"This song tells the story of a prospective suitor who asks a woman whether she will go with him. She replies that she cannot - she is betrothed to John Riley, who has gone over the seas. He persists, asking her whether Riley is worth waiting for - that he may be drowned, dead in the war, or married to another woman. She maintains that she will continue to wait for him, irrespective of his possible fate. In the last stanza, the suitor reveals that he is John Riley, returned from the seas, and has been testing his beloved."
That was taken from Wikipedia.
I've been listening to The Byrds a lot lately. There are so many layers to this amazing band that it never gets boring. One song that has been in heavy rotation is "Lady Friend," an absolutely gorgeous hidden gem written by David Crosby.
This description of "Lady Friend" is courtesy of "Fillmore's Attic."
“Lady Friend” is spazzy, rollicking folk-rock blitz of dead-on harmony and progressive chord changes which defy their standard blend of Rock. A trumpeting interlude only briefly gaps the wispy 2 minute blast of psychedelic fog. For whatever reason this track never made it on Younger Than Yesterday.
My buddy Steve over at Power Pop hipped me to a rare remix with a new drum track that is stunning. Thanks for that, Steve. (go check out Power Pop, when you are finished here at Burning Wood)
But a song that I keep going back to is "John Riley," from the "Fifth Dimension" album. The story could make the toughest man weep, the patented McGuinn guitar sound is right up front, and the sweeping string arangement paints a most vivid picture of Riley and his fair young maiden. I can't get enough of this song.
An epic in 3 minutes.
Listen and get swept away HERE