Album #133 – Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Album #133

This album is a highlight for me on this list. This album is the first country rock album to gain mainstream attention. And, boy did they get attention. The conservative country music business was not happy with The Byrds for doing this. The Byrds were even booed at The Grand Ole Opry. To make matters worse, this album was a commercial failure. But, the critics mostly loved it. This album also tore The Byrds apart mostly because of Gram Parsons. Parsons joined The Byrds after the departure of Gene Clark and David Crosby. Parsons and Roger McGuinn had a very troubled and tension filled relationship. Parsons only sings lead on three tracks, but was originally singing lead on six or seven. Parsons vocals were overdubbed with McGuinn’s and you can faintly hear Parsons’ vocals. This pissed Parsons off. Many speculate that this is because McGuinn did not want Parsons to be front and center. Others say it was because Parsons was not actually apart of The Byrds contract and it was done for contractual reasons. Parsons did contribute three songs. If it were not for Parsons’ ego, this album probably would not have turned out the way it did. It was Parsons who suggested this album be a country rock album. Gram Parsons would leave The Byrds shortly before this album was released. Parsons and Chris Hillman, who was also a member of The Byrds, would form The Flying Burrito Brothers. If it were not for this album, Alt-Country would not have existed and Country Rock would have not taken off in the 1970’s with groups such as The Eagles. I am so glad that this album was made the way it did and to me this is The Byrds most influential album because they took a type of music that was never played by a rock group and made a wonderful album. Highlights include: The Christian Life, Hickory Wind, You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere and Life in Prison. Overall, I give this album 5 out of 5.

Next: The Beatles a.k.a The White Album by The Beatles!!!

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