The members of the legendary L.A. band led by Roger McGuinn started out as acoustic folkies who, galvanized by the ’64 British Invasion, plugged in and took off. In the years that followed, the Byrds helped spearhead three separate, groundbreaking genres: folk-rock, acid-rock and country-rock. And they did it without losing their unique musical identity.
Columbia/Legacy, which reissued the first four Byrds albums last year, now revisits the final four of their remarkable ’60s output. It’s difficult to imagine discs as stylistically opposed as the spacy, Sgt. Pepper-ish Notorious Byrd Brothers and the rootsy country-rock gem Sweetheart of the Rodeo, or that such a focused, gentle album as the vastly underrated Ballad of Easy Rider could follow such a diffuse, rough-edged one as the aptly titled Dr. Byrds and Mr. Hyde. All of it, though, is still somehow the Byrds and still shimmering after all these years. (Columbia/Legacy)