The ByrdsBallad Of Easy Rider

Label:Columbia – CS 9942
Vinyl, LP, Album, Santa Maria Pressing
Style:Country Rock, Pop Rock


A1Ballad Of Easy Rider
Written-ByR. McGuinn*
Written-ByJ. York*
A3Oil In My Lamp
Arranged ByThe Byrds
A4Tulsa County Blue
Written-ByP. Polland*
A5Jack Tarr The Sailor
Arranged ByThe Byrds
B1Jesus Is Just Alright
Written-ByA. Reynolds*
B2It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Written-ByB. Dylan*
B3There Must Be Someone
Written-ByV. Gosdin*
B4Gunga Din
Written-ByG. Parsons*
B5Deportee (Plane Wreck At Los Gatos)
Written-ByM. Hoffman*, W. Guthrie*
B6Armstrong, Aldrin And Collins
Written-ByS. Seely*, Z. Manners*

Companies, etc.



A4 is listed as "Tulsa County Blue" on liner and label.
"S" printed on back cover in the bottom-right corner of the white text box
Red "360 SOUND" STEREO labels.

An Equinox Production

All Selections BMI except where noted
A4, B1, B2 & B6 (ASCAP)

Manufactured by Columbia Records/CBS, Inc./51 W. 52 Street, New York, N.Y. Printed in U.S.A.

A1 (From the Columbia Motion Picture "Easy Rider")

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Label side A): XSM 151428
  • Matrix / Runout (Label side B): XSM 151429
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, etched ["o" stamped]): S XSM-151428 1A o A 7
  • Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, etched ["o" stamped]): s XSM-151429 1A o A
  • Rights Society (A4, B1, B2, B6): ASCAP
  • Rights Society (A1 to A3, A5, B3 to B5): BMI
  • Other (Printed, back cover): S

Other Versions (5 of 69)

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Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Ballad Of Easy Rider (LP, Album)CBSS 63795Netherlands1969
Recently Edited
Ballad Of Easy Rider (LP, Album, Stereo)CBSS 63795Italy1969
Recently Edited
Ballad Of Easy Rider (LP, Album)CBSS 63795UK1969
Recently Edited
Ballad Of Easy Rider (LP, Album, Stereo)CBS, ColumbiaSBP 233762, CS 9942Australia1969
Recently Edited
Ballad Of Easy Rider (LP, Album)CBS/SonySONP 50191Japan1969


  • streetmouse's avatar
    Edited 2 years ago
    It was only November of 1969 when this album arrived, meaning it’s only been a couple of years since “Mr. Tambourine Man” shattered the world, though within that short timeframe, the Beatles had stopped touring and were on the verge of breaking up, the end of a decade was at hand and the Byrds, well they were no longer the Byrds who helped usher in the psychedelic era, which too, was ebbing its way out the door.

    Founding member Roger McGuinn was the last man standing here, surrounding himself with an entirely different band, all of whom were both singers and songwriter, so it was entirely expected that this would be a good album … though it often does goes as sideways as a five year old running through the grocery store.

    “Jesus Is Just Alright” is a tragic cover, penned by Arthur Reynolds and first recorded by his folk group the Art Reynolds Singers back in 1966. Strangely enough it was drummer Gene Parsons who was in the recording studio with Reynolds who brought the number to the attention of Roger McGuinn. Perhaps nothing could be more antithetical to the Christian faith than the rock ‘n roll lifestyle of the 1960’s, yet Roger McGuinn lived through it and came out the other side healthy, happy with a loving devoted wife, and most profoundly with a deep and abiding faith in God the Father, Jesus his only begotten son and the Holy Spirit, which to my way of thinking is just arrogance … though it does explain why the song ended up on the album, and why I never played it. Arthur Reynolds would also pen another Byrds’ song “Glory Glory” where all of this nonsense, along with Dylan’s turn to Christianity, furthered the One Way movement, where lost hippies found their way home, if not to mom and dad, certainly to a disembodied concept roaming the heavens.

    Yet the Christian mantra doesn’t end there, the traditional Christian hymn “Oil In My Lamp” was flavored with country tinges, along with blended harmonies. All of this had me shaking my head in disbelief, unable to decide if this were a Christian album or an album with Christian songs, either way, spending money to be preached to was something I couldn’t abide, so the record was boxed away, until I later gave it to a friend.

    The album’s title track “Ballad Of Easy Rider” was re-recorded with the tempo speeded up, along with orchestration to make it a bonafide classic for both the times and the movie. The main lines from the song were penned by Bob Dylan on a napkin, with Dylan handing that to Peter Fonda saying, “Give this to McGuinn, he’ll know what do with it … “The river flows, it flows to the sea, wherever that river goes, that’s where I want to be, flow river flow,” and with that the “Ballad Of Easy Rider” was born.

    Then there’s another of an endless chain of Dylan covers, this time “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” a song the Byrds had attempted twice, as far back as 1965, this time finding the sweet spot by letting the song move on its own, allowing it to breathe, to become nearly ethereal.

    And what’s with country music and dogs, this time with the song “Fido,” about a dog York had found while on tour … simply another bit of goofiness, though many a listener eventually named their dog Fido in response. McGuinn would later say of the song, “To me ‘Fido’ was not a Byrds’ number, when you let the bass player do the lead vocal, it’s just not the same, it loses all of its cohesiveness.” Though (laughing) Roger never claimed that he could or would have done it better.

    Little known fact is that “Gunga Din” was Gene Parson’s nickname for John York, with York saying, “Gene wrote it about something that happened at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York. We always stayed there. In those days, it was real silverware and cloth napkins and very snooty. They sure liked our money, but they didn't like the boots and leather jacket I was wearing at the time. I wanted to take my mother to dinner but they wouldn't let us in the dining room. Normally I would have let it roll off my back, but because my mom was there I really went off and started screaming at the maitre d’.”

    I could go on and on about each track, yet it’s simply not worth the time, The Ballad Of Easy Rider represents the memory of a movie, and a very uncomfortable movie at that, leaving me to say that over the years, the Byrds have failed to lay down one single solid album that I could listen to from beginning to end without rolling my eyes, without feeling excluded, without a tribute to Mr. Dylan, without going so sideways that tossing it in the air and shooting it with one of Hunter Thompson’s shotguns was my only recourse.

    Review by Jenell Kesler



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