Clarence White

Clarence White (born Clarence Joseph LeBlanc; June 7, 1944 – July 15, 1973[1]), was an American bluegrass and country guitarist and singer.[2][3] He is best known as a member of the bluegrass ensemble the Kentucky Colonels and the rock band the Byrds, as well as for being a pioneer of the musical genre of country rock during the late 1960s.[3]

White also worked extensively as a session musician, appearing on recordings by the Everly Brothers, Joe Cocker,[4] Ricky Nelson, Pat Boone, the Monkees, Randy Newman,[5] Gene Clark,[3] Linda Ronstadt,[6] Arlo Guthrie,[7] and Jackson Browne amongst others.[8] Together with frequent collaborator Gene Parsons, he invented the B-Bender, a guitar accessory that enables a player to mechanically bend the B-string up a whole tone and emulate the sound of a pedal steel guitar. White was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

Clarence White
Clarence White01
Background information
Birth nameClarence Joseph LeBlanc
BornJune 7, 1944
Lewiston, Maine, U.S.
DiedJuly 15, 1973 (aged 29)[1]
Palmdale, California, U.S.
GenresBluegrass, country, country rock, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer
InstrumentsGuitar, mandolin, vocals
Years active1954–1973
LabelsSundown, Republic, Briar International, World Pacific, Bakersfield International, Columbia, Warner Bros.
Associated actsThree Little Country Boys, The Country Boys, The Kentucky Colonels, Trio, Nashville West, The Roustabouts, The Byrds, Muleskinner

Early years

Clarence Joseph LeBlanc was born on June 7, 1944 in Lewiston, Maine.[6] The LeBlanc family, who later changed their surname to White, were of French-Canadian ancestry and hailed from New Brunswick, Canada.[6][9] Clarence's father, Eric LeBlanc, Sr., played guitar, banjo, fiddle, and harmonica, ensuring that his offspring grew up surrounded by music.[6][9] A child prodigy, Clarence began playing guitar at the age of six.[10] At such a young age he was barely able to hold the instrument and as a result, he briefly switched to ukulele, awaiting a time when his young hands would be big enough to confidently grapple with the guitar.[5]

In 1954, when Clarence was ten, the White family relocated to Burbank, California and soon after, Clarence joined his brothers Roland and Eric Jr. (who played mandolin and banjo respectively) in a trio called Three Little Country Boys.[2] Although they initially started out playing contemporary country music, the group soon switched to a purely bluegrass repertoire, as a result of Roland's burgeoning interest in the genre.[6]

In 1957, banjoist Billy Ray Latham and Dobro player LeRoy Mack were added to the line-up,[5] with the band renaming themselves the Country Boys soon after.[2] In 1961, the Country Boys also added Roger Bush on double bass, as a replacement for Eric White, Jr.[2] That same year, Clarence and other members of the Country Boys appeared on two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.[2] Between 1959 and 1962, the group released three singles on the Sundown, Republic and Briar International record labels.[11]

The Kentucky Colonels

Following the recording sessions for the Country Boys' debut album, the band changed its name to the Kentucky Colonels in September 1962, at the suggestion of country guitarist and friend Joe Maphis.[2] The band's album was released by Briar International under the title The New Sound of Bluegrass America in early 1963.[12]

Around this time, Clarence's flatpicking guitar style was becoming a much more prominent part of the group's music.[6] After attending a performance by Doc Watson at the Ash Grove folk club in Los Angeles, where he also met the guitarist, Clarence began to explore the possibilities of the acoustic guitar's role in bluegrass music.[6] At that time, the guitar was largely regarded as a rhythm instrument in bluegrass, with only a few performers, such as Doc Watson, exploring its potential for soloing.[6] White soon began to integrate elements of Watson's playing style, including the use of open strings and syncopation, into his own flatpicking guitar technique.[9] His breathtaking speed and virtuosity on the instrument[12] was largely responsible for making the guitar a lead instrument within bluegrass.[13]

The Kentucky Colonels became well known on the bluegrass circuit during this period and made many live appearances throughout California and the United States.[2] Between bookings with the Colonels, White also made a guest appearance on Eric Weissberg and Marshall Brickman's New Dimensions in Banjo & Bluegrass album, which would be re-released in 1973 as the soundtrack album to the film Deliverance (with Weissberg and Steve Mandell's version of "Dueling Banjos" added to the album's track listing).[9][14]

Throughout 1964, the Colonels continued to make live appearances at various clubs, concert halls and festivals,[2] as well as recruiting fiddle player Bobby Sloan into their ranks.[2] The Colonels' second album, Appalachian Swing!,[12] was a commercial success and saw White's flatpicking permanently expand the language of bluegrass guitar.[15] Music critic Thom Owens has remarked that White's playing on the album, "helped pioneer a new style in bluegrass; namely, he redefined the acoustic guitar as a solo instrument."[16]

