Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My '60s Remastered - Crosby, Stills & Nash

Born from the ashes of Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds and the Hollies, the trio of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash released their self titled debut LP in 1969. It was an instant hit with it's blend of folk, pop and psychedelic rock and helped announce the singer/songwriter boom of the '70s. My parents had the album so I heard it a lot growing up, and I have always loved it. I personally don't think the trio ever reached this level of pure creativity again. This week brought a newly remastered and expanded (w/four new songs) version of it. I knew I had to have it to replace my crackly vinyl. These three had great voices and each of them has a distinct style of both singing and song writing. The harmonies and melodies on this record are glorious, capable of transcending even some of the schmaltzy sentimentality that peppers the record. It sounds awesome on the remaster - I've already played it two or three times since buying it yesterday! The hard part is picking music to share because there are so many good tunes on it - Suite:Judy Blue Eyes with it's classic latino flavored doo-doo-doo-doo-doos at the end, Marrakesh Express, all burbling and brimming with the promise of Morroccan mystery and hashish, Long Time Gone's somber reflection on the assasination of Robert F. Kennedy, the classic rock sound of Wooden Ships. It's ALL good. I'm going with the song that I played 3 or 4 times in a row, You Don't Have To Cry. It's a beautiful ballad, with loads of great guitar picking, and oh, those harmonies - they almost make me tear up with happiness when I hear them. I relate to the lyrics too, with their anti-establishment sentiment - "You are living a reality I left years ago, It quite nearly killed me. In the long run it will make you cry, Make you crazy and old before your time." It's a stunner. One of the bonus tracks is the lovely instrumental Song With No Words. It's all about gentle guitars and the dreamy doo-doo-dahs on this track from late '69, recorded before they started work on this album's follow-up, Deja Vu. The song reappeared in re-recorded form on Crosby's '71 solo LP If I Could Only Remember My Name.... A great reissue of a seminal album.

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