BYRDWATCHER: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles
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MUSICIANS ASSOCIATED WITH THE BYRDS

A - Bro



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Mark Andes

Hoyt Axton

Earl "Les" Ball

Jock Bartley

The Beach Boys

Don Beck

Byron Berline

Hal Blaine

Jackson Browne



Mark Andes

Mark Andes was originally the bassist in the Californian jazz-rock group Spirit, best known for songs like "I Got A Line on You" and "Nature's Way" and albums The Family That Plays Together (Ode, 1968) and The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (Epic, 1970). Their best work is assembled on the CD Time Circle (Epic/Legacy, 1991). (Spirit's drummer Ed Cassidy was in the Rising Sons; after a wrist injury, he was replaced by future Byrd Kevin Kelley.)
In 1972, Andes and Spirit vocalist Jay Ferguson split to form Jo Jo Gunne, which explored more accessible power chord territory on four albums between 1972 and 1974.
Andes later played with Michael Clarke and Rick Roberts in MOR band Firefall, while Jay Ferguson went solo for a late '70s career in pop music, highlighted by the 1977 single "Thunder Island."
There are a number of Spirit websites. The official Spirit site offers merchandise and has links to a bunch of other sites.

Hoyt Axton

Hoyt Axton is a songwriter and performer. His mother, Mae Axton, wrote "Heartbreak Hotel," which became Elvis Presley's first chart topper in 1956.
Hoyt Axton started touring the folk circuit in the late '50s. His song "Greenback Dollar" became a hit for the Kingston Trio in 1962. Around the same time, Axton landed a record contract. Jim McGuinn arranged and played guitar on his debut album, The Balladeer (Horizon, 1962). His performing career never really took off, but as a songwriter, he achieved one hit after another: "The Pusher" for Steppenwolf, "Joy to the World" and "Never Been to Spain" for Three Dog Night, and "The No No Song" for Ringo Starr. Axton continues to perform and record, and has appeared in films as well. There is a Hoyt Axton site called Hoyt Axton Explodes!.


Earl "Les" Ball

Earl "Les" Ball was a veteran Nashville session player who played on the International Submarine Band's LP, Safe at Home (LHI, 1968), Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and the solo sessions Gram Parsons recorded with Terry Melcher in the summer of 1970. Ball has also played with, among others, Johnny Cash.


Jock Bartley

Jock Bartley was the guitarist in a group called Zephyr -- Bartley replaced Tommy Bolin, later of the post-Joe Walsh James Gang and Deep Purple. (Zephyr had released a pair of albums with Bolin on Warner Bros. in the early '70s.) In early 1973, Bartley, though more a rock than a country guitarist, joined Gram Parsons's Fallen Angels tour when it passed through Boulder, Colorado. That tour (and Bartley's work) is captured on the Gram Parsons & the Fallen Angels album, Live 1973 (Sierra, 1982).
Bartley later became the lead guitarist in Firefall, with Flying Burrito Brothers Michael Clarke and Rick Roberts. The current reincarnation of Firefall has an official Firefall site.


The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys were a rarely mentioned but important influence on the Byrds. McGuinn has acknowledged that Byrds producers Terry Melcher and Gary Usher, both of whom had ties to the Beach Boys camp, provided the Byrds with a similar commercial sheen that had much to do with their early success. (Note that the members of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew" who played on the "Mr. Tambourine Man" single -- Hal Blaine, Jerry Cole, Larry Knechtel -- also played many sessions for the Beach Boys.)
In 1986, McGuinn played on the Beach Boys cover of "California Dreamin'," produced by Terry Melcher. That collaboration resulted in a joint tour in which McGuinn opened for and played with the Beach Boys and their band.
There are lots of Beach Boys sites on the Web, of which I prefer Endless Summer.


Don Beck

Don Beck played mandolin and dobro on the first Dillard & Clark LP, The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark (A&M, 1968). He left the band before its second LP, but joined the Doug Dillard Expedition for a time in early 1970.
In 1972, Beck replaced steel guitarist Al Perkins in the Rick Roberts version of the Flying Burrito Brothers.


