George Starostin's Reviews



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Rose Mary <> (11.03.2000)

At last someone had the guts to say that CSN are overrated!! Besides " Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" there' s nothing else which could be considered a dignified output. And those barber-shop harmonies.....Uhhhh they really suck. And what's worst: Crosby's lyrics and dull songs. 'Almost cut my Hair' is a hippy anthem banal. Has Crosby ever considered to add MUSIC to his tunes? And hey George if you wanna spent a miserable afternoon, try to review Four-Way Street, CSN&Y's Live Album. I'll bet you'll shift to your Hollies Greatest Hits Collection instead or to Alanis Morrisette!!

Fredrik Tydal <> (13.03.99)

Of course CSN/Y are overrated! That's goes without saying. Can you possibly imagine the ludicrously high expectations people have had on these guys? I mean; think 1969. Three ex-members of reasonably successful bands hook up - a thing completely unheard of then (well, if you don't count Cream, which I don't). There's talk in the press, about how Crosby really was the heart of The Byrds since McGuinn's Byrds has lost creative height ever since Crosby's departure. And Stills, that hot guitar player from the intriguing Buffalo Springfield with the Kooper/Bloomfield blues-rock album already to his credit. And Nash - that pop song-writer with the pleasant voice whose Hollies had been all over the charts in Britain and to a lesser degree in the States. Take all these factors together and you'll see that the press stirred up a massive hype. Then the album comes. And it's fantastic, it really his. Then along comes Woodstock, where they pull of a good performance where they all come across as humble, sympathetic down-to-earth kind of guys - just like on the couch cover. All grand expectations are virtually met. Too bad they had to live up to them the rest of their career. And if that's not enough, Neil Young joins them (already at Woodstock, actually). Neil Young - the mysterious Canadian who had already put out two critic favourite albums - are finally reunited with his old Springfield buddy Stills.

The stage is set for the Deja Vu album. Ouch. I wouldn't even want to subject those unparalleled, other-worldly, ridiculously high expectations to my worst enemies.

<> (10.12.2000)

Mr. Tydal said it better than I could. I was there, I saw it happen and I foretold that not they or anybody could live up to the expectations & hype. Deja Vu didn't come up to the standard of CSN1 and they have suffered ever since for that sin.

And Rose Mary..."barber-shop" harmonies, "banal", "dull"....Y'know, I get a lot of this stuff from guys, you're the first female I've heard it from. What I tell the guys is that their problem is BALLADS. If they don't "get" ballads, they simply haven't known the right women....Sorry, but I think something analogous is at work here. Perhaps you find Pantera more tuneful.

It was the girls who turned us guys on to CSN1. And then they were for everybody.

And as for Four-Way Street, well, disk 2 shows that folk rockers can indeed ROCK LIKE HELL ON EARTH.

Especially 'Southern Man' and 'Carry On', where we get to hear the patented Stills-Young git-tar duels like the ones they had in the Springfield days. (but weren't recorded-more's the pity.) You get to hear Mr. Young invent grundge-rock. In 1970!

George and readers, do NOT pass judgment on cisny without hearing these tracks!

Glenn Wiener <> (30.07.2001)

What nice harmonies on these guys. Some good instrumental jams and certainly some great classic songs. Yes, Stephen Stills seemed to contribute the most to this trio and sometimes quartet. However Nash and Crosby had quite a few classics in their resumes. Even Neil Young was at his best with these guys and Neil sure was strong on the old axe(guitar for you non-musicians)! Anyway put these guys together and there are certainly many great songs. Déjà Vu is a solid effort and the debut sounds like a winner based on the songs I know and your wonderful review. The reunion CSN album is pretty good with such stellar numbers as 'Cathedral', 'Dark Star', and 'I Give You Give Blind'. Truly, a worthy band.

Grubbs, George <> (08.08.2001)

Simply one of the greatest groups ever! There's no other group like them; they are unique, talented, and superb in every way. Their harmonies and profound lyrics and musicality simply can't be matched.

Long live CSN

<> (01.04.2002)

Not catchy huh? i was pretty sure there was a time when they got 300,000 or so people pretty psyched up. Oh yeah WOODSTOCK. the second time they played together in front of people and they were better than most of the other acts. Also i'm kind of tired of you saying "Catching the American Spirit Crap". And by the way, Neil Young has every right to have a spotlight with the band maybe thats why the concert tickets range from $35 for CSN to $150 CSNY, just one extra letter. Also Deja Vu is awesome in every way. And how you did not catch that i have no clue. Maybe you should start listening and stop slamming.

<> (08.06.2002)

Got to agree with George on several points here...wait a minute. What was that noise? George please get up! I did say agree! Anyway...George is right on the fact that CSN will never release another album as good as the first one. Maybe it was the fact that each member was so frustrated with their own respective bands, that their creative energies poured out. Heck, 'Wooden Ships' so inspired Jackson Browne, that he wrote the song "For Everyman" in response. There have been moments after that however...'Southern Cross', 'Wasted On The Way', 'Teach Your Children', 'Just A Song Before I Go'. These guys know how to make music. I've personally always thought of David Crosby as the strongest/weakest link with this band. Not only was he the most gifted singer, but if only he was able to resist temptation with drugs, this band could've been ten times more successful than they were. They probably would've gotten along better too. A classic example of Crosby's potential back then is his exquisite solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name. The fact David has gotten his life back in order is extremely encouraging. Stephen Stills' previous band is exellently documented in a great box set from Rhino records called simply Buffalo Springfield. Stills was the most gifted musician, but the weakest singer, which brings us to Graham Nash. George mentions he'd love to hear Graham's solo work sometime. May I recomend you go and find Songs For Beginners and play it from start to finish. That may be the only Nash solo album you need as he didn't really didn"t have any more worthwhile after that one. The Crosby/Nash albums of the seventies had their moments, but one could tell something was missing. These three guys had a bond in which Neil Young could not even penetrate. On a good day they could save the world...on their worst, they could only offer a small glimmer of hope at their potential. Get the first album and be wise in choosing after that one.

Ken BITZ\(E\) <> (13.07.2002)

Personally, I think CSN&Y are the best thing to hit music and history will never be the same. You want lame lyrics, go see Jim Morrison or Tom Petty. I need the words to "Teach Your children" Does anyone dare send the correct version to me?

Steve Potocin <> (06.12.2002)

Now think about this; Take Three of the BEST bands of the 60s. Now take the better talent from those bands, and what do you have? I'll tell you what you have, proof that Supergroups are not as good or entertaining as the groups they came from! CSN&Y at their best, never matched the best work of the Byrds, Hollies, or Buffalo Springfield! What do you think about that?

Richard Nightingale <> (06.05.2003)

It's weird that these guys always get such an enthusiastic write up from rock critics.I say weird because as good as they were these guys had passed their peak as songwriters with the groups they had just left.Stephen Stills was without doubt at his peak on the first two Buffalo Springfield albums. Although credited to "Clarke-Hicks-Nash" Graham never hit the stride he had on For Certain Because or Butterfly.Weak as David Crosby's songs are he did get it right on Fifth Dimension and Younger Than Yesterday, two of The Byrds finest albums.As far as ratings go I tend to agree with you here(now there's a first!) although I would give Deja Vu 11.

