Crosby, Stills and Nash
Along with contemporary albums from The Band, Bob Dylan, and David Crosby’s former band, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash helped steer popular music from electric blues and psychedelia to acoustic songs with roots in country and folk traditions. But while it’s acoustic and personal, their debut is also an intricate studio creation. Aside from some rhythm guitar from his partners and Dallas Taylor’s drums, Stephen Stills plays virtually all of the instruments, with subtle innovations like the backwards guitar of ‘Pre-Road Downs’ and the stereo harmony organs of ‘Marrakesh Express’.
The album’s focal point is the opening ‘Suite:Judy Blue Eyes’, a multi-part tribute from Stills to Judy Collins. Crosby contributes the jazzy and wandering ‘Guinevere’ and the aggressive ‘Long Time Gone’, and collaborates with Stills on the excellent anti-war anthem ‘Wooden Ships’. Graham Nash displays his pop sensibilities in ‘Marrakesh Express’ and ‘Pre Road Downs’.
The hippie lyrics are sometimes dated, but Crosby, Stills and Nash is a fine piece of studio craft with strong song-writing.