Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
I was only 3 years old when Crosby, Stills & Nash released their eponymous debut album in 1969 so I can’t know the excitement that fans felt when these former members of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies joined forces for the first time. However, I remember being blown away by the power of their harmonies and incredible songwriting from the first time I heard them in my early teens, and that sense of awe has not diminished in the last four decades. Their three distinct musical personalities are on display throughout this album, but it’s the meshing of their voices that elevates these classic songs into “legendary” status.
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 3:
I don’t recall the first time I heard “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” but I clearly remember the excitement I felt anytime I heard this epic opening track from the debut album by former members of The Byrds (David Crosby), Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills) and The Hollies (Graham Nash). That’s because I still feel the same excitement whenever I take a journey through this sparsely arranged acoustic song that features stellar guitar work from the criminally underrated Stills and those one-of-a-kind harmonies. If that was the only memorable song here it would still be an essential album, but there’s also a Crosby & Stills collaboration (the haunting “Wooden Ships”), a couple of tunes by Crosby (the mysterious “Guinnevere” and the moody & powerful “Long Time Gone”), two lovely tracks by Nash (the exotic “Marrakesh Express” and the pulsing “Pre-Road Downs”) and Stills’ acoustic ballad “Helplessly Hoping.” They would soon join up with Stills’ old bandmate Neil Young for the supergroup’s supergroup, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (and if CSNY is considered a separate group then their debut album, Déjà Vu, belongs in this series as well), but the first album by the trio has a simplicity missing from their later records which allows us to focus on their individual & collective voices.
They’ve each done wonderful work together, solo and in various duo collaborations, but I can’t imagine many fans arguing that this debut and its follow-up with Neil Young (Deja Vu) are the gold standards in their discographies. Do you have a favorite CSN(Y) album? And do you have a favorite member of the group?