Steven Maginnis <> (22.07.2003)

This is a good group (not really a band -- three guitars do not a band make) that could have been a great group, but they spent their most creative years arguing with each other and recording solo and duo albums (as well as the two Manassas albums courtesy of Mr. Stephen Stills). It's like this; I enjoy the first Manassas album, but if David Crosby and Graham Nash had been in Criterion Studios with Stills, if Stills had challenged the duo to write stronger songs than what appeared on the first Crosby-Nash album that same year (1972), and if Crosby and Nash had their own ideas to contribute for Stills's consideration. . . .Well, we'll never know how it would have turned out, will we? Could a good Crosby-Nash album like Wind on the Water have benefited from Stills's participation? Again, there's no answer to that. Basically, you had here three fine musicians who functioned best as a single unit, and they should have been more aware of that. They're still wonderful to listen to, though, either as a group or in many of their various permutations (solo, duo, whatever).


Nick Einhorn <> (04.08.2000)

Both Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield played on Higway 61 Revisited - Kooper played the organ part in "Like A Rolling Stone", as well as various other pieces on the album. There was another keyboard player, whose name I forget: this was probably the first album to have the two keyboard sound which would inspire The Band, Procol Harum, and some other bands.

<> (09.02.2001)

If you ever get around to constructing a page about Mike Bloomfield, that would be the place for Supersession, even if Bloomer's only on one side. The Bloomfield side is much stronger than the Stills side - Stephen barely makes his presence felt in my opinion. The highlight for me is toward the end of "Holy Modal Majesty" after Kooper gets done screwing around. Bloomfield goes off into a really jazzy solo improvisation that makes my jaw drop even now. Then they go into a great B.B. King-style blues to close the side out. Bloomfield was probably the first American guitar hero - check out his work on "The Paul Butterfield Blues Band" or - especially - "East-West." Then give A Long Time Comin' by the Electric Flag a listen. I wish someone would take the time to put out a decent anthology of Bloomfield's work, because he's been unjustly forgotten


Richard C. Dickison <> (10.08.99)

What a debut album though, I mean take this as the first time these guys had put this sound together and it starts them at a nice peak.

You've named the major winners here 'Suite Judy Blue Eyes', 'Marrakesh Express', and 'Guinnevere' never was a problem for me, wow what voice these guys brought to that song, love that atmosphere. They justified there whole exsistence with that one. 'Wooden Ships' was complex and a little harder to get into. They could grate your ears with all that self rightousness and sugar sappy love love love anthems but hey I'll pay the admission price to hear 'Guinnevere' again.

CSNY's Didja Poo was better loved by the critics but I'll keep this one for my preferred folk fixs thank you.

Fredrik Tydal <> (18.10.99)

I just have to gush over this marvellous album. If I had to listen to only one album the rest of my life, this would be it. Sure, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Blonde On Blonde and Pet Sounds are all better in many ways - but no album gets you in such a good mood as CSN's debut. Of course, it takes a while to get into the album - I myself wasn't that impressed at first - but it grows on you. Anyone who hasn't got this album in their collection should get it as soon as possible.

Bob Josef <> (05.08.2000)

Well, I'm in the more typical camp that says this album pales considerably when compared with Déjà vu. The only way this record is stronger is that it had a more unified sound -- Déjà vu does sound like the band is already falling apart.

But the album sound is so wimpy! Almost no edge at all. What rhythm section work there is is way too muted. And Nash's two tracks are the worst offenders! His solo vocal on "Lady of the Island" is a real snoozer. While he is a great harmony singer, as a lead vocalist he leaves much to be desired. And "Marrakech Express" sounds like a nag whenever it comes on (I even thought this at the age of 12!) Allan Clarke did most of the lead vocals with the Hollies for a very good reason.

The songwriting from Crosby and Stills is really solid, though, which does redeem the record. Crosby does have an unusual way with melodies ("Guinnevere"), and Stills already proved he was the top talent in the band. But some cojones were desperately needed here. By the way, Stills was not the main writer of "Wooden Ships" -- Crosby wrote the music, and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane (whose version is infinitely better) came up with the majority of the lyrics. Stills only wrote the third verse ("Horror grips us as we watch you die...). Evidently more morbid than the usual hippie type, apparently.

Richard Levy <> (25.08.2000)

This is a great album that brings back memories of high school and college in the 70's. I used to listen to Crosby Stills & Nash lying down in bed with the lights and volume low, enjoying the images and harmonies. Also, I have a vivid memory of driving with a bunch of friends to Killington, Vermont for a intersession ski week. It was the middle of the night, a light snow was falling, and Crosby, Stills & Nash was playing on the car stereo. It was perfect.

Kevin Baker <> (31.12.2000)

A few days ago, I went to a local store to spend some of my Christmas money on some new CDs. I bought 6 new albums; 2 Led Zeppelin, 2 Deep Purple, 1 Rolling Stones, and...this one. It was the black sheep of the bunch, I suppose. However, black don't mean bad, and this was one of the better purchases I've made recently.

Of course, I'd heard 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' numerous times before. I greatly enjoy that song; there is not a genuinely weak part to the song. The harmonies and melody is beyond wonderful, the lyrics are lovely, and the guiar playing is above average. The song creates a very relaxing, light emotion to invade your mind and settle there for the rest of...well, for some the day, others the hour, others the album, others the song. In a particularly memorable listening, it relaxed me to the point of sleep. Then the song changed to 'Born To Run' by Bruce Springsteen (radio on the plane I was flying on), woke me up, and I greatly embarrased myself in front of a very nice young lady from Arizona whose address I should have gotten if I'd been thinking straight...sorry for the rant. I need a life (thats almost a mantra to me now.) Anyways, it all depends. And thats another part of what makes it such a great song; it affects everyone, but not everyone is affected in the same way. That is a goal of good music.

I didn't like 'Marrakesh Express' at first; WAY too poppy for me. At first. After a few listens, it grew on me. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that this album was cozy and homey. Thats part of why things grow on you with this one; it captures the same feeling of sitting around a fireplace with a few buddies and playing (if you can) a few songs together. At any rate, Marrakesh Express is entertaining, if a bit mindless. And hey, it has at least one moment of great lyricism. That opening line, "Looking at the world through the sunset in your eyes"....coolness!

'Guinnevere' is fantastic folkiness at its finest, if you'll pardon the alliteration. David Crosby the Sperm Whale (just ask Melissa Etheridge about that one) will never be one of my favorite songwriters, but he really outdoes himself with this one. Fantastic imagery in the lyrics, EXCELLENT guitarmanship, and typically fabulous vocals come together in this folk gem. I heard he wrote it for his girlfriend who later died in a car crash. That was what got him using crack......a very sad tale indeed.

'You Don't Have To Cry' isn't particularly impressive, but it's good nonetheless. I suppose its another song about Stills' lady friend, Judy Collins (see the first track for his love song opus magnum.) The same general mood of "good, but not breathtaking" is also present in the next song, 'Pre-Road Downs'. Just a Hollie-ish popsong.

