The Best Psychedelic Folk Rock Albums of All Time

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

A list of the best Psychedelic Folk Rock albums of all time, as decided by the editors of Paste Magazine.

The Byrds- “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”

“Sweetheart of the Rodeo” is the sixth album by The Byrds and was released on August 30, 1968 (see 1968 in music). It represented a departure from the band’s previous style, country rock, and leading to the considerable backlash against the band within the rock music community. Nevertheless, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” is generally considered to be a pioneering album in the development of country rock. It reached #24 on Billboard’s Top LPs chart and #45 on the UK Albums Chart. In 2003, it was ranked #114 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Bob Dylan- “Nashville Skyline”

Nashville Skyline is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 9, 1969 by Columbia Records as a country pop album.

The lead single from the album, “Lay Lady Lay”, reached number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. The album itself peaked at number three on both the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart.

Nashville Skyline was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1970 Grammy Awards, but lost out to Blood, Sweat & Tears’ self-titled second album.

Neil Young- “After the Gold Rush”

Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” is one of the most important and influential psychedelic folk rock albums of all time. Released in 1970, the album showcased Young’s unique talent for blending folk, rock, and country influences into a truly original and timeless sound. Featuring classic tracks like “Cinnamon Girl” and “Heart of Gold”, “After the Gold Rush” remains an essential listen for any fan of psychedelic folk rock.

Van Morrison- “Moondance”

“Moondance” is the third studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on 31 October 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. Moondance established Morrison as a major artist in rock and roll. The record includes one of Morrison’s signature songs, “Into the Mystic”.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 248 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and in 2012 it was ranked at number 19 on Pitchfork Media’s list of The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s.

The Band- “Music from Big Pink”

The Band’s debut album, Music from Big Pink, is one of the most influential and important albums in rock history. Released in 1968, the album featured the group’s unique blend of country, rock, folk, and blues, which would come to be known as “Americana.” The album’s first track, “The Weight,” would become a hit single, and the album itself would go on to be considered one of the greatest debuts of all time.

Grateful Dead- “Workingman’s Dead”

Workingman’s Dead is the fifth studio album by the Grateful Dead, released on June 14, 1970. The album and its commercial reception were greatly influenced by the band’s newfound popularity after their performance at the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair. This was the first album on which Robert Hunter collaborated with Jerry Garcia; he would later become one of the band’s primary lyricists. Workingman’s Dead was musically more concise and song-oriented than past Grateful Dead albums, partly due to Garcia’s new focus on songwriting contributed by Hunter.

The country rock sound represented a departure from the psychedelic style of their earlier recordings. Bob Weir said, “We wanted to be a good old-time band… Like Crosby, Stills and Nash or Buffalo Springfield”. The recording sessions for Side A were completed in three days, which was fast for the Dead. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA on August 13, 1997 and Platinum on April 5, 2001. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it number 262 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Creedence Clearwater Revival- “Cosmo’s Factory”

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Cosmo’s Factory” is often cited as one of the best psychedelic folk rock albums of all time. Released in 1970, the album features a blend of swampy blues, country, and rock that is both unique and timeless. CCR was at the height of their powers when they recorded “Cosmo’s Factory”, and the album is a testament to their songwriting, musicianship, and overall artistry. If you’re a fan of psychedelic folk rock, or simply want to hear one of the best rock albums ever made, check out “Cosmo’s Factory”!

The Flying Burrito Brothers- “The Gilded Palace of Sin”

The Gilded Palace of Sin is the debut album by the American country rock band the Flying Burrito Brothers, released in early 1969. It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential country rock albums ever made. The album was ranked number eight on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003, and number 38 on the same magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Country Albums of All Time” in 2015.

Emmylou Harris- “Pieces of the Sky”

On her second album, Emmylou Harris took the country out of country music. Backed by the hot picking of Gram Parsons’ The Flying Burrito Brothers and produced by Brian Ahern, Harris explored a new kind of Americana—one that looked beyond the Hank Williamses and Jimmie Rodgerses of the world to find common ground with the Grateful Dead and The Band. On songs like “Boulder to Birmingham” and her devastated take on Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho & Lefty,” Harris unlocked something profound in both herself and her audience, helping to pave the way for alt-country in the process.

Gram Parsons- “GP”

Gram Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was a founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and his work with both bands helped shape the development of country rock. Parsons’s Gram Parsons- “GP” is widely regarded as one of the best psychedelic folk rock albums of all time. The album was released in 1973 and features Parsons’s distinctive voice and guitar work.

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