Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mocking Byrds: Have You Seen Her Face

During 1966, The Byrds were pared down to four members with the exodus of Gene Clark during the “Fifth Dimension” sessions. With Clark gone, bassist Chris Hillman was elevated to songwriter and vocalist in the band. Although Hillman had writing credits on arrangements and compositions that included all of The Byrds, it was the first time he participated as a full-fledged writer.

Released in 1967, “Younger than Yesterday” included four Hillman compositions and his collaboration with Roger McGuinn on “So You Want to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” Hillman was responsible for nearly half of the album as he is credited with five of its 11 tunes.

Up until last night, I had planned to feature Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on “So You Want to be a Rock ‘N’ Roll Star,” but discovered that I had already did this back in 2010. So I scrambled to find a replacement of this often recorded Byrds’ tune.

Unfortunately, none passed muster. Some versions of “So You Want to be a Rock ‘N’ Roll Star” had excellent instrumentation, but the vocals were lacking. Others had the vocal chops down, but the instrumental performance was dismal. After listening to a dozen covers, I decided to find another Chris Hillman vehicle.

Released as the third single from “Younger than Yesterday,” Chris Hillman captured the spirit of The Beatles in his song “Have You Seen Her Face.” Actually, it sounds more like the tunes The Beatles gave Peter and Gordon to record. It even has a country inspired lead played on a Gretsch Country Gentleman by Roger McGuinn – similar what George Harrison might have done on this tune. Unfortunately, the original “Have You Seen Her Face” only made it to #74 on the Hot 100.

As for a cover, I’ve decided to move outside the box and feature a Chris Hillman cover of a Chris Hillman song. It is actually a 2010 live recording of Hillman and Herb Pedersen “At Edwards Barn.” Both Hillman and Pedersen had previously worked together in the Desert Rose Band. During the intro, Chris mentions his metamorphosis as a songwriter and vocalist in one of the premier bands of the ‘60s – The Byrds. For now though, here’s a very nice acoustic rendition of “Have You Seen Her Face.”

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