In a complete 180, we next have 'Wooden Ships'. Unlike you, George, I do like the Jefferson Airplane version. Both bands give it different treatments, but each treatment works excellently for the respective bands' playing styles, if that makes any sense. However, I do think the CSN treatment is better; that dialogue between Stills and Crosby is excellent usage of musical technique to add theatrical or dramatic elements to a piece of music. The lyrics are very touching as well. Thats where the JA version gets points; the emotion in Grace Slick's voice seems very real and powerful. However, this is the more listenable version of the song, and the organ was a good, moody touch.

'Lady Of The Island' is a beautiful song, and the best Graham Nash song on here. It's just so laid back and tenderly touching I can't help but enjoy it. The song almost has a dreamy feel to it. The almost dark notes in the midsection give the song a nifty feel to it. Plus, the lyrics are very un-Nashlike, which in this case is a compliment.

I also enjoy 'Helplessy Hoping'. I think it has the best vocal delivery on the album, but thats probably just me. The words are fine, and the playing's good.   'Long Time Gone' is probably the edgiest song on here, and I can see why it got adopted as a hippie anthem. The organ reminds me of 'In Memory of Elizabeth Reed', but just the organ part. No other resemblance can be found there. The lyrics are the best part.

'49 Bye-Byes' is the only letdown. It would be good if it were shorter, but that is the main flaw; everything else is up to usual CSN levels for this album. All in all, this one is a refreshing listen, and it has aged very well. Very well indeed.

PS. I've had a change of heart about 'You Don't Have To Cry'. I love it. It just has a feel to it that makes a cut above, say 'Pre-Road Downs' or '49 Bye Byes'. Plus, I can play it on my guitar.

Coleman Brice <> (17.01.2001)

Crosby Stills & Nash - Self Titled Debut has been reissued on 180 gram vinyl by Classic Records. . . The sound is incredible - better than the original! Visit for more info

Ryan Maffei <> (30.03.2002)

The unlikely combination of the wild former Byrds' songwriter David Crosby, sophisticated country-rocker Stephen Stills, and happy-pop band Hollies leader Graham Nash, delivers an LP's worth of surprisingly fruitful rock'n'roll with their eponymous debut record. While somewhat dated musically (psychedelic organs and heavy cymbals are abound in the arrangements), and with a heavy reliance on the vocal harmonies that sometimes detracts attention from the actual music (see the middling "You Don't Have to Cry" and "Helplessly Hoping"), the whole of Crosby, Stills and Nash is quite accomplished from a songwriting standpoint, featuring some of Nash's best pop music ("Marakkesh Express"), Crosby's most appealing rockers (the anthemic "Long Time Gone"), and Stills' most ambitious, well-crafted material overall, including the excellent bookends "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and "49 Bye-Byes". Quite effective, for the work of a (well-matched, I have to say) potentially egotistical trio of musicians. An 8.

<> (09.06.2002)

This is an absolute classic, no two ways about it. This however is not my favorite CSN album. That honor goes to the 1977 reunion album entitled CSN and is every bit this record's equal. As George has not gotten around to reviewing that one yet, I'll refrain from making any comments about it. Crosby turns in a couple of fine tunes in 'Guinnevere' and 'Long Time Gone'. Staples of their setlist to this day. 'Wooden Ships' was also his. He wrote that one on his boat with Paul Kantner. Stills added the part about the berries. Got that info from a tv special. 'Marrakesh' is a tune the Hollies turned down so Nash contributes that one here. It was the first single off the album and did well with it's eastern theme. Owing a debt to the growing fascination of that part of the world back then. Got to agree with some of the comments I've read in that 'Lady Of The Islands' never did anything for me either. If you're a fan of harmonies as I am, 'Helplessly Hoping' will floor you. I was in a beach bar one time and these local acoustic entertainers were on stage doing their thing. They broke into this tune with three part harmony right on the money. Was so impressed I went up and shook their hands. Stills obviously has the album's highlight, 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes'. Awesome acoustic guitar work and yet another example of how well these three could harmonize together. All three would go on to write better songs, but hardly ever again did one of their albums mesh this well.

Glenn Wiener <> (24.09.2003)

Finally got my hands on this CD. Its certainly a good one but a little short of greatness. 'Long Time Gone', 'Wooden Ships', and 'Marakesh Express' are all great tunes. 'Pre-Downs Road' and 'Helplessly Hoping' are pretty good as well. '49 Bye Byes' is badly maligned by you.

Some of the other tunes are a bit beat. 'Lady of the Island' and 'Guinevere' drift a bit too much without having a good melody. 'Suite Judy Blue Eyes' is OK but most definitely is a little long.

A good one yes, but not quite on the outstanding level.

By the way, David Crosby was the primary writer and singer on 'Wooden Ships'.

Brian Donovan <> (24.07.2004)

Still the best of all the CSN albums in their various group permutations. There's one dog, "Lady of the Island" and two good-but-not-great acoustic guitar and harmony pieces "You Don't Have To Cry" and "Helplessly Hoping."

The rest is top-notch. Stills was really a consummate musician with his tripling on guitars, bass and keyboards. Most impressive is "Long Time Gone" with that moody underlay of bass and organ and then that paranoid crackling guitar on top.

I want to speak up for two "pop"-sounding cuts, "Pre-Road Downs" and "49 Bye-Byes." "Pre-Road" has a drive that picks things up after the two slow tunes that preceded it and a Beatle-ish feel to the melody. (I like the version on Four Way Street even better). "49 Bye-Byes" is similar, especially after they move into the second section of the song.

Those tunes and "Marrakesh Express" got the group some criticism as being "bubblegum." I remember seeing Stills interviewed about this and you should have seen him when the "bubblegum" bit came up. He looked like a missile about to blast off!

Alexey Provolotsky <> (30.09.2005)

The case when the first is bound to be the best. They were not involved in solo projects, they just got together and everyone did his best. C,S N an inspiring collection of amazing vocals, catchy melodies (David Crosby STILL stands alone) and breathtaking harmonies. Not all of these songs are great, but they are very lovely at worst. Sure enough, everyone is playing his game. Graham Nash (a.k.a. the most reliable musician of the bunch) offers two upbeat and catchy (he’s from the Hollies, for Chrissake!) pop tunes (of which “Marrakesh Express” is particularly engaging) and one sappy, but very nice ballad, called “My Lady Of The Island”. Stills (a.k.a. the guy who doesn’t surprise) wrote four songs, and at least two of them I absolutely adore: the unforgettable “Helplessly Hoping” (come on, what’s wrong with it? The melody is first-rate!) and, quite obviously, the opening suite. It takes genius to write this song. Everything (harmonies, melodies) seems to work fine on this acoustic masterpiece. You can’t but feel chills when you get closer to the culminating part, which is so gorgeous. His two others contributions are not very strong (the first one is, yes, rather pedestrian and the closing “49 Bye-Byes” isn’t very satisfying melodically; but both are quite decent and don’t hurt much). And the one who really shines here is, of course, David, the Seek-For-That-Melody guy. Both “Wooden Ships” and “Guinnevere” are very exquisite and warm. Crosby’s angelic voice will soften even the toughest heart. And “Long Time Gone” is a surprising, but very effective rocker.

