Sweetheart of the Rodeo – The Byrds (1968)

Album no. 133/1001

Finally, we can say farewell to The Byrds with this, their final inclusion on this list. While not their last album by any stretch, it’s the last album we have to listen to.

This is The Byrds trying their hand at country music and, not surprisingly, it was their least commercially successful album.  Country legend Gram Parsons joined the band for this album, and even suggested calling the group ‘Gram Parsons and The Byrds’ for a time. He was shut down pretty quickly. 

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: It’s a country album. Of course not.


Standout track

CL: Jeeeeeeeesus. This is like searching for a needle in a haystack – which is what they do in the country.

NK: ‘You Ain’t Going Nowhere’ is one of my favourite Dylan tracks, certainly in my top ten (The version on The Essential Bob Dylan is the best). Anyway, a cover of that is track one on this and GUESS WHAT I FUCKING HATED IT IT’S THE GODDAMN BYRDS DOING GODDAMN COUNTRY MUSIC HAPPY CHRISTMAS NED IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY TOO UNWRAP YOUR PRESENT OH IT’S THE BYRDS DOING COUNTRY JUST WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED.

CL: I’m really struggling here. I can’t pick one. They all sound the same.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: Probably wouldn’t bother, guys.

NK: Don’t

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: I suppose in some ways this probably went a long way in trying to bring country music to a popular audience. I don’t think it succeeded, but points for trying I guess?

NK: Might as well ask ‘what is the point of The Byrds?’ because I have no idea. Was this a hit? This is godawful. There is a cover of ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water’ which was on Otis Blue, an album I really loved. Guess what you’ll never believe it THIS VERSION SUCKS

Will you be listening again?  

CL: Christ no. I can see I’m not quite as upset about this as Ned Kuhne, but I’m still relieved we don’t have to listen to anymore albums by The Byrds.

NK: I have had it, had it, had it with The Byrds. Up to my goddamn eyeballs. If I never hear another Byrds song it will be too soon. I thought they were annoying when they were doing jangly pop covers of Dylan songs, imagine how fucking annoying they are when they’re throwing a bit of country twang into the mix. REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING


CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to Sweetheart of the Rodeo on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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