Got some 60’s folk rock this morning for you, with their debut effort.
Crosby Stills & Nash – Crosby Stills and Nash
Listen to it here: http://grooveshark.com/#!/playlist/Crosby+Stills+and+Nash+Crosby+Stills+and+Nash/66798385
Read about the album here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosby,_Stills_%26_Nash_%28album%29
Fun Facts: Take the Dave Crosby drug quiz fact or fiction here: http://www.avclub.com/denver/articles/long-time-gone-a-quiz-about-david-crosbys-biggest,41318/
|Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash
Mood: Pretty good!
Least favorite track/tracks:
Overall (1-5 stars): 2
|CrosbyStills & Nash – Crosby Stills and Nash: 4 stars
Precon: I’ve always thought CSN and sometimes Y were ok, but they never interested me all that much. Maybe a generational thing. I can’t even name any of their songs. They are somewhat legendary though so I’m glad to get a little more familiar with them here.
Favorite Track: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Like the layered guitar parts and bass on the first track. I think I’ve heard this one before.
Magic the Gathering Card: Harmonize
|Crosby, Stills & Nash:
Preconceived Notions: This just reminds me of my childhood. It’s what I grew up on. I’ll always love it in some way and probably never be able to look at it objectively. So now that I’ve put that out there, let’s get ready for people to rip it apart! I also picked it because I actively dislike Neil Young and didn’t want to have to listen to him, if I could help it. It’s sad, because I probably would have picked Déjà vu since my favorite song of theirs is on that album but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
What can I say, I really love vocal harmonies.
Pre-Road Downs- I can imagine that the production on this was cutting edge at the time. It just sounds a little silly now.
Lady of the Island: I’m sad that I’m cynical about this song now. I’d like to think that Graham Nash is probably being pretty earnest about it, but there’s something that makes my brain go “Really?”
After Listening: I guess we all know what to expect, but like I said, I still love the harmonies, and it could have been our “Guitar Hero” Singles day yesterday, but I paid a lot more attention to the instrumental aspect of the album this time. The album doesn’t take a lot of risks, and when it does, they don’t always pay off, but I still love all of their voices and there’s, at the very least, solid stuff on this album. I mean, sure, they’d all had pretty good practice before this with their respective groups, but there’s something about them working together, and perhaps more likely, the context of time in which they worked together, and the people they were hanging around with (and writing songs about) that gives their sound here a distinct feel that I really like.
Favorite Track: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
|Preconceived Notions: This reminds me of college, ah the dudes across the floor who would invite me over for beers and the like, and then we’d spend hours listening to Floyd, Phish, and these dudes – amid other bands and several beers to alter my state to tolerate it all. I’m pretty sure I’ve never elected to listen to these guys of my own volition – but of the bands I just listed I easily like them the most.
After Listening: There are at least 2 time period items that jump out immediately when I hear this record. The 1st is how wonderfully acoustically warm it is….stereo imaging, a little appropriate fuzz, and a full range of dynamics. I always pay lip service to wistfully wishing today’s digital convenience delivery methods for tunes had half of the character and warmth of the old analog methods. Compression in today’s musical landscape is often a four letter word that robs it of a lot of beauty. So to be reminded of this on a record with full vocal harmonies and a certain measured appreciation of spacing and silence…well it’s just a visceral punch to the gut in comparison to today and it makes me a little sad. The 2nd thing that really strikes me about the time period is simply the makeup of the artist…only in the 60’s and early 70’s could a band achieve mainstream success with 3 part folk vocal harmony, combined with songs that could reach the 7min mark. You know for all the over ballooned bragging about the importance of the 60’s music by the previous generations…they do have at least one very valid and damning point – experimental music in sound or construction had a far better chance to succeed back then – for any number of controversial reasons – no musical over-saturation, musicians that didn’t have machines to bail them out, a more musically intelligent general populace. Whatever the causes, it again makes me a little sad to know that mainstream music today is more cookie cutter than ever. Plus one for our generation is that thanks to home recordings and the interwebs more fascinating experimental music is available than ever before if you know where to look.
So what about the actual music on this record? Well I think everyone knows the story on these guys by now…amazing vocal harmonies…but the music is only about half “baked”. It tries well enough – you get the folk, blues, country and psychedelic undertones, so the variety is attempted. And I don’t really have a problem with the lack of intensity presented – I think that’s more a conscious mood setter than lazy writing – BUT musically it all washes out to something a little on the bland side and the vocals can’t cover all of that.
Favorite Tracks: You Don’t Have to Cry – Probably the best guitar playing on the album –we get a nice touch of country style chord picking, and of course the vocal greatness . We even get a little guitar solo in the background there.
Suite Judy Blue Eyes – A signature hit of theirs, it’s actually the driving rhythm on this that helps separate it out from the album, and make a 7+ min plus song not feel like a drag. The chorus and other refrains are easily stuck in your head before the song is half over.
Least Favorite Track: Long Time Gone – Sort of an unpleasant mix of electric guitar and folk harmony that is ultimately nothing more than a very transparent blues song. Meandering and stale it feels more like a forced attempt to bridge their style with late 60’s rock. It didn’t work out.
Overall 4.0 For a debut album to do what this record did- experiment in a unique way, sell well, and arguably create it’s own sub genre (California Rock – or if you’re not a label guy/gal which I’m not…just look at the list of artists that claim them as an influence), all of that is pretty remarkable. Why not a 5 for me then? Well, the record holds up I would say over time – but to me will never sort of reach out and transcend all of my moods. Which is to say, I need to be in the right mood to listen to this, when I am I can easily forgive a few of the more dragging moments to focus on the warm simple beautiful textures. When I’m not in the right mood, well it’s bad backing music that doesn’t make it past track 4 or so.
|CrosbyStills & Nash – Crosby Stills and Nash
Preconceptions: I’ve always assumed CSN was simply warm pleasant background music for lapsed hippies to listen to at the bank or brokerage they currently run.
After Listening: It doesn’t get that much deeper.
Hydro: Marrakesh Express is a nice tune but those poor bstards are going to spend years in a Moroccan prison once their luggage is searched.
Overall: The obvious observation is how the harmonies carry these songs. They are very pleasant to listen to and if I am stuck in a waiting room or elevator, this is my choice for piped music. As with every album recorded in the late sixties, the lyrics are very IMPORTANT and kinda boring. It’s very well put together album by talented people I have no interest in listening to. They are a premium vodka but I’m a whisky man. Cuz vodka tastes like rubbing alcohol.