Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)
Seeing as no one seems to be interested in reviewing a classic album this week, I thought I’d whip up an analysis of one of my favorite summer albums the self-titled debut from Crosby, Stills, & Nash.
Formed from the remnants of bands; Buffalo Springfield, The Hollies and The Byrds music lovers were given the pleasure of recieving one of the most influential and long lasting groups of the era and here’s where it all started. With the disintegration of Stephen Still’s band in 68′ and David Crosby’s dissmissal from The Byrds in 67′ these two veteran musicians began looking for a new project and soon enough, would join together jamming and working on songs together. In 1968, Crosby and Stills would be joined by Graham Nash for an impromptu performance of “You Don’t Have To Cry” only to discover their ability to create a unique vocal chemistry would be perfect for a new musical venture. Nash would leave The Hollies in a heartbeat and the trio signed to Atlantic records to cut one of the most beautiful and unique sounding albums of the late 60s.
Starting production of the album in June 1968, each member brought something different to the table to create this diverse record. Stephen Stills brought a bluesy, folk oriented sound to the group, accompanied by a southern drawl and some accomplished musicianship, Graham Nash, a member of the British Invasion crowd, would bring not only upbeat pop sensibilities but quite an impressive vocal range, while David Crosby added a powerful, soft spoken maturity to the tone and lyrics of the group.
Keeping most of instrumentation sparse, the most important aspect to take note here is the vocal abilities of these three diverse musicians. With Nash taking the high end, Crosby filling out the middle range and Stills’ Texan voice singing in his own bluesy manner, Crosby, Stills & Nash can’t be beat when it comes to harmonies and here we get plenty of folk, blues, pop and rock music to capitalize off of their unique voices.
I find it difficult to specifically note any key tracks, as I can’t find a weak spot on the entire record. It’s a very laid back and pleasant experience when it comes to the upbeat southern style of songs like “You Don’t Have to Cry”, “Helplessly Hoping” or the classic “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” while the bittersweet folk of songs like “Guinnevere ” or the intimate “Lady of the Island” leave for a significantly more serene experience, and if by chance you’re not too big on the stripped down, unplugged sound of these songs, then you can find solace in the electric swagger of Crosby’s “Long Time Gone” and especially the casual rockin’ of “Wooden Ships”.
Crosby, Stills & Nash is without a doubt, required listening for fans of 60s rock and roll and definitely worth checking out for any fans of accomplished song-writing or singing. I always consider it to be perfectly suited for the warmer season and always find myself coming back to it on those muggy summer days.
Favorite Tracks: “Helplessly Hoping”, “Guinnevere”, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”