Crosby shown on the group's previous outing "Fifth Dimension". This was a strong collection and it boded well for the sustained future of the band, despite the loss of a key member. This next album, "Younger Than Yesterday" did not disappoint, in fact this ever-evolving unit pushed on boldly to pastures new, continuing to innovate and broaden their musical horizons. It turned out to be the finest hour of this incarnation of The Byrds (McQuinn, Crosby, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke) and one of the best records of it's era.
Roger McGuinn continued to contribute songs, collaborating with David Crosby as well as with bass player Hillman and also with his fellow science fiction fancier Bob `R J' Hippard. This latter partnership produced the novelty "CTA-102", one in the series of `space rock' songs. McGuinn and Crosby gave us "Why" (a left-over song from the previous album, albeit re-recorded) and "Renaissance Fair" (which was obviously more to do with David than Roger). The McGuinn/Hillman team produced the hit single, the most well-known track here, "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star". This was a comment on the manufactured-for-television group, The Monkees, and was complete with dubbed on screaming girls, recorded during The Byrds 1965 British tour.
It was, however, the solo writing offerings from Crosby and from Hillman that are of special note, for very different reasons. David Crosby had become the most adventurous song smith by far, both with his melodies and chordal structures in addition to his poetic lyrics. Songs seemed to be bursting out of him at this point and it was becoming a struggle for him to get them fair inclusion. On this album he managed to get the superb jazz-flavoured torch song "Everybody's Been Burned" in place along with the maligned "Mind Gardens", a puzzling proposition, ridiculed by some. It now appears a brave piece, David's cool clear tenor voice over Roger's backwards twelve-string. The avant garde caught us off guard, as indeed it should.
Such was Crosby's output that a further two great compositions were excluded from the original LP. These were "Lady Friend" which was issued as a (flop) single probably only remembered by the faithful, and the startling "It Happens Each Day" which had to lay dormant for over twenty years. Both are found as bonus cuts on this reissue. (Another song "Triad", to be found as an extra track on the next of this essential series, "The Notorious Byrd Brothers", with a controversial message of sexual liberation, convenient legend had it, was deemed a step too far and was a significant factor in David's dismissal from the group.)
The rise of Chris Hillman's songwriting ability was the big surprise here. Not previously credited as a composer (except on the funky instrumental group jam "Captain Soul" - presumably the riff was his) he brought forth no less than four fine efforts. These included his impressive debut "Time Between" (a hint of country things to come with "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" and later, The Flying Burrito Brothers) and arguably his finest solo composition, "Thoughts And Words".
Vocally, this Byrds were stronger than ever. Three part harmony of McGuinn, Crosby and now Hillman present and correct and all three taking expressive, passionate leads. Michael Clarke had become a more than competent, straight ahead drummer and Chris Hillman's bass playing was evermore melodic and innovative while always anchoring proceedings. Crosby and McGuinn's guitar interplay was at a zenith, the former being THE rhythm guitarist and the latter keeping on his twelve-string jingle-jangle magic in addition to summoning up inventive solos especially on Chris` "Have You Seen Her Face" (playing Crosby's six-string) and on David's "Everybody's Been Burned"(a special spine-chiller, underpinned by springy, growling bass).
Roger's guitar raga's out on "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star" and is glorious on the one none-Byrds composition, the solitary nod back to Bob Dylan, a creditable reading of Mr Zimmerman's goodbye to protest, "My Back Pages". Here, the group (especially McGuinn) show themselves yet again to be most worthy interpreters of Dylan. Think on, the list of artists whose cover versions of Bob Dylan songs have really ever added to, or `bettered' the original is short. The Byrds, The Band, Jimi Hendrix. After them, we're struggling. Nobody does Dylan like Dylan (as the ancient publicity claimed) except maybe a select chosen few.
A couple of notable guest musicians add to the excellence on show. Wizard bluegrass-rooted guitarist Clarence White, destined to become a full-time Byrd himself in the near future, provides his unique brand of electric string-bending on "Time Between"; while jazzer Hugh Masekela adds meandering trumpet power to the mix on "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star".
This is a highly recommended album from 1967. This high flying Byrds at their peak with a mind-boggling variety of top-notch songs executed in grand style. What we have here is remarkably energetic music that never tires. Music for yesterday, today and tomorrow.
on 25 September 2008
I've had copies of this album since the first month it came out.. in mono vinyl, stereo vinyl (several times), and most of the CDs that have come out here and in the US. In fact I have collected all of their material since the first album arrived back in 1965.
