Crosby, Stills & Nash Album Reviews
David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash all started their careers in other notable sixties bands; Crosby left The Byrds after disagreements over counter-cultural songs like ‘Triad’ and ‘Mind Gardens’, Stills’ Buffalo Springfield broke up after tensions with band-mate Neil Young, while Nash left The Hollies after their decision to record a Dylan covers album. The trio’s alliance was always fragile – after 1969’s self-titled debut and 1970’s Déjà Vu, they split over Stills’ and Nash’s mutual pursuit of Rita Coolidge. The trio didn’t reunite in the studio until 1977’s CSN, and while CSN and its 1982 followup Daylight Again are both respectable, mature efforts, it feels like the group didn’t stay together long enough in their prime to meet their potential.
The group are known for their harmonies – Crosby was the harmony specialist in the Byrds, while Nash’s tenor voice was an important part of the Hollies’ blend. They’re also primarily associated with an acoustic sound – their debut especially is very low key and acoustic, and along with The Band and Bob Dylan they were significant in popularising a more roots-based sound in that late 1960s.
Stephen Stills is arguably one of the most overlooked talents of his era – as a musician, producer, and writer, he anchored a series of great albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
I’ve covered the group’s first four albums together, plus some of the individual members’ most noteworthy solo efforts and collaborations in the 1970s. Of the extra-curricular efforts, Stills’ 1972 album Manassas is well worth tracking down.
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Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
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