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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2006-09-30 - 1:58 p.m.

My knowledge of the Byrds does not run very deep, although I love all the hits and the few album tracks I'd heard over the years. They make Bob Dylan songs palatable to me. (Oh, hush, now, you know I have issues with Bob).

But nothing prepared me for "Universal Mind Decoder," a truly astonishing instrumental from 1966 that I heard today for the first time, courtesy of the excellent new Byrds box set, which gathers songs from every album, including early Beefeaters and Jet Set numbers.

Baby-faced Byrd photos poke out of every page of the booklet (they were only just out of their teens when they started), and the David Fricke-written liner notes are really good. And good lord what a sad story--so many early deaths, and not all of them were rock-n-roll debauchery-induced, either.

Anyway, I'm having a lovely, Byrdsian day.

And speaking of instrumentals, I have just stumbled upon a guitar duo who play nothing but instrumentals: Ecstatic Sunshine, whose Freckle Wars album is a pure delight.

It's like jazz for people with no attention span, reminiscent of Tom Verlaine's solo stuff, or Mike Watt's Dos: lots of space but plenty of melody and juice.

Today is the 2-year anniversary of my moving to Bay Ridge, and, as they do every year, they've closed off 3rd Avenue to throw me a big street fair. Thanks, Bay Ridge!

I love your restaurants, your Bay, your ships and foghorns and trees, your dog-friendly parks and people who say "underwears," your 24-hour diners and gym and D-Donuts, your pretty houses, and my beautiful apartment building. I love your R-train stations and your big ol' bridge.

Thanks for being my home.

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