Dr Byrds and Mr Hyde

Nashville West: Quest For The Lost Song

Have you ever heard a song, maybe even loved a song, but never knew anything about it?  Never knew the name.  Never knew the artist.  Well, that has happened to me on several occasions.

Typically, the song is an instrumental, which makes sense because it’s impossible to search lyrics and find out the song title.  This happened with a great country-bluegrass ditty called “Nashville West.”

How I left Nashville to find “Nashville West”

I graduated from Vanderbilt University located in Nashville TN back in 1990.  Back in those days, I used to trade mix tapes with friends.  One of the very best mix tapes I received was from a college buddy soon after leaving Nashville.  Actually, my college buddy’s brother was the one who made the tape.  It was fantastic.  In fact, I’m actually trying to reconstruct the tape with a custom Youtube Playlist.  Anyway, one of the songs on that tape was “Nashville West” performed by The Byrds on their 1969 Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde album (written by Gene Parsons and Clarence White).

I lost that worn out mix tape many years ago, but that song never faded from my memory.  It has a happy jangly toe-tapping amble that makes me think about walking down a dirt path to a secret summer swimming hole with a rope swing.  Unexpectedly, there is a loud discordant shriek towards the end of the song, and the group breaks into more of a raucous, hard rocking coda with undecipherable gibberish.

My efforts to find out the song’s name included asking bluegrass aficionados and even posting questions to bluegrass forums.  Nothing.  A couple years ago, by happenstance, I came across the song while mindlessly perusing albums and sampling songs by The Byrds in iTunes.  (Sweetheart of the Rodeo, is one of my all time favorites).  I recognized the song instantly, and I was so happy to have it back in my music rotation.


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