Shortly after the recording of the Appalachian Swing! album, Roland and Clarence undertook some session work backing dobroist Tut Taylor on a Dobro-themed album that was released by World Pacific in late 1964 as Dobro Country.[9] Although the brothers were employed as session musicians, the album was credited to Tut Taylor, Roland and Clarence White upon release.[9]

Although they were a successful recording act, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the Colonels to make a living, due to the waning popularity of the American folk music revival due to the British Invasion and homegrown folk rock acts, such as the Byrds and Bob Dylan.[9] As a result, the Colonels switched to electric instrumentation[9] and hired a drummer.[17] In spite of these changes, the Kentucky Colonels dissolved as a band following a show on October 31, 1965.[12] Clarence, Roland and Eric Jr. formed a new line-up of the Colonels in 1966, with several other musicians, but this second version of the group was short-lived and by early 1967 they had broken up.[18]

Session work (1966–1968)

During 1964, White began to look beyond bluegrass music towards rock 'n' roll as an avenue for artistic expression.[5] Although he was influenced by Country guitarists like Doc Watson, Don Reno and Joe Maphis, he also idolized the playing of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, rock 'n' roller Chuck Berry, and studio musician James Burton.[18] White even anticipated the viability of a folk/rock hybrid when, in the summer of 1964, he was approached by Jim Dickson to record a version of the then-unreleased Bob Dylan song "Mr. Tambourine Man" with electric instruments.[5] However, despite White's enthusiasm for the project, he was unable to convince his bandmates in the Kentucky Colonels of the experiment's validity[5] and ultimately, the song was instead recorded by Dickson's proteges, the Byrds.[19]

By the time the original line-up of the Kentucky Colonels folded in late 1965, White had become a respected and well-known guitarist.[5] Abandoning bluegrass temporarily, he switched from his Martin D-28 acoustic guitar to an electric Fender Telecaster, with the intention of becoming a studio musician like his hero James Burton.[4] Transitioning to electric guitar required White to modify his right hand playing technique, switch from open chording to fretting the whole guitar neck with his left hand, and practice using the tone and volume controls.[4] However, he soon mastered the intricacies of the instrument and, between 1965 and 1968, he undertook session work for artists including Ricky Nelson, the Monkees, and the Gosdin Brothers.[5][18]

As 1965 turned into 1966, White met Gene Parsons and Gib Guilbeau at a recording session for the Gosdin Brothers and shortly after, he began to perform live with the duo in local California clubs, as well as doing regular session work on their records, which were released under the moniker of Cajun Gib and Gene.[3][18] 1966 also saw White begin playing with a country group called Trio, which featured drummer Bart Haney and former Kentucky Colonel, Roger Bush, on bass.[18] In autumn of that year, as a result of his friendship with Gilbeau, Parsons and the Gosdin Brothers, White was asked to provide lead guitar to ex-Byrd Gene Clark's debut solo album, Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers.[3][20] White briefly joined Clark's touring band shortly thereafter.[21]

During the Clark album sessions, White reconnected with mandolin player and bassist Chris Hillman, who he had known during the early 1960s as a member of the bluegrass combo the Hillmen.[22] Hillman was currently a member of the Byrds and, in December 1966, he invited White to contribute countrified lead guitar playing to his songs "Time Between" and "The Girl with No Name", which both appeared on the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday album.[22] The country-oriented nature of the songs was something of a stylistic departure for the group and can be seen as an early indicator of the experimentation with country music that would color the Byrds' subsequent work.[23] White also contributed guitar to the band's follow-up album, The Notorious Byrd Brothers,[24] and to their seminal 1968 country rock release, Sweetheart of the Rodeo.[25]

Nashville West

By mid-1967, White had begun performing at night in the band the Reasons (a.k.a. Nashville West), which included bass player Wayne Moore, along with Parsons and Guilbeau (as banjoist-turned-drummer and lead singer respectively).[26] The band mostly worked at the Nashville West club in El Monte, California, frequently borrowing the club's name as their own.[26] Critic Erik Hage has said that, in the years since their formation, the band have become legendary as one of the first to play a seamless blend of country and rock,[25] although L.A. group the International Submarine Band, which featured country rock pioneer Gram Parsons (no relation to Gene), were also exploring a similar sound concurrently.[27]