The Byrds were so lucky that all of their incarnations brought forward new challenges, and with Jim/Roger at the helm they always delivered, right up the the last recording lineup with Skip, Gene and Clarence. Every lineup was masterful, although the final lineup was the one that was so powerful live (I'm a great Clarence White fan).
Coming back to Younger Than Yesterday, it was (and still is) a groundbreaking album, with so many new ideas and effects that it stood apart from all of its excellent predecessors. I can only comment on one guy here who gave it 1 star as he believed that the remastering made many of the lead guitar parts too quiet. I can't say that I've ever noticed that, he based his comments on vinyl (I think), so maybe he was relating it to the mono version - the twelve string lead guitar on "Everybody's been burned" was re-recorded for the stereo version and to my ears isn't as good..? Else I can't hear any difference with all the versions that I've grown up with (and this is merely a remaster not a reMIX).
This is a great album, go buy... as I would say to ANY Byrds album!
1967 was a vintage year for pop music and this album, one of the finest Byrds albums, reinforces my belief about just how much great music was released in that year, although all the tracks were actually recorded in 1966.. It was not especially successful at the time of its release, failing to make the top twenty of the American album charts, but it has aged well and may be better appreciated now than in 1967.
The album is notable for the emergence of Chris Hillman as a songwriter as well as great songs written or co-written by Roger McGuinn and David Crosby. The other notable feature is that this was the last album before the group went through a period of high staff turnover. Four of the original five were together for this album, the only absentee being Gene Clark. David Crosby was to depart during the recording of the next album after this and others followed later.
The album opens with So you want to be a rock'n'roll star (about the Monkees, whose music has stood the test of time, confounding their critics) - this song was a top thirty hit in America. It was the only hit although another single (Have you seen her) was released, which is probably why the album was not originally very successful.
Bob Dylan only contributed one song (My back pages) although two versions of it are included here. The other songs were all written or co-written by members of the Byrds. Of the remaining songs, I particularly like Everybody's been burned, Renaissance fair, Time between and Lady friend, but this is a great album from start to finish.
If you enjoy their music enough to want more than just a hits collection, this is a good place to start collecting their original albums.
on 23 February 2009
Many people nominate "Notorious Byrd Bros." as the best Byrds album (even, I read recently, Chris Hillman - strangely, considering his influence here). Personally, I prefer this, always a favourite - one of my most played vinyl records ever, in fact - & now sounding better than ever.
Gary Usher deserves much credit for an impeccable production. Also, Chris Hillman, whose bass-playing just two years previously was considered so inadequate, a session player had to be hired for "Mr Tamborine Man." Here, it is outstanding throughout. As for his songwriting, to me, his contribution (4 & a half songs) forms the backbone of the album.
Negative comments? Dare I mention "Mind gardens?" No, perhaps the less said the better...
With six reasonably enjoyable bonus tracks & extensive sleeve-notes (though no lyrics), this is an excellent buy, capturing a band at the very peak of their powers, in the summmer of love.
P.S. To the reviewer who felt the lead guitar was practically inaudible on "My back pages" & other tracks, I honestly do not notice any difference from previous pressings.
on 6 June 2003
Recorded in late 1966, released in early 1967 and totally swamped beneath the "Summer Of Love" praise heaped on "Sgt. Pepper" and the first commercially successful albums from the "new wave" of West Coast groups, "Younger Than Yesterday" deserved, and still deserves, much more critical acclaim.
This is quite simply one of the very best and most cohesive records from a period of profound musical change. With the exception of David Crosby's rambling hippy talk on "Mind Gardens" and the bizarre "alien speak" at the end of "CTA 102", every song is tightly structured, superbly played and infused with the sheer enthusiasm of the mid 60's music scene. Driven along by "Roger" McGuinn's increasingly innovative use of the 12 string guitar and Chris Hillman's "lead guitar" bass, the group's highly distinctive arrangements provide a solid backdrop for their exquisitely controlled harmonies, and... over 30 years later... "So You Want to be a Rock & Roll Star", "My Back Pages", "Everybody's Been Burned" and "Renaissance Fair" (with its jazz based structure, ecstatic lyrics and superb bass lines) still stand out as quite wonderful music.
And, unlike many "remastered" editions, several of the bonus tracks add genuine value. Crosby's "It Happens Each Day" (partially re-worked since its original recording) is equally as good as, and totally compatible with the other tracks on the album and raises the question of why it, rather than his messy "Mind Gardens", wasn't included. "Lady Friend" - one of the best Crosby/Byrds tracks ever produced - is rescued from its previous life as a largely forgotten single even though it in fact comes from the sessions for "The Notorious Byrd Brothers" and "Don't Make Waves", the simple but catchy B side to "Lady Friend", gets a further outing.
