Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Crosby Stills & Nash



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CROSBY, STILLS & NASH (1968)

1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
2. Marrakech Express
3. Guinevere
4. You Don't Have To Cry
5. Pre-Road Downs
6. Wooden Ships
7. Lady Of The Island
8. Helplessly Hoping
9. Long Time Gone
10. 49 Bye-Byes               

When I hear this, I always think what a contradiction it was that such beautiful laid-back music appeared at the height of the Vietnam War. This piece of work was a perfect antidote to the horrors of war. Just hole up in the backwoods somewhere and listen to Crosby, Stills and Nash or get on your big two wheeler and ride off to join a hippy commune.
               
The vocal harmonies on here, married to the subtle, melodic bass, razor sharp acoustic guitar, backed by a gentle drum sound is a simple joy from beginning to end. 

Put on the opening tour de force, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, open the windows and summer’s here again. Then let it flow into Marrakesh Express and you are in laid-back hippy heaven, man. Not only is the material extremely well played but the sound quality is top notch. Listen to the bass on Guinevere. Then the harmonies on You Don’t Have To Cry are sublime. The guitar and drums on Pre-Road Downs. The lead guitar and bass intro to Wooden Ships. The pleasingly solid blues rock of Long Time Gone. It is all a pure delight. The latter is possibly the best track on the album.

 

Lady Of The Island is a gentle acoustic number, with hints of Paul McCartney's similar material for The Beatles to it. It is all very chilled-out, relaxing stuff. Helplessly Hoping is very typical of CSN and their genre from this era - all immaculate male vocal, airy harmonies over a gently strummed acoustic guitar. 49 Bye Byes is a melodious piece of subtly bassy folk rock, underpinned by some nice organ.

“Folk Rock”“Country Rock”, call it what you will. Along with The Byrds from the same era, it began here. So many future artists were influenced by this - Fairport ConventionMatthews Southern ComfortRumours-era Fleetwood MacJoni MitchellAmericaThe Eagles and Neil Young, of course, to name a few.

This lovely album just washes over you and instantly puts you in a relaxed frame of mind. Try getting angry while this is on.

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