Folk Swinging Wave On – Courtesy of Rock Groups and Artists
By ELIOT TIEGEL
Hollywood –With Bob Dylan as the stimulus and the Byrds as the disciples, a wave of folk rock is developing in contemporary pop music.
British groups, such as the Animals and the Nashville Teens, have on occasions used pure country-folk materials. But their identity has been really in the Beatles vein. The Byrds, on the other hand, with a similar driving sound, are the first American rock group to obtain the majority of its material from the folk field and make a success out of it. Their Columbia single release, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” is the No. 6 record in the “Hot 100″ survey this week.
The five folk singers switched over to rock and roll when the Beatles made it fashionable to wear long hair and play amplified guitars.
Since the Byrds single was released, with San Francisco and Los Angeles were the first two markets accepting the Dylan-authored song, a host of other rock groups have caught the message. And the race is on the get on the folk-rock bandwagon.
Such acts as Billy J. Kramer, Jackie DeShannon and Sonny and Cher have all begun using folk-oriented materials on their singles. A new group, the Rising Sons, displayed a folk-rock style at their Ash Grove bow in Los Angeles recently. Joe and Eddie, Crescendo Records top folk artists, are now reportedly switching over to blend of folk-rock. An act billing itself as the Lovin’ Spoonful, reportedly is working in the New York area with a folk-rock sound.
When the Byrds played their first engagement at Ciros in Los Angeles, many folk artists attended. The boys rubbed elbows with Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary and, with Bob Dylan as well, who attended the Byrds’ L. A. venue. It was reported that several disk-men brought portable tape recorders to the club to catch their sound. The Byrds’ sound combines falsetto voicing with blaring guitar chords along with a rock bottom drum beat, songs already applicable for dancing with the current pop scene.
Their repertoire is heavily Dylan influenced, espousing his causes just above their din of their own playing. Their new album has four Dylan tunes and one by Pete Seeger. For some, the blending of folk lyrics with a rock beat becomes a natural extension for the current new folk sound. For the Byrds, this sound has become their key to their success.
They have already played dates with Britain’s own Rolling Stones, and a tie-in with the Beatles on their planned forthcoming United States tour has been mentioned. For the Byrds, TV appearances have already been in the making, giving more exposure to the new folk-rock sound.
If the folk-rock movement takes hold, a song’s lyrical contents could become as influential as the dominating beat that has always been the pride of rock and roll at best. With the Beatles in the main stream as one from the old rock-and-roll-school, and the Rolling Stones along with the Righteous Brothers, with their white R&B acts infused with euphoric soul, the Byrds are in flight towards a new plateau, combining the imagery of folk lyrics along with the wave the group is now riding with their newly-acclaimed sound. END.
(Information and news source: Billboard; June 12, 1965).