What’s so instantly striking about Crosby, Stills and Nash’s CSN, their second group album in eight years, is that it sounds so much like the debut LP even though its makers are so vastly changed. Since CS&N, and later Y, were always at the vanguard of the conspicuous counterculture (always ready to hoist their tie-dyed freak flag at a moment’s notice), their current reflection and hesitancy are especially interesting. And, because the music is so eerily familiar, the album communicates a kind of time warp (imagine if we knew in 1969 what we know now) that’s compelling and troubling.
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music.
This self-titled release is one of – if not arguably the – most impressive side project to arise from CSN. Taken beyond face value, Graham Nash/David Crosby is a direct reflection, if not an extension, of the musical and personal relationship between its co-creators. Likewise, the results remain true, enhancing rather than detracting from the very individualistic styles of Crosby and Nash.
He's been part of two huge-selling international superstar rock groups, and recorded some very popular albums on his own and with David Crosby. Yet Graham Nash has never been thought of as a talent in his own right the way that, to varying degrees, either of his three bandmates in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young have. This three-CD, 64-track box set can be seen as both a way of focusing the spotlight on Nash's work both within and outside of his famous bands, and also as a career retrospective of sorts, spanning as it does about 40 years of recordings. Like almost all such box sets, however, it won't be as balanced as everyone would like between his various career phases and contexts, or contain as much in the way of revelatory rarities as some would hope.
Crosby, Stills & Nash is the first album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, released in 1969 on the Atlantic Records label. It spawned two Top 40 hit singles, "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of December 6, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It was certified four times platinum for sales of over 4,200,000. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Crosby, Stills & Nash number 259 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's solo debut apart from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Released in 1971, it is a collection of songs that reflect change, transition, and starting over. The set was recorded in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the immediate aftermath of Nash's traumatic breakup with Joni Mitchell. Unlike the colorful dynamism of Stephen Stills' eponymous debut recording, or the acid-drenched cosmic cowboy spaciness of David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, Nash's album is by contrast a much more humble and direct offering. It is a true, mostly introspective songwriter's album full of beautifully performed and wonderfully recorded songs that reflect transition, movement, the desire to look backward and forward simultaneously.
After a seven-year hiatus, Graham Nash returned to his solo career on Earth & Sky. While much of the material may have originated as an on-again/off-again collaboration with David Crosby (guitar/vocals), by the time the LP hit the racks in 1980 there were only traces of Crosby's input scattered throughout. One primary contribution highlighting the pair is the organic and acoustic "Out on the Island," and is likewise one of the best sides of the effort. In support of Nash is an all-star ensemble centering on the infamous "Mighty Jitters": Russ Kunkel (drums/percussion), Tim Drummond (bass), Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar (guitars), David Lindley (guitar/violin/vocals), and Craig Doerge (keyboards). The opening title cut, "Earth & Sky" has the earmark of a mid-tempo Jackson Browne rocker and boasts a tasty guitar lead from Joe Walsh.
Unbeknown to most fans, So Far was a stopgap release, undertaken by Atlantic Records in the absence of a new Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album to accompany the reunited quartet's summer 1974 tour…