After leading Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Stephen Stills finally made his own solo record in 1970. Stills explores blues jams, Latin rhythms, gospel, overblown pop epics, and other forms of music that had informed his previous record making but which he’d never acknowledged so explicitly. One particularly important historical aspect of this album is that it marked the last recorded appearance of Jimi Hendrix, who guests on ‘Old Times, Good Times’, before his premature death.
Even if it’s more personal and less universal than his records with Crosby and Nash, Stills is on top of his game. ‘To A Flame’ is a gorgeous acoustic piano and string piece, while ‘Sit Yourself Down’ is a concise pop winner, with a gospel chorus, a flavour shared by ‘Church (Part of Someone)’. The most well known song is ‘Love The One You’re With’ – while it’s fine musically, the free love subject matter certainly dates it, and it’s probably hurt his reputation in the long run.
Stephen Stills is an accomplished debut, but followup Stephen Stills 2 is regarded as less compelling, a disappointment after an excellent string of work.