A live recording of Nashville West would eventually be released in 1979,[12] which music historian Richie Unterberger later described as being "of considerable historical interest for anyone interested in the roots of country-rock".[28] Unterberger also remarked that the recording illustrated Nashville West as having "more electric rock influences than most country acts were using at the time."[3] In addition to being a member of Nashville West, White was also a member of another country bar band that regularly played at the Nashville West club called the Roustabouts.[4]

In July 1967, White signed with Gary Paxton's Bakersfield International record label and released a pair of solo singles: "Tango for a Sad Mood" b/w "Tuff and Stringy" and "Grandma Funderbunks Music Box" b/w "Riff Raff".[11][26] He also reportedly recorded a solo album for the label, although it has never been released.[3]

The StringBender

1968 Parsons Bender fig 2-3-4
A schematic of the first Parsons/White StringBender (a.k.a. the B-Bender)

During 1967, while they were both members of Nashville West, White and Parsons invented a device that enabled Clarence to simulate the sound of a pedal steel guitar on his 1954 Fender Telecaster.[29] The need for such a device was driven by White's desire to bend his guitar's B-string up a full tone, while keeping his left hand on the strings and fretboard.[30] In order to achieve this feat, White felt that he needed a third hand.[29] The guitarist turned to his friend Parsons, who was an amateur machinist, and asked him to design and build an apparatus to pull or drop the B-string.[29]

The device, which was known as the Parsons/White StringBender (also known as the B-Bender), was a spring-lever mechanism built into the inside of White's guitar, which linked to the guitar's strap button and the B-string.[6][30] When it was activated, by pulling down on the guitar neck, it pulled on the B-string and caused the guitar to simulate the "crying" sound of a pedal steel.[6] White would go on to use the device extensively as a member of the Byrds and, as a result, the distinctive sound of the StringBender would become a defining characteristic of that band's music during White's tenure with the group.[31]

The Byrds

Following the abrupt departure from the Byrds of singer and guitarist Gram Parsons in July 1968,[32] White was invited to join the group as a full-time member, remaining until the band was finally dissolved by lead guitarist Roger McGuinn in February 1973. This extended tenure with the band makes White the second longest-serving member of the Byrds after McGuinn.[33] White was brought into the group at bass player Chris Hillman's suggestion, as someone who could handle the band's older rock material and their newer country-flavored repertoire.[34]

Once he was a member of the Byrds, White began to express dissatisfaction with the band's current drummer, Kevin Kelley.[35] Before long, he had persuaded McGuinn and Hillman to replace Kelley with his friend from the recently dissolved Nashville West, Gene Parsons (no relation to Gram).[35]

Hillman quit the Byrds within a month of White joining, in order to form the Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons.[36] At around this same time, White and Gene Parsons undertook some informal rehearsing and recording with Hillman and Gram Parsons, as part of a prototype version of the Burrito Brothers.[37] However, the pair declined an invitation to join the new country rock group and instead opted to stay with McGuinn's new-look Byrds.[37]

The White-era version of the Byrds, featuring McGuinn, White and Parsons, along with bassists John York (September 1968–September 1969) and Skip Battin (September 1969–February 1973), released five albums and toured relentlessly between 1969 and 1972. Journalist Steve Leggett has noted that, although the original line-up of the Byrds gets the most attention and praise, the latter-day version, featuring McGuinn and White's dual lead guitar work, was regarded by critics and audiences as much more accomplished in concert than any previous configuration of the band had been.[38] Similarly, authors Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz have commented that although the White-era Byrds failed to achieve the commercial success of the original line-up, the group were a formidable live act and a consistently in-demand attraction on the touring circuit.[37] The authors also cited the Byrds' archival release Live at the Fillmore – February 1969 as a good example of the White-era band's musical potency.[37] Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke has commented on White's contribution to the band, by noting, "with his powerful, impeccable tone and melodic ingenuity, White did much to rebuild the creative reputation of the Byrds and define the road-hearty sound of the group at the turn of the '70s."[39]

The first Byrds' album to feature White as a full member was Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde, which was released in early 1969.[40] The album included a re-recording of the Parsons and White-penned instrumental "Nashville West",[40] as well as a rendition of the traditional song "Old Blue", which was the first Byrds' recording to utilize the StringBender.[41] The Ballad of Easy Rider album followed in November 1969, on which White could be heard leading the band through a rendition of the traditional song "Oil in My Lamp", representing the guitarist's first lead vocal performance as a Byrd.[42]

1970 saw the Byrds release the double album (Untitled), which consisted of one LP of live concert recordings and another of new studio recordings.[43] Upon release, the album was a critical and commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic,[44] peaking at number 40 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and reaching number 11 on the UK Albums Chart.[45][46] Two of the album's studio recordings featured White singing lead vocals: a cover version of the Lowell George composition "Truck Stop Girl" and a rendition of Leadbelly's "Take a Whiff on Me" (the latter also featured White playing mandolin).[47] In addition, excerpts from an instrumental jam, recorded during the (Untitled) album sessions and logged in the Columbia Records' files under the title of "Fifteen Minute Jam", were later released as "White's Lightning" and "White's Lightning Pt.2" on The Byrds box set and the remastered double CD version of (Untitled) respectively.[48][49]

The Byrds (1970)
Clarence White (third from left) on tour with the Byrds in the Netherlands, June 1970.