And there you have your Crosby, Stills Nash, an album of striking and very fragile beauty. Don’t miss it, for they will never even come close to that. A thirteen overall.


Richard C. Dickison <> (10.08.99)

See how much easier it is to take Young when he is packaged with these guys.

I think thats the real reason this album went over so well.

The critics could finally rave about Neil and not look like total fools.

Other than that I agree that the CSN album was better but then Young would'nt have a really good reputation would he, hmmmmm.

Glenn Wiener <> (14.09.99)

Originally, I was not the biggest fan of these guys. However, with NEW music being so dissappointing, I decided to borrow this CD from my local library recently. You know what, these guys are really pretty darn talented and the vocals are sung with much emotion. Even Neil Young's contributions are decent and in general I am not a fan of his off key whining. Graham Nash's tunes 'Teach Your Children' and 'Our House' are probably the best songs as well as the excellent cover of 'Woodstock'. Overall the blend between the loud and soft is well aranged over the course of this album.

Fredrik Tydal <> (12.12.99)

Well, I have mixed feelings about this album. It's certainly not as good as 1969's Crosby, Stills & Nash, but if an album is hyped doesn't necessarily means that it's bad. The only real stand-out is Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock". The rest is a mellow blend of songs which actually add up to a quite impressive whole. All four hold a consistant quality in their respective songs. It actually feels as if Young is delivering second-rate material.

Bob Josef <> (07.08.2000)

I'm surprised on how many people seem to prefer the first album over Déjà vu. Maybe it's not being around during the times -- this was the second LP I ever bought.

The "group" is really unintegrated here, I have to admit -- the sessions were rife with tensions. And the addition of a tough rhythm section really helps to undo the wimpiness of the last album. Young doesn't even appear on any tracks except his own and "Woodstock". But, nonetheless, song for song, this is so much better than album #1. Much clearer production. I love the impressionism of Young's two solo compositions. "Everybody I Love You" is an energetic bit of fun. "Carry On" has great harmonies and rocks (by the way, the second half is a revamp of the Buffalo Springfield's "Questions"). "4 +20" is haunting. "Déjà vu" continues Crosby's excursions into weird mysticism (cool!). And as for Nash, he comes up with two big winners, saved again by keeping his lead vocal low key and bringing the harmonies to full prominence. "Our House" sounds more like it belongs on the Beach Boys' Friends than it does among all this psychedelic weirdness, but it works. "Teach Your Children" is another great sentiment that doesn't get washed in the corniness Graham would come up with later, and I agree, they do the definitive "Woodstock" here.

However, a BIG agreement on the hideous "Almost Cut My Hair," which is surpasses anything on the first album in sheer awfulness. Crosby's worst song to date (and a strong candidate for ever). Grating lead guitar noises, a bombastic lead vocal, no harmonies and totally obnoxious, self-righteous lyrics. The only saving grace at all was that it was edited for inclusion here, but the boxed set has a full length nine minute version which should be banned by Amnesty International for potential use as a torture device. This is the reason CD programming was invented. Although, I must say that the song was actually tolerable live as a solo acoustic number. But not here!!

Didier Dumonteil <> (24.02.2001)

The first thing to bear in mind is that there are CSN and there is NY.Crosby was part of the magnificent Byrds but i've always preferred McGuinn,Hillman and Clark to him and by far.Nash took naivete to new limits with the ridiculous "teach your children" (well,the father's hell will slowly go by tralalalala) and have you tried to study the words to "our house"? is a very very fine house with 2 cats in the yard...As for "chicago" ,and for Nash's commitment,if you can't say something nice....Better take the highly underrated Phil Ochs (even Clash paid  a tribute to him on Sandinista).Stephen Stills is a fine guitarist but as a singer/songwriter he's tedious,to say the least. Neil Young? He wrote oodles of unforgettable tunes,his monumental discography is full of incredible peaks and terrifying failures but he never stopped trying ,he never gambled on the success of an album(harvest for instance) to release photocopies of a best-seller.NY is melodic to the core,even in his most electric ravings (like a hurricane,cortez the killer,my my into the black)And when it comes to ballads he's one of the best (thrasher,pocahontas,tell me why,dreamin'man,helpless,to name but a few).

Mark Koenigsberg <MKoenigsberg@DCMDE.DCMA.MIL> (21.05.2002)

I just bought a cassette of Deja Vu to listen in the car and I can't wait to go riding cause their songs are going around in my head. I bought the album when it was released. I think you should have a separate category just for harmony or is that your listenability.

Anyway as far as harmony heres my top three in no particular order, CSNY, Bee Gees, Mamas & Papas. The song Woodstock is legendary for its lyrics and the way its done. Understand, back in 67 everyone had long hair, and 'Almost Cut My Hair' was something everyone could relate to, cause sometimes you got sick of it, but you never actually went through with it. So these types of songs have unforgettable meaning to those of us around 50. Also, considering what 4& 20 is about, no wonder it is short, would you really want to hear a a full ballad of this darkness, and there is no where to go after contemplating your own end. All and ALL this is a classic.

Jon Gray <> (25.10.2002)

Just thought I would say one thing: the entrance of the harmonica in "Country Girl" is really superterrific. If there was ever a moment where a harmonica player could vamp on a platform and then do that guitar-player-legs-in-a-V-jump-before-a-crushing-power-chord-entrance thing, this is that moment. Other than that, listen to George.

Jean Marlow <> (27.04.2004)

I suppose the obvious thing to say is "you should have been there"; and when I listen to this, I almost am! This was my absolute favourite album when it was new. I had to buy the CD because the vinyl was worn through almost to the other side! When I revisit it now, it isn't as good as I remembered it. I think it's still worth a bit more than 7, but I now recognise that it is more a collection of songs; two each by the four individuals and two more by the group. On the original record, they each have one song on each side and one for the group. Democracy in action?

George, I think that you are being a LITTLE harsh about a couple of the songs. You may well be right (in fact almost certainly are) that David Crosby was on a different planet for his contribution, but I have always loved *Almost cut my hair*. I don't pretend to understand it (perhaps if I had been using the same substances??? Nah!!!), but nevertheless, it grabs me, and I like it. A lot. I would have to improve my critical faculties in order to explain it fully. I read that it was about the Vietnam war, but I don't really see it myself (substances needed again???) Maybe it was simply what it seems; about growing your hair, which was a new thing in the 60's. Do you cut it off, confirm with the conventional, or stay a *hippy*

I agree with Mark's comments about '4 + 20'; this is such a dark song, that it would be too painful if it went on further. It seems banal to say that I *love* this song. Love is the wrong word. It moves me, and wounds me more now than it ever did before. Too many of my friends have ended their own lives in the intervening years for me to ever take lightly any song about it, yet alone such a bleak, perfect exploration of the pain of living. I cannot be objective about this song.

The Graham Nash songs seem so light and inconsequential, but his melodies are warm and inviting, and even though the lyrics seem superficial, I could listen to him forever. Incidentally, I saw him in a concert some years ago; he said that as a songwriter, one good love song per year is enough to keep his love life on track. I think *our house* qualifies.

Neil Young; in my eyes, he can do very little wrong. I could listen to *Country Girl* and *Helpless* on a continuous loop. It is interesting that his contributions are so strong, and yet the group worked so well without him. I think he added an edge which was otherwise missing. Country girl is probably my favourite song on the album.

