Recorded in 1973 after the band’s various members had gone their solo ways, this is more like a sampler for their new careers – the individual tracks simply fail to gel as a group effort. Full Circle, to take the first track as an example, is a great Gene Clark song that sounds like a prefiguring of Silver Raven.
It’s also significant that two of the tracks written by band members are done better elsewhere: Crosby had already recorded the definitive version of Laughing on If Only I Could Remember My Name, while McGuinn would improve Born To Rock & Roll on (and this is almost unbelievable) the Roger McGuinn & Band LP.
Maybe the inner photo provides the key: Clark laughs as he holds a bottle of beer, Clarke looks genial, Crosby looks immensely self-satisfied, Hillman looks as if he’d rather be anywhere else, McGuinn looks like a man who has just eaten his words – those words being “We’ll be better without you” after he fired Crosby.
This record may be a milestone in Byrds lore, and it’s good to actually listen to it, but it’s far from essential.