Another one from the @warethewildthingsare hippie music basement haul (if you're confused, see my Crosby-Nash album post): The Byrds, 'Untitled'.
This is another album I think suffers from certain music fans' snobbery. There's this idea that the Byrds didn't make any good records after 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo'. And sure, they never had another instantly iconic, classic album. But it's not fair to judge the later Byrds by the standards of the band's earlier lineups, which were almost overloaded with creative vision and songwriting star power. With four out of five original members gone, it's unfair to expect this to sound like 'Mr. Tambourine Man'. And you know what? It doesn't.
What it does sound like, though, is a band that's finally all on the same page as each other. The earlier lineups' star power overload created near-constant internal conflict that made live performances notoriously... difficult. 'Untitled', a double album, starts out with a full disc of live recordings, and it's AMAZING! The band is super-focused, super-together, and among other things, manages a sixteen-minute version of 'Eight Miles High' that had me hypnotized for the entire length of Side Two.
The second disc is the studio album. It might not be a Byrds classic, but I bet there were a lot of folk-rock bands in 1970 that would have KILLED for an album like this. It's beautiful, there's a nice mix of different songs, and just like on the live album, the musicians work amazingly together. Weird lyrics aside, I totally understand why "Chestnut Mare" was a minor hit- yes, it's a love song to a horse, but the music is fun and catchy, and Roger sounds so excited as he tells the horse's story. (For context, it was written as part of a rock opera that was never really completed.) "Just A Season" would have fit perfectly on any of the classic mid-60s Byrds albums. And a famous former Byrd makes a guest appearance on "All Things". It may not be 'Mr. Tambourine Man' or 'Sweetheart of the Rodeo', but if you're into folk-rock, 'Untitled' is definitely worth a listen.
Eight Miles High