As good as anything released in 1967 and a great deal better than most of the records that received considerably more attention at the time, "Younger Than Yesterday" and its flawed but brilliant successor - "The Notorious Byrd Brothers" - capture innovative, harmony based West Coast music at its creative peak.
The first Byrds album I bought is still my favourite. With Gene Clark gone, it probably seemed that they would struggle to write good songs, but the three remaining guitarists proved otherwise. David Crosby contributed the intense, smouldering 'Everybody's Been Burned', with an unforgettable, descending 'fire' riff. This is one of the best tracks recorded by anyone during the 1960s. Sadly, his trippy-folk 'Mind Gardens' experiment is a failure, but the rest of the album is superb. As was becoming de rigeur, the band used snippets of background noise, taped crowds, loops, reversed tapes and electronic effects to dramatise and colour some of the songs. The droll hit, 'So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star' and 'CTA 102' are the most obvious beneficiaries of this, though the songs are good in their own right. 'Have You Seen Face', which recalls The Beatles and the Chris Hillman's sturdy country rocker, 'Time Between', definitely need nor have such embellishment. 'Renaissance Fair' fits the popular image of the era ('I think that maybe I'm dreaming'), a lovely little song that I first heard by a New Zealand band called 'The Human Instinct'.
On side two of the original LP are three fine self-penned songs, of which the best is the hectoring 'Thoughts And Words', plus the aforementioned 'Mind Gardens' and the obligatory Dylan song, a fine version of 'My Back Pages'. There are two or three good songs among the six bonus tracks, but the original album is worth the money alone.
on 8 February 2003
"Younger Than Yesterday" stands up as the second best album the Byrds put out after their debut effort, "Mr. Tambourine Man." The main reason this 1967 album, their fourth, is so strong is that the songwriting of the group's members are at their peak at this point, especially Chris Hillman, who co-wrote "So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star" with Roger McGuinn, and penned "Have You Seen Her Face," "Time Between," and "The Girl With No Name" by himself. David Cosby wrote what is still his best song ever with "Everybody's Been Burned," although his second best song on this album is the bonus track "Lady Friend." "Renaissance Fair" is a nice little anthem for the flower children of the Sixties. Then throw into the mix "My Back Pages," the last of the Byrds classy covers of Bob Dylan songs, and you have a classic blend of folk-rock, country-rock, and psychedelia (i.e., a quintessential Byrds album). Just reissuing "Younger Than Yesterday" would be enough to earn the album five stars but the six bonus tracks include some very alternate recordings of "Mind Gardens" and "My Back Pages." Between 1965 and 1968 the Byrds put out six solid albums, a stretch of excellent surpassed only by the Beatles. A serious music collection representing the Sixties should have all six of these CDs and not stop with the Bryds' greatest hit collection.
on 20 October 2000
In life's ups and downs, you can always reach for the CD stack and find an album to capture the mood of the moment. Younger Than Yesterday by the Byrds is one of those rare works which seems to fit every occasion. Whatever your circumstances the album always feels and sounds right. Kicking off with So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star - written to parody the early tv shows by the Monkees - more gems quickly follow. Have You Seen Her Face is a beautiful song, full of catchy harmonies. Everybody's Been Burned has an eerie foreboding, and Thoughts and Words adds a mystical touch, with sublime changes of speed and back play. And it goes on - Renaissance Fair, Time Between, Mind Gardens - all are charming, well crafted, influential songs. But the highlight is My Back Pages, the Bob Dylan track the Byrds have made their own. It's like a free kick by a Brazilian number 9. A winner. Younger Than Yesterday is a forgotten classic. It exists in the world of second hand record shops and discount music sales in church halls, known only to Byrds fans and chance buyers. It takes you from where you are to a finer, groovier place. Sounding ever refreshing and contemporary, playing it is always time well spent.
on 18 March 2008
Sorry to add a note of caution. I'm a huge fan of this record and was looking forward to a CD copy rather than my battering old vinyl LP. I've played it on three different CD players now (all of them fairly high-quality players), but it still sounds truly terrible: in the remastering, they've somehow remixed McGuinn's twelve-string lead guitar right back, so far that it's barely audible, even on eg My Back Pages and Everybody's Been Burned, where the guitar part is the main hook. In other tracks the lead guitar disappears entirely for some bars, then faintly remerges behind the bass. Maybe I've just bought a dud pressing, but I don't think so, with the vocal tracks etc sounding crystal-clear. Be warned!