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

Lev - Ma



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Jacques Levy

The Limeliters

Lobo

Love

Taj Mahal

The Mamas and the Papas

Jay Dee Maness

Hugh Masekela




Jacques Levy

Jacques Levy was a New York clinical psychologist who became involved with musical theater in the '60s. Levy directed the New York production of Oh, Calcutta.
In 1969, Levy and McGuinn co-wrote the songs and book for the musical Gene Tryp, which included several of McGuinn's best latter-day Byrds songs, including "Chestnut Mare" and "Just A Season." Levy's contributions were lyrical. Although David Merrick and Don Kirshner both expressed interest, Gene Tryp was never produced. McGuinn worked with Levy again on McGuinn's first solo LP, Roger McGuinn (Columbia, 1973).
In 1975, Bob Dylan approached Levy, expressed admiration for the songs he co-wrote with McGuinn, and asked whether they might work together. They wrote seven of the nine songs that appear on Dylan's album Desire (Columbia, 1975). One outtake from that album, "Catfish," a song about pitcher Catfish Hunter, showed up on The Bootleg Series 1961-1991 (Columbia, 1991).
Levy subsequently cowrote with McGuinn on Cardiff Rose (Columbia, 1976) and Thunderbyrd (Columbia, 1977).

The Limeliters

Glenn Yarbrough, Alex Hassilev, and Lou Gottlieb, all instrumentalists and singers, united as the Limeliters in 1959. With skillful arrangements, a cosmopolitan interest in foreign folk music, and a droll sense of humor, the Limeliters quickly became a draw on the folk club circuit. In 1960, RCA signed the trio. They were accompanied by a teen-aged Jim McGuinn on Tonight in Person (RCA, 1960). The three released more than a dozen of their LPs before splitting in the mid-'60s. After the split, Glenn Yarbrough had a solo hit with "Baby, the Rain Must Fall."


Lobo

Kent LaVoie was a member of high school band the Legends with Gram Parsons in the early '60s. Under the name Lobo, he went on to record light folk pop songs. He charted with several, the best-known of which were "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" in 1971 and "I'd Love You to Want Me" in 1972.


Love

Byrds roadie Bryan MacLean joined up with Arthur Lee, an acid-headed musical genius, to form Love. Their first album, Love (Elektra, 1966) showed a huge debt to the Byrds, from their cover of the Crosby set-staple "Hey Joe" to the Gene Clark-ish balled "A Message to Pretty" to the McGuinn-like jangle of "Can't Explain." But they brought to the material their own, unique sensibility and in places a garage punk edge. That edge came to the forefront on the brilliant single "7 & & Is," the highlight of their second album, Da Capo (Elektra, 1967).
By the time of their third album, both the Byrds mannerisms and the punk edge were gone, replaced by Tijuana Brass and Sgt. Pepper strings. That album, Forever Changes (Elektra, 1968), went largely unnoticed in the States. But buoyed by MacLean's transcendent single "Alone Again Or," the album hit the Top Forty in the UK, where it is still widely acknowledged as one of the definitive albums of the psychedelic era.
MacLean and the rest of Love left and Arthur Lee soldiered on with a new band for three less distinguished LPs, Four Sail (Elektra, 1969), Out Here (Blue Thumb, 1970) and False Start (Blue Thumb, 1971), before calling it quits. Lee became one of rock's legendary acid casualties, and spent the next decades issuing occasional solo albums and periodically touring with new and old versions of Love. Currently he is imprisoned for possession of a firearm in violation of parole.
MacLean has mostly avoided the music business since 1968, although his half-sister Maria McKee had some success with her band Lone Justice and Patty Loveless covered a MacLean composition in 1988. Some of MacLean's demo recordings, many never recorded, were recently issued on ifyoubelievein (Sundazed, 1997).
There is a Love Webpage with a great collection of information on the band.


Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal began his career playing a modern version of Delta and country blues for folkies at the Ash Grove. After the disintegration of the Rising Sons, his mid-'60s blues-rock band with Ry Cooder and Byrd Kevin Kelley, he began to release LPs on Columbia, starting with Taj Mahal (Columbia, 1967).
In time Taj Mahal would investigate much of the music of the African diaspora, including reggae, West African music, and jazz, though there is always something of the blues in his work. For a career retrospective, see The Best of Taj Mahal (Columbia, 1980). Taj Mahal Enterprizes is an official website.


The Mamas and the Papas

Of the groups tagged with the folk-rock label after the success of "Mr. Tambourine Man," none was more popular than the Mamas and the Papas. The group comprised ex-Journeymen John Phillips and his young wife Michelle, and ex-Mugwumps Denny Doherty and Cass Elliott. Beginning with "California Dreamin'" in December 1965, their glossy pop-folk topped the charts for three years. A good career retrospective is Creeque Alley: The History of the Mamas and the Papas (MCA, 1991).
Like most of the Byrds, members of the Mamas and the Papas were part of the Greenwich Village and Ash Grove folk scenes in the early '60s, and lived in Laurel Canyon during their mid-'60s heyday. As a result, they crossed paths often.
In 1966, after leaving the Byrds, Gene Clark carried on a brief affair with Michelle Phillips, who was at that time separated from John.
Bassist John York toured with the Mamas and the Papas in '66 before joining first the the Gene Clark Group and then the Byrds.
In 1967, David Crosby met Graham Nash through Cass Elliott, whose home was a salon for the LA rock scene. Stills claims Crosby Stills and Nash first harmonized in her dining room.
In 1970, John Phillips was riding his motorcycle with Gram Parsons when Parsons's poorly-maintained bike fell apart, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries.


Jay Dee Maness

Jay Dee Maness is a pedal steel guitarist who played with Gram Parsons on the International Submarine Band LP Safe at Home (LHI, 1968) and on Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
In the '80s, Jay Dee Maness reunited with Chris Hillman in the Desert Rose Band. Maness played on the first three releases by that band.
The Academy of Country Music has chosen Maness best steel guitarist fifteen times since 1970.


Hugh Masekela

Expatriate South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela usually works in the jazz field, but he is best known for his 1968 hit, "Grazin' in the Grass." He remains active in the '90s, along with his wife, Miriam Makeba.
In 1967, Masekela was, like the Byrds and Gene Clark, managed by Larry Spector. Masekela's path crossed that of the Byrds often during this period. Hillman played on sessions with Masekela that inspired him to begin writing the songs that appeared on Younger than Yesterday. Masekela contributed trumpet to one of those compositions, "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star," the bass line of which was apparently borrowed from Masekela's keyboardist. Masekela played on the same bill with the Byrds at Monterey Pop. He also produced never-released singles by Gene Clark and the first version of the International Submarine Band ("Lazy Days"). Masekela had his own label, Chisa (distributed by Motown), which released Peter Fonda's cover of the Gram Parsons song "November Nights" in 1967. (Fonda was also managed by Spector.)


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Related Musicians | Musicians Associated with the Byrds | Lev - Ma

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

A - Bro | Bru - Bu | C | Da - Di | Do - E | F | G | H - J | K - Lea | Lev - Ma | Me - Mu | N | O - Pa | Pe - Q | Ra - Ri | Ro - Ru | S | T - V | W - Z | NEXT PAGE






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