Or maybe my favourite is *Woodstock* Incidentally, CSNY performed at Woodstock (on the Woodstock album, David Crosby announced that it was the second time thy had played together), but Joni Mitchell didn't; I think that she was one of the half a million strong. I heard this version before I heard her original version. Her ethereal version fits in better with the words and the entire concept of the Woodstock nation, but this rocks, and I think I prefer it.

I think that this album suffers a little because it's reputation is S-O-O-O high; the expectations are similarly high, and there are very few albums (or anything else) which can live up to such hype. Listening to it now, it is still a damn fine album. Just maybe not quite as good as we thought it was, way back then.

I ALMOST wish I'd kept my caftans and mini skirts!

Brian Donovan <> (04.08.2004)

To me the best song on the album is "Carry On" particularly when it goes into a brilliant updating of the Springfield's "Questions" with that bass riff and the way everything falls in the pocket with it. "Everybody I Love You" sounds more like Stills than Young to me, though it's hard to say why. But I like the energy and the electric guitar leads, and the anthemic chorus.

When I first heard Neil Young's voice I thought "sheesh, this guy thinks he can sing?" But it does grow on you, so it is with "Helpless." "Country Girl" has all that and a big sound as well. "Woodstock" has lots of guitar again, with Neil's patented lead style.

The rest is a bit disappointing though. "Almost Cut My Hair" I thought was a put-on or self-parody when I first heard it. I like the guitars and jamming but how could anyone take those lyrics as seriously as Cros did? Nash's stuff is really lightweight - "Teach Your Children" got a lot of radio play when it came out, which probably reduces my opinion of it, just too much. And "Deja Vu" itself, why would they title an album after this? It just kind of meanders without going anywhere.

Somehow you can't help ranking these guys by their individual quality in each album. Here I have Stills just slightly ahead of Young for the gold with Nash and Crosby well back and tied for a bronze.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (30.09.2005)

I still can’t understand how they managed it, but comparing to C,S N this is simply no good. Most of these songs go nowhere at all! The album sounds sleepy, bland and boring. Stills offers two uninspired songs that are forgettable. See, I can’t call them bad, they are just very uninteresting. Like boring folk should be. Nash contributes two throwawayish but still catchy enough (he’s from the Hollies!) numbers. As for the most unreliable guy, Crosby, his songs border on possessing no melodies, but both are saved by David’s charm. Mitchell’s “Woodstock” is a huge disappointment, being just nothing special. Okay, so the chorus is quite catchy and the singing is nice, but the song simply doesn’t strike me as great. The guy who really saves the party (and who, together with Stills buries it at the end), is, quite naturally, Neil Young. Both of his songs are memorable and lovely enough to be called the best here. I mean, together with Nash’s composition and perhaps “Woodstock”, they are the only things here I can sing right now. But, remember, Nash’s songs, besides catchiness, have nothing behind them, while Neil’s stuff has some emotions and pleasant, relaxing atmosphere. Oh, and “Everybody I Love You” is simply BAD.

Déjà Vu grew on me a bit, ‘cause if I wrote this comment after the first listen, I’d have been really merciless. I’ve softened a little. But even now I can safely say that this is rather a feeble and absolutely unattractive record. Like George, I can’t find a song here I would like to hear again and again. But despite all that, I still can’t give this a low rating. Probably a high 10 or even a low 11, but that’s more of a negative 10 or 11.


Bob Josef <> (05.08.2000)

Almost as strong as Déjà vu, and the best solo album ever put out by C, S or N. The diversity of styles is amazing, but it all holds together, unlike Déjà vu, because it's all Stills.

However, we disagree on the best songs. "To a Flame," I think, is by far the WORST song. An overproduced cocktail bar number. The strings are oppressive and the vibes too far forward in the mix -- Steve's "The Long and Winding Road." And "Black Queen" never did much for me, either. The liner notes credit a bottle of tequila because he drank the entire thing before writing the song, and it sounds like it. I was also going to say that I don't care for it because I'm not really into the blues, except that would contradict my feelings about "Go Back Home," which I do agree with you is terrific. I also agree that "Old Times, Good Times" is overrated. One thing this track brings to mind is that Steve does have a distinctive touch with the Hammond organ. He's not exactly Steve Winwood with the instrument, but his playing on the early records always sounded pretty cool, and you always know it's him, whether it's on this track, "Love the One You're With," "Wooden Ships" or even the Jefferson Airplane's "Turn Your Life Down."

You overlook "Cherokee," which is neat jazz-rock fusion tune - -he succeeds here where he fails with "To a Flame." I think my favorite is "Do for the Others," where Steve creates those CSN harmonies all by his multitracked self. As for the rest of the songs, I'm always sucked in by gospel vocals, so I think those four songs work better WITH those arrangements.

A great debut. But Steve's songwriting would never be as consistent again, and he would never top this album (and neither would CSN, for that matter).

<> (18.08.2000)

Does 'Love the one you're with' sound like 'You can't always get what you want' or am I going crazy?

Jesse Sturdevant <> (17.01.2001)

Out of the initial post-Deja Vu solo efforts (Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, Young's After the Gold Rush, and Nash's Songs for Beginners are the others) Stills' debut is the weakest. I've only had this for a couple of days, so maybe it'll grow on me later. You're right about 'Church', George--it's pretty awkward. The version of 'Black Queen' is good, but a much better one can be found on CSNY's Four Way Street (remastered version). I've always liked 'Love the One You're With', and I think 'Sit Yourself Down' was a minor hit also. 'To A Flame' is spectacular, definitely one of the highlights. Some of the tunes border on overproduction though, like on 'We Are Not Helpless'. All in all it's a good effort. I've heard that Stephen Stills 2 (1971) is somewhat of an improvement. We'll see.

Joe <> (16.04.2001)

I was shocked when you didn't recognize "Black Queen" as your initial favorite on the album. However, I understand that music likes and dislikes are purely subjective. Now, I will subject you to mine. Personally, I love 'Black Queen'. I drift towards this song because of its very bluesy roots. The intro provided by Stills on the live double disc set is great. He tells the story of how he first heard the song. Isn't that what music of many types is about? Storytelling. Stills plays a great acoustic guitar and this song is unmatched on Stills as far as my opinion goes. Thanks for your time.

<> (29.06.2002)

This is one of my personal favorites of all time. The album never had to grow on me, I loved it the first time I heard it. Throughout, Stills showcases his musical proficiency by handling lead guitar as well as keyboards, bass, and occasional percussion. On 'Love The One You're With', he even plays the steel drums! This man's talent has never been in question. I like Stills best on just his acoustic guitar. I love acoustic music. There's no overdrive pedals, banks of keyboards, or wall of sound productions to hide behind. It's just you and your talent for the whole world to see. There's a couple of nice things on here in that style such as 'Black Queen'. I personally prefer the version on the remastered edition of 4 Way Street better but this is still very hot. 'Old Times Good Times' has a very Spencer Davis Group feel to it with a wicked organ solo from Stephen. I do like Church. It has a nice feel to it. It's also pretty cool to see an artist so well established in one genre of music tackle another style occasionally. That's really the purpose of a solo album isn't it? David Crosby and Graham Nash stop by to sing some backup on a couple of tunes. 'Sit Yourself Down' being one of them. Again featuring Stephen on guitar and piano. 'Cherokee' is a great tune with Booker T Jones contributing some fine organ playing. I can't name a favorite off of this as I dearly love this album and to me they're all good. This is a great introduction for someone looking to start a Stephen Stills or CSN collection. One final thought...when I hear this album, and Crosby's first solo album, and Nash's first solo album I can't help but wonder why these guys couldn't have gotten along better. If these were CSN albums they would be considered among rock's elite albums. Stills would go on to make more great music, but this is his finest hour.

