ST-12043 City
Produced by Ron Albert & Howard Albert
Released on January 1980
Find it at GEMM
ST-12043 cover
[high resolution scan]

T he second album from the Byrds trio, diminished to a duo because of Gene Clark’s instability (sound like any other trios you know?). Clark wrote and sang on only two tracks, then split to sort things out or solve mysteries with Daphne and the gang or something, leaving McGuinn and Hillman on the hook with the Alberts to make another album. While it lacks the standout pop singles of their last album, City does sound more like the work of the Byrds, just not their best work. “Let Me Down Easy,” “One More Chance” and the silly “Skate Date” aren’t bad at all. “Painted Fire” and “Who Taught The Night” are, in fact, pretty bad. The pair probably should have spread these out a little farther, like CS&N regrouping every three to five years after they’d had a chance to stockpile better songs. While a lot of City is filler, it’s no worse than those Crosby & Nash albums. And the new decade found a lot of folk rockers floundering: Neil Young, Bob Dylan, etc. Most bands from the 60s and 70s have the 80s to thank for a dollar-album or two in the cut-out bin with their name on it. If you’re intent on owning everything by The Byrds and can defend these solo byrdflights the way most of us defend solo albums by the Fab Four, then you’ll find something of interest in City. McGuinn and Hillman have earned that kind of loyalty, and the clustering with Clark, however brief, will be too tantalizing to some, like the magic glyph of CS&N that has been invoked throughout the ages. There’s little magic on here, mostly mediocre and midtempo rock songs that shine in relation to the pleasure you get from Roger McGuinn’s voice, and not the reunion you bin looking for (every sentence, there is an imperfect ending).

ST-12043 back cover ST-12043 lyric sleeve
ST-12043 back cover ST-12043 lyric sleeve


  1. WHO TAUGHT THE NIGHT    (Chris Hillman/Peter Knobler)    3:13
  2. ONE MORE CHANCE    (Roger McGuinn/Jacques Levy)    4:10
  3. WON'T LET YOU DOWN    (Gene Clark)    3:54
  4. STREET TALK    (Chris Hillman/Peter Knobler/John Sambataro)    2:45
  5. CITY    (Roger McGuinn/Camilla McGuinn)    4:38
  6. SKATE DATE    (Roger McGuinn/Chris Hillman/Camilla McGuinn)    3:02
  7. GIVIN' HERSELF AWAY    (Tom Kimmel/Lynn Tobola)    3:48
  8. DEEPER IN    (Chris Hillman/Douglas L.A. Foxworthy)    2:42
  9. PAINTED FIRE    (Gene Clark)    2:54
  10. LET ME DOWN EASY    (Chris Hillman/Peter Knobler)    3:58


CHRIS HILLMAN -- bass, lead vocals, background vocals
SCOTT KIRKPATRICK -- drums, background vocals
ROGER McGUINN -- 6 & 12-string guitars, lead vocals, background vocals
JOHN SAMBATARO -- lead guitar, background vocals
Gene Clark -- lead vocals (3,9)
Chuck Crane -- guitar
Skip Edwards -- keyboards & steel guitar
Don Gehman -- engineer
Roy Kohara -- art direction
Phil Shima -- design
Jim McCrary, Larry DuPont -- photography

return to McGUINN, CLARK & HILLMAN discography

US January 1980 Capitol LP ST-12043 lyric sleeve
US 1996 One Way CD 18503  


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