Back to Beguinnings. "Roger McGuinn". Governor Hindmarsh [review]
Bramwell, Murray Ross
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I first heard of Roger McGuinn when he was known as Jim. He was the serious young ectomorph in the houndstooth coat and little black lozenge spectacles on the cover of the first Byrds album. Foppish in their American Carnaby gear, singing harmonies four and five deep, the Byrds swooped on Bob Dylan songs and showed there really was another side to them. They layered and enriched the sketchy sound of early acoustic Dylan and with their careful diction raised up his poetic lyrics like jewellers setting gemstones. And the sound they added, like a dozen golden hammers, was Jim McGuinn’s chiming Rickenbacker twelve string guitar. McGuinn already had a career before the Byrds. As a kid barely out of high school he had been recruited to both the Limeliters and the Chad Mitchell Trio, riding high on the hootenanny craze of the early sixties. Growing up in Chicago he had been drawn to the folk scene, had attended the Old Town School of Folk and, at clubs such as the Gate of Horn, learned from such luminaries as Bob Gibson, Josh White and Odetta.