<> (15.07.2004)

Forget the analysing and listen to the music - country rock; soul and blues, this is one of the best albums ever and the one time he truly challenged Neil Young.


<> (31.12.2002)

This is an interesting live album to say the least. First and foremost we must remember the time in which this set was recorded. The late 60's and early 70's was a turbulent time here in America, not one of the musicians making this record was sober, and remember this...they broke up on this tour. All this put together equals chaos. Now, I've seen CSN several times and I can tell you this from my own personal experience...they were either great, or they sucked royally. No middle of the road, and I've seen them on both nights. Were these four even on speaking terms backstage is a fair question, but this album does have it's share of fine moments. Neil Young throughout this set is clearly concentrating on his solo career, showcasing material from After The Gold Rush and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Two hit albums he had at the time. David and Graham team up for the album's finest moment in my opinion, David's exquisite song 'The Lee Shore'. The harmonies between the two are so tight you couldn't slip a dollar between them as David sings about his sailboat and the adventures of "when I awoke this morning, I dove beneath my floating home" and finding shells on the beach that "a careless wave forgot long ago." Easily my favorite song that the man has written...ever. Nash contributes the obligatory 'Teach Your Children' as well as a welcome rendition of the old Hollies hit 'King Midas In Reverse'. Must agree with George that Stills just doesn't blow me away. The version of 'For What It's Worth' doesn't do a thing for me. Feels like I'm in church for the politically aware. The electric set? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy! Real garage band stuff. Flat harmonies, the whole works. 'Ohio' rocks pretty hard though. 'Carry on' and 'Southern Man' are both extended solo workouts. Nash's 'Pre Road Downs' I've always liked. It's amusing trying to listen to them calm the crowd as they perform the encore 'Find The Cost Of Freedom' in an acoustic setting once again. This is a decent live album. Certainly not worthy of all the bashing it's received over the years, but also not worthy of being in among the top contenders either. If you're curious to hear a great band right before they broke up and went on to record their solo albums, and can overlook the faults, pick this up. It's a lot of fun. If you're very critical of musicianship, avoid this at all costs and stick with the studio albums.

Bob Josef <> (04.11.2003)

It's typical that each guy in the band gets a solo spot, so the album is representative of the format of a live show. I much prefer Nash's and Young's stuff in this context than Steve blues ravings (I don't hate "For What It's Worth as much as you do, but it's very dated) or Dave's mysticism, which is taken at a snail's pace. The bonuses of "King Midas in Reverse" and "The Loner, etc." are special treats, in particular. And it's nice to have a version of the Buffalo Springfield obscurity "On the Way Home" with Neil on lead vocal.

The electric disc is less preferred by fans. First off, the vocals are really off. Steve actually wanted to do some vocal overdubs, but Dave insisted on "honesty." This honesty unfortunately means we have to hear him and Nash add high, shrill backing voices to "Southern Man" and "Carry On" which are really unpleasant, especially when compared with the studio versions. And while you do get to appreciate the talent of the band's two lead guitarists, extended jams were not the guys' strong suits. Very trendy in 1970, but the musicians they surround themselves with in the live set today sound a lot more professional. Oh well. At least they didn't include "Almost Cut My Hair" in the electric set, which would have been absolutely unbearable.

<> (27.04.2004)

Great website, although I have to say that I disagree with your assessment of CSN&Y as a live group. To this day, their '73 ('72?) concert is the best I have ever seen and I've met many along the way who agree. I'm a musician, so I'm not some tone deaf idiot making this statement. Their harmonies were right on that night and when they rolled out the electric equipment... wow. I'll never forget it.

Brian Donovan <> (08.07.2005)

And they're off and running! Stills, the favorite coming into this LP after strong showings on the first two, stumbles badly with pompous ravings that ruin "49 bye byes" and "For What It's Worth." Never in it after that. Crosby, a weaker entry, runs to form, upgrading a bit with "The Lee Shore." Nash, after a slow start with the overfamiliar "Teach Your Children" and the embarassing "Chicago" suddenly turns it around with a great line, "A man's a man who looks a man right between the eyes," then fronts the band's best electric cut "Pre Road Downs" (the bonus track "King Midas In Reverse" works too.) But Young has this one all the way, wire to wire. He takes the acoustic set to a darker level with "Cowgirl" and "Don't Let it Bring You Down" and does the same with the electric cut "Ohio." The winnah! (But was it worth a wooden nickel?)


<> (31.12.2002)

I am so thrilled to see George had nice things to say about this album as I really like this one a lot. Actually, I pretty much agree with almost all of George's assessment of the album. Crosby has never been a "strong hook" songwriter. His syle to me always reminded me of Joni Mitchell in her jazz period. Being that they both knew each other in the beginning, who knows who influenced who's style. Very jazzy chord progressions and very jazzy tunings as well. Either you like it or you don't. I for one love jazz and own many cd's of classic and current jazz. I also respect the people who don't get into it. I wouldn't imagine George has too many jazz cd's. I've never asked him, but that's his opinion. So be it. This album really represented a who's who of the San Francisco bay area at the time. Various members of the Airplane, Santana, and the Dead all contribute. 'Cowboy Movie' is a little too long, but I love the soloing. I believe it's Jerry Garcia playing. Laughing features Dead members Phil Lesh on bass and Garcia on pedal steel guitar. 'Song With No Words' is a very hypnotic vocal workout between Crosby and Graham Nash. The song simply doesn't need words. Orleans is again Crosby and Nash on a version of an old folk song. The album's final track 'I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here' in which Crosby painstakingly overdubs layers of vocal harmonies has got to be heard to be truly appreciated. This is a great album of the era and a strong musical statement from David Crosby as there is not a weak track in my opinion. As I stated earlier in a Stills review somewhere, it's a damn shame that they (CSNY) couldn't have gotten along better as this along with Songs for Beginners and Still's first album would've made wonderful CSNY releases. If you like Crosby's contributions to 1977's CSN album, you'll like this as well.


Bob Josef <> (21.11.2002)

About half these songs are available on the boxed set (besides the four studio tracks you highlight, "Simple Man" and a live "Man in the Mirror" from the Four Way Street concerts appear), and that's enough for me. I agree that they are well written, with great melodies and intelligent lyics ("I Used to be A King",which evidently refers to his time in the Hollies, is marvelous). But I just don't want to sit through a half hour plus of this guy's wimpy, if tuneful, voice. No real body to his vocals. These songs really cry out for the harmonies of Crosby and Stills to fill them out. They would have been brought to another level like that.