Byron Berline

Byron Berline has built a successful career as a bluegrass fiddler and session man. He got his big break when he met the Dillards; Berline made his vinyl debut on their album Pickin'and Fiddlin' (Elektra, 1965).
After graduating from college, Berline joined Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, but a few months later Berline was drafted. On his discharge, Berline played with the Dillard & Clark Expedition, then with the Doug Dillard Expedition when Gene Clark left. Later he formed Country Gazette with guitarist Kenny Wertz and bassist Roger Bush. Almost immediately, Country Gazette was subsumed into the Chris Hillman/Rick Roberts version of the Flying Burrito Brothers, with whom Berline, Bush and Wertz toured in 1971 and '72; these three appeared on the album Last of the Red Hot Burritos (A&M, 1971). Banjo player Alan Munde joined for a tour of Europe in 1971, and the four resumed playing as Country Gazette in 1972, recording Traitor in Our Midst (United Artists, 1972). Wertz soon left, to be replaced on guitar by Roland White, brother of Clarence White. Munde still led a version of Country Gazette for many years, though the band underwent many personnel shifts.
After a couple albums on United Artists, Berline left to form his own band, Sundance, who released an LP on MCA in 1976. In addition, Berline has played sessions on dozens of records, including Ballad of Easy Rider, (Untitled) and Byrdmaniax by the Byrds; the two Gram Parsons solo albums, GP (Reprise, 1973) and Grievous Angel (Reprise, 1974); the Rolling Stones LP Let It Bleed (London, 1969); and Dylan's soundtrack to Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Columbia, 1973).
More recently, Berline played with bluegrass act California. He also released a solo album, Fiddle & A Song (Sugar Hill, 1995) which featured as guests Vince Gill and, in a history-making reunion, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe.

Hal Blaine

Hal Blaine is a highly-regarded session drummer who, as a mainstay of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew," played on many Spector-produced hits in the early '60s. Blaine also drummed on many of the Beach Boys' hits, and on both sides of the first Byrds single, "Mr. Tambourine Man" / "I Knew I'd Want You."


Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne is another alumnus of the California music scene from which the Byrds sprung. Before his huge success as a singer songwriter in the '70s, Browne was briefly a part of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He left before their first LP in 1967, on which his erstwhile bandmates recorded two of his songs.
Later, he went to Greenwich Village, where he backed singer Tim Buckley and Teutonic moon goddess Nico, shortly after her liaison with the Velvet Underground. She would record several of his songs on her solo album, Chelsea Girl (MGM, 1968).
Returning to California, Browne worked at his songwriting. In 1969, the Byrds recorded but did not release his song "Mae Jean Goes to Hollwood." During the (Untitled) sessions, Browne contributed his distinctive piano playing on another outtake, the band's cover of "Just Like A Woman." Both of these outtakes can be heard on The Byrds Boxed Set. After two near misses, Browne finally got his first credit on a Byrds album when they recorded "Jamaica Say You Will," which appeared on their '71 album Byrdmaniax. Around this same time, Tom Rush, Bonnie Raitt, and Linda Ronstadt covered his songs.
In 1971, Browne was signed by David Geffen, becoming a key member of the Asylum axis. Browne co-wrote "Take It Easy" with Glenn Frey of labelmates the Eagles. David Crosby sang on Browne's 1971 debut, Jackson Browne (Asylum, 1972), which also featured Clarence White on guitar. That debut contained Browne's version of "Jamaica Say You Will," as well as "Doctor My Eyes," the first in a long string of hits for Browne during the '70s and '80s.
You can choose from a number of sites devoted to Jackson Browne including The Jackson Browne Unofficial Home Page.


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Related Musicians | Musicians Associated with the Byrds | A - Bro

Welcome | News | LPs | History | Members | Spinoffs | Related | Reference | Sanctuary | About | NEXT SECTION

Artists Covered | Other Influences | Associates | Musicians Influenced | Byrd/Not a Byrd | NEXT CHAPTER

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