The 1971 Byrdmaniax album saw White singing lead vocals on "My Destiny", written by Helen Carter,[50] and "Jamaica Say You Will", penned by the then little-known songwriter Jackson Browne.[51] In addition, White received a co-writing credit for the album's bluegrass instrumental "Green Apple Quick Step".[52] This song also featured White's father, Eric White, Sr., on harmonica.[53]

Farther Along, released in November 1971, would prove to be the final album by the White-era Byrds.[54] It featured White singing the Gospel hymn and title track "Farther Along" and a cover of the Larry Murray composition "Bugler".[54] This latter song features White playing mandolin and has been described by Byrds expert Tim Connors as, "the best song on the album, and by far the best vocal ever recorded by Clarence White during his time with the Byrds."[55]

Following the release of Farther Along, the band continued to tour throughout 1972,[56] but no new Byrds album appeared.[57] In late 1972, the original five-piece line-up of the Byrds reunited and, as a result, McGuinn decided to disband the existing version of the band. Parsons had been fired in July 1972 and Battin was dismissed by McGuinn in early 1973.[54] The last concert by the White-era version of the Byrds (which at this point featured former Byrd Chris Hillman on bass and Joe Lala on drums) was given on February 24, 1973 at The Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey, with White and McGuinn jokingly firing each other from the band afterwards.[58][59]

Despite being on tour or in the recording studio with the Byrds for the majority of the time between 1969 and 1972, White continued to undertake selected session work for other recording artists. During this period he played on Joe Cocker's 1969 album Joe Cocker!, Randy Newman's 1970 album 12 Songs, and the Everly Brothers' Stories We Could Tell from 1972.[3] In early 1971, White also contributed guitar to Paul Siebel's Jack-Knife Gypsy album and the title track of the L.A. Getaway album by Joel Scott-Hill, John Barbata and Chris Ethridge.[60] Other albums that White contributed his guitar playing to while he was a member of the Byrds include Linda Ronstadt's Hand Sown ... Home Grown (1969), Rita Coolidge's Rita Coolidge (1971), Marc Benno's Minnows (1971), Jackson Browne's Jackson Browne (1972), Gene Clark's Roadmaster (1973), and a trio of Arlo Guthrie albums: Running Down the Road (1969), Washington County (1970) and Hobo's Lullaby (1972).[34]

Post-Byrds

In mid-February 1973, just prior to the break up of the White-era version of the Byrds, White joined with guitarist Peter Rowan, mandolinist David Grisman, fiddler Richard Green, and banjoist Bill Keith to form the bluegrass supergroup Muleskinner.[62] The musicians initially assembled as a one-off pickup band to back bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe for a television program, but ended up performing on their own when Monroe's tour bus broke down on the way to the television studios.[34] A recording of this broadcast, which was once thought lost, was released as an album in 1992, under the title Muleskinner Live.[63][64] A VHS video cassette of the broadcast was also released in 1992 and later re-issued on DVD.

As a result of the success of their appearance on the television broadcast, the band was offered a one album recording contract with Warner Bros. Records.[65] Recording sessions for the album took place at the Record Plant in Los Angeles between March 27 and April 14, 1973, with Richard Greene and Joe Boyd producing.[66] The music the band recorded for the Muleskinner album (a.k.a. A Potpourri of Bluegrass Jam) was in the vein of country rock, traditional bluegrass and progressive bluegrass (or "newgrass").[67] It was also one of the first bluegrass albums to feature a full drum kit.[67] The album was released in the latter half of 1973 and is nowadays regarded by critics as a milestone in the development of progressive bluegrass, with ex-band members Greene, Keith, Grisman, and Rowan all going on to become important figures in the development of that genre.[34]

In addition to his work with Muleskinner, White also undertook a number of sessions between late 1972 and early 1973 for his friend Gene Parsons' debut solo album Kindling.[68] White's distinctive guitar and mandolin playing can be heard on the tracks "Do Not Disturb", "On the Spot", "Sonic Bummer", "I Must Be a Tree", "Banjo Dog", "Back Again", and "Drunkard's Dream" (the latter of which also features White contributing harmony vocals).[68]