<> (06.05.2003)

This is Graham's attempt to prove that he too was capable of carrying an entire album by himself as a lead vocalist. Does it work? Well, yeah. Sort of. We all know Nash's bread and butter is his high harmony. It's the reason Crosby and Stills wanted him in the first place. But even on some of his songs, he would still sing the high harmony while David or Stephen would take the melody line. See 'Wasted On The Way' for further proof of that. Being that Graham definitely was the dominant songwriter... 'Teach Your Children', 'Marrakesh Express', and 'Our House' all were his gave him the much needed confidence to do an album himself. He wisely surrounds himself, with a who's who list of musicians. I have always loved 'I Used To Be A King', featuring Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh on bass, and Jerry Garcia on pedal steel and piano. Crosby also plays guitar on it. 'Military Madness', is also a great tune very in touch with the times back then. 'Chicago' had been done on the last tour, as did 'Man In The Mirror', so he did have plenty of time to work this material up before entering the studio. I rank this album up there with Crosby's solo album, and Stills' self titled debut. As I said before, these would have made great CSNY songs if these guys would've just gotten along. I'm curious as to which one of the three did better in the charts. But now that I think of it, who cares...Neil outsold them all. Check this out but be prepared for Nash's thin reedy voice.


<> (03.05.2003)

This is one of the better albums to come out of the CSN(Y) camp. It may not have been highly anticipated, but it outsold recent CSN releases. The sound is a far better upgrade from Four Way Street, which makes songs like 'Triad' much easier to appreciate the exquisite harmonies that these two good friends can pull off. The analogy of the front cover is a good read for quite a chuckle. A product of generation X would probably not understand the concert experience of the seventies. It was called having fun, before the whole world became so goddamn serious and politically correct. In answer to the question...yes, you had to be there. I think the drug jokes are funny. David and Graham clearly are having a good time throughout, and the informal acoustic setting allows them to showcase the fact that very few people can touch them when it comes to tight harmonies. The guitar George speaks of by the way, is a twelve string, and you can hear David play it on Laughing as well as a few others. I've always liked this version of 'The Lee Shore' the best. As I've stated before, easily my favorite song Crosby has ever written. The word imagery is beautiful. Highlights for me from Mr. Nash are 'I Used To Be A King' and a nice version of 'Immigration Man'. Along the way are a few CSN tunes such as a great version of 'Deja Vu', and an absolutely stunning version of 'Guinnevere'. To be brutally honest, I don't miss Stills at all. These guys are just that good together. They don't rock out much, but who the fuck cares? Since when is that a criteria for music appreciation? Certainly not mine. I highly recomend this album to anyone.


Fredrik Tydal <> (27.07.2000)

Not so much underrated as it is unknown. This one should be in every collection of American music. With few pretentions, Stills and the gang throws together a tasty dish of of pure American music like they've been master cooks all their lives. And the numerous cooks actually adds to the whole equation, giving the record a really full and rich sound. True, it really takes a lot of patience to digest and fully appreciate the album, but you eventually get your reward. The album is really even, but I'd like to point out a few other high-lights, like the opening "Song Of Love" with one of the best melodies on the album. I also like the beautiful "Both Of Us (Bound To Lose", with Hillman (?) sharing the verse with Stills, which eventually goes into a slighty Latin groove. Hillman probably had a hand in chosing to cover Mike Brewer's "Bound To Fall", since he had cut a backing track for it with The Byrds back in '68. Sometimes the album reminds one of the Grateful Dead's American Beauty. While that album was slightly stoned and laid-back, this album is serious without being pretentious. Also, the Stills on this album is quite different from the CSN one; no politics, no pointed fingers and no Crosby or Nash stirring the pot. So, anyone who doesn't like CSN can perfectly enjoy this album. And since it's a double LP remastered on one CD, I call it a bargain. Not the best I've ever had, but certainly close enough.

sonja vernon-wood <> (18.09.2001)

i was about 16 when i heard this album, 1972-3, summer, on a cross canada tour in my 69 bug. i loved it. every note, every word. now i'm a big boy and a musician by trade and would love to find words and music, even tabs for this eclectic and thought provoking work, esp. 'colorado'

Michael Egan <> (07.06.2002)

A note on Steven Stills' Manassas album, which I agree is underrated - yes, the songs were all run together on the vinyl version, too - it's not something they did to get all the tracks to fit on the CD.


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<> (11.09.2002)

This is my favorite album from these guys. Released in 1977 and having a top ten hit from it brought CSN tremendous commercial success. As George pointed out, it was second only to Rumours that year. But back then sweetened harmonies were welcomed and embraced so their timing couldn't have been more perfect. Unlike George, I like David Crosby's three songs. 'In My Dreams' is simply exquisite as is the guitar interplay between David and Steven. Two Martin acoustics at work. 'Shadow Captain' has a nice feel to it and is another tune from Crosby written on his boat 200 miles from shore. I find lines like "I can see your hands are roughened by the wheel and the rope. I'd like to look to you for hope. I think it's hiding there" to be extremely well written. But then I too am also a hopeless romantic. Always have been. 'Anything At All' has a slight jazz feel to it. I can picture it being sung in a smoky jazz club late at night near closing time. Alas, this would be David's last truly exceptional work before he hit rock bottom and drifted into a drug induced fog. He would contribute two songs to Daylight Again, but for the rest of the album, his parts were sung by Art Garfunkel or Timothy B. Schmidt. David would eventually make a miraculous comeback and get a second chance at life. 'Just A Song Before I Go' was a top ten hit and inspired by a limo driver who smarted off to Nash one day that he bet he couldn't write a song in the time it took to get to the airport. Explained then is the "it's easy to get burned" line. Nash's other contributions include his tune 'Cathedral'. What a piece of work. His explanation for the tune is simply "Jesus Christ was Jesus Christ, and all the things people say they do in his name is not all that glitters." 'Fair Game' and 'Dark Star' from Mr. Stills are typical well crafted tunes you would expect from him. The use of congas on both is very refreshing and continue his fascination with latin salsa. The melody from 'Dark Star' is so engaging you really don't even notice lines like "ain't this song a bust." Throughout the album, keyboardist Craig Doerge contributes some fine playing. Even getting a cowriting credit on 'Shadow Captain'. Joe Vitale also proves once again to be Mr. versatility by showcasing himself on drums, congas, organ, electric piano, and flute. This is a wonderful album and well worth hearing. It seems to have stood the test of time the best. Yes, a lot of the arrangements are acoustic based, but so what. Most of these songs are so well written that they don't ask for much else. Only for you to listen with open ears and mind and let them tell their story.

Alexey Provolotsky <> (30.09.2005)

Really, it must have been fun to put out such kind of a record in 1977. But I’m glad they did, ‘cause it’s much better than their previous studio effort (the melodies are present). But let’s complain first.

David Crosby could have been better: “Shadow Captain” is a messy tune with some sparkles of memorability here and there. “Anything At All”, despite having three first A’s in its title is actually rather far from A-level (see, it’s some kind of a joke, so, please, try to laugh). Sure enough, it has some Crosby’s charm (that requires no melody). And so does his final tune here, “In My Dreams”, that borrows its best moment (in the chorus) right from “Guinnevere”.

