The Byrds – Unreleased Master Tape of “Change is Now” Alternate Version, Formerly Owned by David Crosby

An extraordinary Byrds collectible—a master tape of an alternate version of “Change Is Now’ with its original title, “Universal Decoder.”  “Change is Now” was eventually released on the 1968 album The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

The origins of this extraordinary collectible are best explained by the included letter of authenticity from longtime Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young associate Joel Bernstein:

Byrds- “Universal Decoder”, later “Change Is Now”- 5” reel with original 7.5 IPS mono audio tape and box, with the working title “Universal Decoder” handwritten by David Crosby on the back of the box in cursive with a red marker. Included is the master take (number 28, with slate and count by Roger McGuinn included prior to the downbeat), written by Roger McGuinnand Chris Hillman, and recorded at Columbia Recording Studios, Hollywood on August 29-30, 1967, but with, despite my original notes on the box, an early mono mix featuring the same vocal and lyrics, but uniquely without any of the pedal steel guitar parts played by Orville “Red” Rhodes, that appear in both the final mono and stereo versions of their Columbia LP “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” in January 1968….This was among a number of original reels of audio tape given me to in the the mid-1970’s by David Crosby. This reel was his own take-home 5” 7.5 IPS copy…(Bernstein goes on to detail how this alternate mix without overdubs was recorded and mixes…) (signed) Joel Bernstein

Joel Bernstein was Neil Young and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s tour photographer throughout their careers, photographing them for a number of album covers, concert programs, etc, and has continued archiving their career for individual and group projects. He has worked very closely with Neil Young, photographing him for 18 of his album covers, serving as his archivist, and overseeing numerous archival projects.  Bernstein has also been a guitar techician for Young, and for Bob Dylan, Prince, Joni Mitchell and others.

Included is a digital transfer of the tape, Bernstein’s letter of authenticity, and Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee of authenticity. (Note: The title on the box was handwritten by David Crosby; the rest of the writing is by Bernstein).

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