Following completion of the Muleskinner album in April 1973, White reunited with his brothers Roland and Eric Jr. for a tour as the White Brothers (a.k.a. The New Kentucky Colonels).[34] After playing a handful of shows in California, the White Brothers departed for Europe in May 1973.[69]

Returning to the U.S., White's final bout of touring took place with the New Kentucky Colonels in June 1973, as part of a four-date country rock package tour with Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Country Gazette, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Gene Parsons, Byron Berline, and Chris Ethridge among others.[70] Although Gram and Clarence had been acquainted with one another since the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo sessions, the pair would develop a fast friendship during the mini-tour, after, what was by all accounts, a very acrimonious re-acquaintance.[71] Following the end of the package tour, White entered the recording studio with producer Jim Dickson on June 28 and 29, 1973 to begin work on a solo album.[72] He recorded a total of six songs,[73] four of which would belatedly be released on the archival album Silver Meteor: A Progressive Country Anthology in 1980.[72]

Death

White died on July 15, 1973, after being struck by a drunk driver.[1] The accident occurred shortly after 2 a.m., while he and his brother Roland were loading equipment into their car in Palmdale, California, following a White Brothers concert. Especially shaken by his death was Gram Parsons, who would lead a singalong of "Farther Along" at the funeral service and conceive his final song before his own death, "In My Hour of Darkness", as a partial tribute to White.

Clarence White was survived by his brothers Roland and Eric and sisters JoAnne and Rosemarie, and his one daughter, Michelle.

Musical influence

Clarence White helped popularize the acoustic guitar as a lead instrument in bluegrass music, building on the work of guitarists such as Doc Watson. Prior to the advent of the more aggressive flatpicking style pioneered by guitarists like Watson and White, the guitar was strictly a rhythm instrument, save for a few exceptions (such as the occasional guitar track by banjoist Don Reno). Many of the most influential flatpickers of the 20th century cite White as a primary influence, including Dan Crary, Norman Blake, and Tony Rice. Rice owns and plays White's highly modified 1935 Martin D-28. David Grier and Russ Barenberg are two other acoustic guitarists who were heavily influenced by White's guitar work. White's bluegrass playing with the Kentucky Colonels was also a considerable influence on Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead,[4] who traveled with the band during 1964.[74]

On the electric side of the guitar spectrum, White was similarly influential. Together with fellow Byrds bandmember Gene Parsons, White invented the B-Bender device. This device raises the B-string (second string) of the guitar a whole step by the use of pulleys and levers attached to both the upper strap knob and the second string on the guitar. It is activated by pushing down on the neck, and produces a "pedal steel" type sound. Arlen Roth, heavily influenced by this style, did not at the time know that White and Parsons had invented a B-bender, so instead developed his own unique all-finger bending version of this technique. This was heavily documented in his ground-breaking book, "Nashville Guitar", all of his recordings, as well as his book "Masters of the Telecaster". Subsequently, his Telecaster sound became as notable as his bluegrass playing. Marty Stuart, another guitarist influenced by White's playing, now owns and regularly plays White's 1954 Fender Telecaster with the prototype B-Bender.[75]

Music archivist and writer Alec Palao has called White "one of a handful of true greats amongst the instrumentalists of 20th century popular music", before adding that "the waves created by the guitarist's idiosyncratic style are still forming ripples within bluegrass, country and rock 'n' roll."[76] In 2003, White was ranked No. 41 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In 2010, guitar manufacturer Gibson ranked White at No. 42 on their Top 50 Guitarists of All Time list.[77]

Selected album discography

NOTES:

  • This discography does not include albums that Clarence White played on as a session musician, with the exception of Dobro Country, on which he is billed by name.
  • Sources for this section are Johnny Rogan's book Timeless Flight Revisited and the Kentucky Colonels discography at the AllMusic website.[12][78]

Kentucky Colonels

  • The New Sound of Bluegrass America (1963)
  • Appalachian Swing! (1964)
  • Kentucky Colonels (1974) — UK reissue of Appalachian Swing! with two bonus tracks.
  • Livin' in the Past (1975) — Various live recordings from 1961–1965.
  • The Kentucky Colonels 1965-1966 (1976) — Live recordings.
  • Scotty Stoneman, Live in LA with the Kentucky Colonels (1979) — Live recording from 1965.
  • Kentucky Colonels 1966 (1979) — Studio demo recordings for an unreleased album.
  • Clarence White and the Kentucky Colonels (1980) — Live recordings.
  • On Stage (1984) — Live recordings.
  • Long Journey Home (1991) — Live recordings from the 1964 Newport Folk Festival.
  • Live in Stereo (1999) — Live recordings from a 1965 concert in Vancouver.
  • Bush, Latham & White (2011) — Live recordings from 1964.

