Roger McGuinn - Back From Rio

Byrds-friendly reissue from 1991

After a 10-year break from
recording, McGuinn returned
with an album that clearly
touched base with the sound of
the band that made him
famous, but with a few shiny
modern motifs. Tom Petty & The
Heartbreakers, whose own debt
to The Byrds has always been evident, were on hand to help
shape a set of songs perfectly
suited to cruising down a
California highway.

The Petty co-write King Of
The Hill is a harmony-laden
rumination on the hollowness of
celebrity that reads like a
detached overview of McGuinn’s
own past, while Car Phone (with
spoken interlude by Kimmy
Robertson, aka Lucy in Twin
Peaks) pokes fun at self-important
Hollywood execs.

Though Byrds comparisons
are inevitable, they’re perhaps
a little too obvious on Elvis
Costello’s You Bowed Down,
which sounds like he fed half a
dozen of the group’s hits into a
computer and casually demoed
the results. The overall
consistency impresses, and
McGuinn has struggled to
better the album in the
intervening years, but his
mighty 60s catalogue can’t
help but overshadow affairs.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

SPV | 306612

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
<< Back to Issue 362