As for Nash and Stephen, they are good. Graham particularly shines on the fantastic “Cathedral” (the best cut on CSN) with its irresistible fast part and on the emotional tear-inducing “Carried Away”. Also, “Cold Rain” is a very lovely dreamy tune that indeed sounds like Paul Simon. Best offerings by Stills would be “Fair Game” and “Dark Star”, of course. Well, and the closer is solid, too. Very catchy and driving.

Not that I’m very impressed by this record, but I still find it a decent enough effort. My rating would be a very high 11.


Jesse Sturdevant <> (12.07.2005)

A few thoughts on Earth and Sky--you're right, it's an average effort. Disagree on 'Magical Child' (I first heard it soon after my first child was born, so it has sentimental value, I guess), but a minor quibble. Graham was in a pretty stark phase in his career at this time--CSN tried to follow up their 1977 album the year before (that's where 'Out On the Island' came from) but the sessions fell apart (Stills had his booze, Cros had his crack--no wonder Neil stayed away). Then the project became a Crosby-Nash record, but then Cros couldn't handle 10 minutes without his pipe so Graham kicked him out. With no other option if he wanted to continue a career, he decided to go ahead with a solo album. You can tell that several songs would never have made it onto a CSN record (or maybe even a Crosby/Nash one). 'In the Eighties' is indeed horrendous. 'It's All Right' goes back to 1974. The album is a patchjob. Unfortunately, his next solo album Innocent Eyes was made under similar circumstances--Stills was being difficult and Cros was an addict on his way to prison.


Bob Josef <> (04.04.2006)

Actually, this did start off as an actual Stills-Nash album, but Atlantic Records was having none of that. So, they dragged in two tracks from a rejected Crosby solo album and overdubbed S-N harmonies and tried to have him add vocals to the already completed S-N tracks, although apparently some had reached the final mixdown before that could happen. As a result, the band chemistry i s decidedly off.

At the time, Stills said that this album had more "balls" than the others, which is rather ironic, given the weakest 70's-type L.A. soft-rock production yet on a CSN record. The edge of the electric guitars and the rhythm section is totally undermined by too many overdubs, particularly of wimpy electric pianos and synths. The "rock" songs don't rock much harder than Jackson Browne (ugh) or Linda Ronstadt songs from the same period. The fact that Stills used so many collaborators is rather disturbing. "Since I Met You" and "Turn Your Back on Love" are particularly strange, lyrically -- almost wordy enough for prog-rock.

As a result of all this, I tend to prefer the more acoustically based stuff. "Wasted on the Way" is a pretty obvious rewrite of "Teach Your Children", but it's a nice track (The live version on the Allies album, with just three voices and three guitars, is a lot better). "Southern Cross" is also a strong ballad, and "Daylight Again" (actually a Garfunkel, Stills and Nash track!) is a great throwback to their early acoustic sound. I liked CSN better when they were more organic and self-reliant.

Two outtakes surfaced on the boxed set. An overlong cover of "Dear Mr. Fantasy" (no Crosby at all on this one) was Steve's idea, and, again, is wrecked by a prominent electric piano and a dumb new verse by Stills. On the other hand, they also did a remake of a 1975 Stills solo tune called "As I Come of Age," with meaningful lyrics, a powerful, gospel-type melody and gorgeous harmonies from all three of them. This is what the album could have been if all three of them had been more focused as singers and songwriters.


Bob Josef <> (27.10.2003)

Maybe not a fantastic album, but a major recovery from the near-total disaster of Live it Up (I think that one will solve your problem of giving the albums a "10" all the time). You're right -- the ditching of synths and drum machines in favor of guitars and stripped down band arrangements is one of the keys to the album's success. But there are a couple of other factors. With one exception, this time they keep the songwriting strictly within the group. As a result, they do seem somewhat more inspired. In addition, they got Who producer Glyn Johns to do the album, which certainly explains the simpler production that is far more complimentary to their voices.

All that said, I wouldn't say there's a single truly classic song here. But they are certainly several pleasant numbers here. Steve comes up with the most memorable tunes. His lyrics to "Bad Boyz" are pretty ludicrous, but I like the guitar. It's a bit dismaying to see his political anger turn to a more jaded stance on "It Won't Go Away," but it's another good rocker. My favorite track on the album is probably "Only Waiting for You," because it's got the right combination of optimism and energy, and a Latin groove that is more subtle than that of "Panama," which is a bit over the top. You're right -- he should have given up this stuff after "Uno Mundo."

He also provides that same subtle groove to his co-write with Crosby, "Camera." That's good, since it's interesting to see Dave branch out a bit, musically. Same with "Street to Lean On" -- who knew that he could actually get bluesy? As for Nash, his numbers are pretty lethargic, but that's nothing new. It sounds to me that his voice has slightly lowered with age, which makes his lead vocal on "Unequal Love" more appealing. The title track sounds like a rewrite of "Cowboy of Dreams" musically, but the lyrics are much better, so that's a plus. As for "In my Life" -- well, they had been performing it live for several years, and it really brought the house down. So, it made sense for them to record a studio version. As they had previously proved with "Blackbird" (available live on the Allies album, studio on the boxed set), their harmonies work well with Beatles tunes.

All in all, a solid release -- the best group album since Déjà vu, as far as I'm concerned. New fans should start with the first two albums and Stills' first solo. If they've been converted then, they can move on to here with no problem.


Fredrik Tydal <> (29.01.2000)

A great come-back by the complete line-up of the band, and a major improvement over 1988's mess American Dream. "Faith In Me" is your compulsory latin spiced Stills song; he has one on every album, so it's no surprise. And, yes, George; "Seen Enough" is a great song with even greater lyrics. Stills actually thought this one was so similar to "Subterranean Homesick Blues" that he called up Dylan and asked for permission to put it on the album. However, I can't see the similarity between "Stand And Be Counted" and "Almost Cut My Hair". If "Stand And Be Counted" is similar to anything, then it's Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers", which is built on the same basic riff. And "Stand And Be Counted" is a whole lot better than "Cut My Hair"; if I may allow myself make a comparision. I can't understand how you fail to appreciate Neil Young's contributions on this album. I find them to be somewhat the high-lights of the disc; and I'm not even a big Young fan. The title track is classic, beautiful Young. Just one of those that gets under your skin. I think that this is the first CSNY album where Young's song actually measures up to those of his solo career. "Out Of Control" is great. I love the melody and the words. Certainly one of the best songs on the albums, if you ask me. Take just one more listen to this one George. Young's "Queen Of Them All", though, is one of my least favourite tracks. But think about it; did you ever expect to hear the words "I really don't why I feel so good; but it's happening to me so I knock on wood" in a Neil Young song? He is actually *happy* on this song - can you believe it? "Heartland", with Crosby's son on piano, is another high-point of the album and miles ahead of Nash's other composition; the unimpressive "Someday Soon".

Finally, the closing "Sanibel" is just pleasant. Apparently, its inclusion on the album was a return favor from Nash to its composer. Nash and Young alternating verses work quite well on that one. This is a perfect example of an old group who reforms with dignity and manages to capture some of the old magic. Pick up the album, it's a plesant surprise.

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