Tut Taylor, Roland and Clarence White

  • Dobro Country (1964)

Nashville West

  • Nashville West (a.k.a. The Legendary Nashville West Album) (1979) — Live recordings from 1967.

The Byrds

Muleskinner

  • Muleskinner (aka A Pot Pourri of Bluegrass Jam) (1973)
  • Muleskinner Live: Original Television Soundtrack (1992) — Live recordings from a 1973 television broadcast.

The New Kentucky Colonels

  • The White Brothers: The New Kentucky Colonels Live in Sweden 1973 (1976)
  • Live in Holland 1973 (2013)

Clarence White

  • 33 Acoustic Guitar Instrumentals (2003) — Recorded in 1962.
  • Tuff & Stringy Sessions 1966–68 (2003) — Various studio sessions.
  • Flatpick (2006) — Recorded 1964, 1967, 1970 and 1973.
  • White Lightnin' (2008) — Various recordings from 1962–1972.

Tut Taylor & Clarence White

  • Tut & Clarence Flatpickin' (2003)

References

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hjort, Christopher (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965–1973). London: Jawbone Press. p. 14. ISBN 1-906002-15-0.
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  20. ^ Einarson, John (2005). Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of The Byrds' Gene Clark. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 111. ISBN 0-87930-793-5.
  21. ^ Einarson, John (2005). Mr. Tambourine Man: The Life and Legacy of The Byrds' Gene Clark. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 117. ISBN 0-87930-793-5.
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External links

Byrdmaniax

Byrdmaniax is the tenth album by the American rock band the Byrds. It was released in June 1971 on Columbia Records (see 1971 in music) at a time of renewed commercial and critical success for the band, due to the positive reception that their two previous albums, Ballad of Easy Rider and (Untitled), had received. The album was the second by the Byrds to feature the Roger McGuinn, Clarence White, Gene Parsons, and Skip Battin line-up of the band and was mostly recorded in early 1971, while the band were in the midst of an exhausting tour schedule. As a result, the band had little time to hone their new songs before recording commenced and thus, much of the material on the album is underdeveloped. Byrdmaniax was poorly received upon release, particularly in the United States, and did much to undermine the Byrds' new-found popularity.The album peaked at #46 on the Billboard Top LPs chart but failed to reach the UK Albums Chart. The song "I Trust (Everything Is Gonna Work Out Alright)" was released as a preceding single on May 7, 1971 in the United Kingdom but it did not chart. A second single taken from the album, "Glory, Glory", was released on August 20, 1971 and reached #110 on the Billboard chart, but again, the single failed to reach the UK chart. Byrdmaniax remains one of the Byrds most poorly received album releases, largely due to the incongruous addition of strings, horns, and a gospel choir which were overdubbed onto the songs by producer Terry Melcher and arranger Paul Polena, reportedly without the band's consent.

Farther Along (The Byrds album)

Farther Along is the eleventh album by the American rock band the Byrds and was released in November 1971 on Columbia Records (see 1971 in music). For the most part, the album was recorded and produced by the Byrds themselves in London, England, over the course of five work-intensive days in July 1971. It was quickly released as a reaction to the commercial failure of the Byrds' previous album, Byrdmaniax, and as an attempt to stem the criticism that album was receiving in the music press.Byrdmaniax had featured a large amount of orchestration, which producer Terry Melcher had applied to the album, allegedly without the band's consent. The band were unhappy with this and Farther Along was intended as their answer to what they perceived as Melcher's over-production, as well as an attempt to prove that they could produce an album that they regarded as superior to Byrdmaniax themselves. Band biographer Johnny Rogan has suggested that the rapidity with which the Byrds planned and recorded Farther Along resulted in an LP that the band themselves were unhappy with and that failed to undo the damage to their reputation inflicted by Byrdmaniax.Upon release, the album only managed to reach number 152 on the Billboard Top LPs chart and failed to break into the UK Albums Chart altogether. A single taken from the album, "America's Great National Pastime", was released on November 29, 1971, but failed to chart in the United States or in the United Kingdom. Farther Along has the dubious honor of tying with Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde as the Byrds' album to have spent the least amount of time on the Billboard album chart. In addition, it was almost the lowest charting album of The Byrds' career in America, being beaten only by Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde, which charted at number 153.

Gene Parsons

Gene Victor Parsons (born September 4, 1944 in Morongo Valley, California) is an American drummer, banjo player, guitarist, singer-songwriter, and engineer, best known for his work with the Byrds from 1968 to 1972. Parsons has also released solo albums and played in bands including Nashville West, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Parsons Green. He is credited with inventing the B-Bender (also known as the StringBender) along with guitarist Clarence White, and the device is often referred to as the Parsons/White B-Bender, a trademarked name.

