As the title smartly suggests, this two-disc set comprehensively compiles the pioneering folk-rock band's pre-Columbia recordings, greatly expanding upon a like-titled 1969 compilation, with 40 tracks

As the title smartly suggests, this two-disc set comprehensively compiles the pioneering folk-rock band's pre-Columbia recordings, greatly expanding upon a like-titled 1969 compilation, with 40 tracks—16 heretofore unreleased—and a wonderful CD booklet, complete with David Fricke-penned liner notes. Contents find producer Jim Dickson, who had previously worked with Lord Buckley and bluegrass group the Dillards, sculpting a fresh sound out of Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke. Clearly, the pre-flight Byrds were following McGuinn and Clark's initial folk- duo desire based on Britain's Chad and Jeremy model, but when McGuinn decided to play 12-string, they began to fashion a sound, that on Preflyte, seems to presage everything from folk-rock to '60s L.A. rock and even Jefferson Airplane/ Grateful Dead-like psychedelia.—JB