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The Byrds: Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde

[cover art]

A country rock album from the legendary Byrds, containing only two notable tracks, "This Wheel's on Fire", later included on the compilations The Byrds (The Byrds 4CD box set, 1990, Sony 46773) and Byrds Play Dylan (The Byrds, 1996, Columbia), and "King Apathy III." The remastered CD re-release adds a few previously unreleased versions of tracks on the original LP, including an alternate take of "This Wheel's on Fire". A live version of the song appeared in 1969 on the album The Byrds Live at the Fillmore - February 1969 (Columbia/Legacy 65910).

Following the reissue project of the Byrds catalog by Sony, we have several different versions of that group's cover of "This Wheel's On Fire".

The Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde CD with bonus tracks contains two versions. The more familiar, original album version (recorded on 12/4/68) features Clarence White using a fuzztone with his stringbender Telecaster and Roger McGuinn's explosive synthesiser sounds. You can also distinguish drummer Gene Parsons' employing a loosened snare head. These are among the effects that Mr. Parsons has said that producer Bob Johnson suggested. Included in the bonus cuts, this CD also contains the previously unissued first studio take of the song. This earlier version has a more natural sound, most evident by the absence of the fuzztone effect on Mr. White's guitar. The clean sound of his B-stringbender gives the song more of a country feel. This is said to be the version that Clarence White preferred, and one can readily hear why.

The previously unissued Live At The Fillmore (West) CD, recorded Feb. 7-9, 1969 contains a fine concert version of "This Wheel's On Fire". Clarence White's snarling leads were often more agressively expressive when he played live and this version is an excellent example of how he gradually built tension into the song through his Telecaster. This version, by the way, was recorded a week after the release of the Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde album.

Finally, the Untitled / Unissued 2-CD set contains another live version of the song. This version is a previously unissued track, recorded at the Felt Forum N.Y.C. on 3/1/70, and clocks in at a minute or so longer than their previous versions.

--David Powell, The Band guestbook, August 2001


  1. This Wheel's on Fire (Danko,Rick/Dylan,Bob) [RealAudio]
  2. Old Blue
  3. Your Gentle Way of Loving Me (Guilbeau,F./Paxton,Gary)
  4. Child of the Universe (Grusin,Dave/McGuinn,Roger)
  5. Nashville West (Parsons,Gram/White,Clarence)
  6. Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man (McGuinn,Roger/Parsons,Gram)
  7. King Apathy III (McGuinn,Roger)
  8. Candy (McGuinn,Roger/York,John)
  9. Bad Night at the Whiskey (McGuinn,Roger/Richards,J.)
  10. Medley:
    • My Back Pages (Dylan, Bob)
    • B.J. Blues (McGuinn, Roger)
    • Baby, What Do You Want Me to Do (Parsons, Gram)
  11. Stanley's Song*
  12. Lay Lady Lay* (alternate version)
  13. This Wheel's On Fire* (previously unreleased) AU file (218K)
  14. Medley* (previously unreleased):
    • My Back Pages*
    • B.J. Blues*
    • Baby What Do You Want Me To Do*
  15. Nashville West* (previously unreleased)
(* = CD bonus tracks)

The Byrds - Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde - 1969 - Columbia 9755

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