History of The Byrds

History of The Byrds is a double album compilation by the American rock band the Byrds and was released on May 18, 1973 by CBS Records (see 1973 in music). The compilation was released exclusively in Europe and the UK, peaking at number 47 on the UK Albums Chart, but it was also available in the United States as an import.

Kentucky Colonels (band)

The Kentucky Colonels were a bluegrass band that was popular during the American folk music revival of the early 1960s. Formed in Burbank, California in 1954, the group released two albums, The New Sound of Bluegrass America (1963) and Appalachian Swing! (1964). The band featured the influential bluegrass guitarist Clarence White, who was largely responsible for making the acoustic guitar a lead instrument within bluegrass, and who later went on to join the Los Angeles rock band the Byrds. The Kentucky Colonels disbanded in late 1965, with two short-lived reunions taking place in 1966 and 1973.

Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971

Live at Royal Albert Hall is a live album by the American rock band the Byrds, released in 2008 on Sundazed Records. The album consists of recordings from the band's appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England on May 13, 1971. Although the tapes had been in lead guitarist Roger McGuinn's possession since the concert took place, the album represents the first official release of all tracks. In addition to the regular CD release, Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971 was also released as a double album vinyl LP.

Live at the Fillmore – February 1969

Live at the Fillmore — February 1969 is a live album released by the American rock band The Byrds in 2000 on Columbia Records. This release was compiled from two performances at the famed Fillmore West on February 7 & 8, 1969. The album includes several songs not found on the group's studio albums.

Recorded less than a week after the release of The Byrds' album, Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde, the band line-up on these recordings includes lead singer and guitarist, Roger McGuinn, lead guitarist Clarence White, bassist John York, and drummer Gene Parsons. The album features White's use of the Stringbender device, which he co-invented with drummer (and banjo player) Gene Parsons. The Stringbender allowed White to make his Telecaster guitar sound like a pedal steel guitar.

Muleskinner (album)

Muleskinner is the eponymous debut album by the progressive bluegrass group Muleskinner, recorded at the Record Plant, Hollywood, California, March 27 through April 14, 1973, and released later that year. It is their only studio album. The album was re-released by Ridge Runner in 1978 and re-issued on a compact disc in 1994 under the title A Potpourri of Bluegrass Jam, which was a banner on the front cover of the original album release.

Muleskinner reunited David Grisman and Peter Rowan, who had played together in the band, Earth Opera. They along with bassist John Kahn would go on to form Old & In the Way after Muleskinner disbanded.Shortly after the release of the album guitarist Clarence White died, and the album was subsequently dedicated to him.

The band released a live album in 1998 (recorded in 1973) and re-united for a couple of one-off performances.

Muleskinner (band)

Muleskinner was an American bluegrass supergroup, active during the early 1970s.

Rita Coolidge (album)

Rita Coolidge is the self-titled debut album by Rita Coolidge.

Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Sweetheart of the Rodeo is the sixth album by American rock band the Byrds and was released on August 30, 1968, on Columbia Records (see 1968 in music). Recorded with the addition of country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, it became the first major album widely recognised as country rock, and represented a stylistic move away from the psychedelic rock of the band's previous LP, The Notorious Byrd Brothers. The Byrds had occasionally experimented with country music on their four previous albums, but Sweetheart of the Rodeo represented their fullest immersion into the genre thus far. The album was also responsible for bringing Gram Parsons, who had joined the Byrds prior to the recording of the album, to the attention of a mainstream rock audience for the first time. Thus, the album can be seen as an important chapter in Parsons' personal and musical crusade to make country music fashionable for a young audience.The album was initially conceived as a musical history of 20th century American popular music, encompassing examples of country music, jazz and rhythm and blues, among other genres. However, steered by the passion of the little-known Parsons, who had only joined the Byrds in February 1968, this proposed concept was abandoned early on and the album instead became purely a country record. The recording of the album was divided between sessions in Nashville and Los Angeles, with contributions from several notable session musicians, including Lloyd Green, John Hartford, JayDee Maness and Clarence White. Tension developed between Parsons and the rest of the band, guitarist Roger McGuinn especially, with some of Parsons' vocals being re-recorded, partly due to legal complications, and by the time the album was released in August, Parsons had left the band. The Byrds' move away from rock and pop towards country music elicited a great deal of resistance and hostility from the ultra-conservative Nashville country music establishment who viewed the Byrds as a group of long-haired hippies attempting to subvert country music.Upon its release, the album reached number 77 on the Billboard Top LPs chart, but failed to reach the charts in the United Kingdom. Two attendant singles were released during 1968, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", which achieved modest success, and "I Am a Pilgrim", which failed to chart. The album received mostly positive reviews in the music press, but the band's shift away from psychedelic music alienated much of its pop audience. Despite being the least commercially successful Byrds' album to date upon its initial release, Sweetheart of the Rodeo is today considered to be a seminal and highly influential country rock album.

The Byrds

The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (known as Jim McGuinn until mid-1967) remaining the sole consistent member, until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones for a short period in the mid-60s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be nearly as influential as those bands. Their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was immediately absorbed into the vocabulary of popular music and has continued to be influential up to the present day.Initially, the band pioneered the musical genre of folk rock as a popular format on their debut album Mr. Tambourine Man (1965), by melding the influence of the Beatles and other British Invasion bands with contemporary and traditional folk music. As the 1960s progressed, the band was influential in originating psychedelic rock and raga rock, with their song "Eight Miles High" and the albums Fifth Dimension (1966), Younger Than Yesterday (1967) and The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968). They also played a pioneering role in the development of country rock, with the 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo representing their fullest immersion into the genre.The original five-piece lineup of the Byrds consisted of Jim McGuinn (lead guitar, vocals), Gene Clark (tambourine, vocals), David Crosby (rhythm guitar, vocals), Chris Hillman (bass guitar, vocals), and Michael Clarke (drums). This version of the band was relatively short-lived and by early 1966, Clark had left due to problems associated with anxiety and his increasing isolation within the group. The Byrds continued as a quartet until late 1967, when Crosby and Clarke also departed the band. McGuinn and Hillman decided to recruit new members, including country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, but by late 1968, Hillman and Parsons had also exited the band. McGuinn elected to rebuild the band's membership and, between 1968 and 1973, he helmed a new incarnation of the Byrds, featuring guitarist Clarence White among others. McGuinn disbanded the then current lineup in early 1973, to make way for a reunion of the original quintet. The Byrds' final album was released in March 1973, with the reunited group disbanding soon afterwards.Several former members of the band went on to successful careers of their own, either as solo artists or as members of such groups as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Desert Rose Band. In the late 1980s, Gene and Michael both began touring as the Byrds, prompting a legal challenge from McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman over the rights to the band's name. As a result of this, McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman performed a series of reunion concerts as the Byrds in 1989 and 1990, and also recorded four new Byrds' songs. In 1991, the Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an occasion that saw the five original members performing together for the last time. Gene Clark died of a heart attack later that year, while Michael Clarke died of liver failure in 1993. McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman remain active.

The Byrds (box set)

The Byrds is a four-CD box set by the American rock band the Byrds. It features music that had previously been released between the mid-1960s and early 1970s, along with a number of previously unreleased tracks and some new recordings from 1990. The box set was issued on October 19, 1990 by Columbia/Legacy and reached number 151 on the Billboard albums chart.

The Byrds Play Dylan

The Byrds Play Dylan is the name of two different compilation albums by the American rock band the Byrds, one released in 1979 and the other issued in 2002. As their titles suggest, each compilation consists of interpretations of Bob Dylan penned songs, which the Byrds recorded at different stages of their career.Neither version of the album reached the charts in the United States or the United Kingdom.

The Essential Byrds

The Essential Byrds is a comprehensive two-CD compilation album by the American rock band the Byrds. It was released in 2003 as part of Sony BMG's The Essential series. The Essential Byrds did not chart in the U.S. or the UK. A 3.0 edition of the compilation released in 2011 contains a third disc with six additional tracks: "Spanish Harlem Incident", "I Knew I'd Want You", "The World Turns All Around Her", "I See You", "Change Is Now", and "One Hundred Years from Now".

The Vanguard Years (Doc Watson album)

The Vanguard Years is the title of a recording by American folk music and country blues artist Doc Watson, released in 1995.

This four-CD collection contains 64 tracks from Watson's years on the Vanguard label recorded from 1963 to 1968. There are 16 previously unreleased performances included that are live duets between Doc and his son Merle. It includes guests such as Gaither Carlton, Clarence White and Merle Travis.

Treasures Untold

Treasures Untold is the title of a live recording by Doc Watson & Family, recorded at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. It includes four duets with Clarence White. Watson's son, Merle, was 15 years old at the time of the recording. He later performed numerous concerts and on recordings with his father.

It was released on CD in 1991 by Vanguard.

William C. White

William Clarence "Willie" White (1854–1937) (often referred to as W. C. White) was a son of Ellen G. White and James Springer White, two of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He became a well known Seventh-day Adventist minister and church leader. W.C.'s son Arthur L. White worked closely with him and succeeded his father as Secretary of the White Estate.

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