KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – CROSBY, STILLS & NASH “CROSBY, STILLS & NASH”

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?

23 comments on “Satur-debut – CROSBY, STILLS & NASH “CROSBY, STILLS & NASH”

  1. Aphoristical
    March 9, 2019

    Stills is the most underrated person in rock music I reckon. He was amazing on the first two CSN albums and on his solo debut, and on Manassas.

    I’m more of a Déjà Vu fan but this one’s great too, just a little sleepy in places. ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ is a great song though. I have a soft spot for 1977’s CSN, and 1982’s Daylight Again is much better than I expected.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that Stills doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, especially as a guitarist. Between his collaboration with Hendrix and Super Session, musicians clearly know how great he is. I also love those Manassas albums and his early solo work. I don’t think he’s come close to reaching those heights again. Hard to believe the biggest & most enduring talent in CSN is probably David Crosby. He was so close to death in the ’80s yet he’s done some of the best work of his career in the last 2 decades. I also like the CSN and Daylight Again albums a lot (featured the former in my Forty Year Friday series in 2017), and I have a soft spot for the much maligned American Dream. Not a classic but far from the trainwreck that most critics & many fans suggest it is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aphoristical
        March 12, 2019

        Yeah, I’ve heard that Crosby’s recent stuff is good.

        Like

      • That’s an understatement. I also love his work with CPR (imagine CSN crossed with Steely Dan), and his debut album If I Could Only Remember My Name is a masterpiece.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aphoristical
        March 12, 2019

        I’ve had the debut for years – it’s pretty unique. I remember once it made a list of the Vatican’s top ten albums.

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      • Interesting. It’s a very spiritual-sounding album but I wonder how the Vatican feels about the drug-intake that went into the making of it.

        Like

  2. christiansmusicmusings
    March 9, 2019

    Dig that album, especially their harmony vocals!

    My all-time favorite is Deja Vu with Neil Young. It was one of the first records I heard when I started listening to music in the mid 70s. My sister had it on vinyl.

    Like

    • I also think Déjà Vu is my favorite CSN(Y) album, but the debut is pretty close. Your sister obviously had good taste in music.

      Liked by 1 person

      • christiansmusicmusings
        March 11, 2019

        Yep, my sister did indeed introduce me to some of my all-time favorite artists. In addition to CSNY, Carole King (Tapestry) and Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here) come to mind.

        She also had greatest hits compilations by Simon & Garfunkel and America, which I continue to like to this day as well, though I wouldn’t count these artists among my all-time favorites.

        Like

      • Consider yourself fortunate that your sister was able to recommend so much great music to you. My older siblings were never big music fans, so beyond a handful of singles we swapped in the early to mid 70s I was pretty much on my own discovering music. The only record the three of us agreed on, and all three of us owned a copy of, was Cheech & Chong’s “Sister Mary Elephant.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • christiansmusicmusings
        March 12, 2019

        The three people I credit the most for getting me into music are my sister; my grandma, a former music teacher and classical pianist, who supported me from the very first moment I expressed interest in taking guitar lessons by paying for my first guitar; and my great guitar teacher, who kept me motivated by showing me how to play folk and pop songs apart from giving me classical guitar lessons. It was really also my guitar teacher who introduced me to The Beatles.

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      • Very nice that you had those key people in your life to help guide you to certain music. My two drum teachers turned me on to some great jazz that I might not have otherwise discovered until years later but that was about it for musical guidance in my youth. In some ways that worked in my favor, because I loved (and still love) a lot of so-called “un-cool” music, and older siblings who were into music would have mocked me mercilessly for that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 80smetalman
    March 10, 2019

    That’s made my Sunday evening. I’ve always found CSN a very good way to mellow out.

    Like

  4. Alyson
    March 10, 2019

    Neither masculine or feminine gender music this week, a lovely hybrid of the two. Like you I was too young to have experienced CSN in 1969 but anything I’ve listened to since, I have really enjoyed. We get really good music docs on our BBC4 channel and I remember watching one about CSN not that long ago – Love the whole concept of rock and pop family trees, where you can track where people have come from and what they go on to do. So much overlap.

    Found out after Peter Tork of the Monkees died, that he was persuaded to audition for his role by Steven Stills, who himself had just been turned down (had the wrong kind of hair apparently). It could have been all so different – Crosby, Tork and Nash! Doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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    • I was thinking the same thing about the unique blend of masculine/feminine music on this album, and throughout most of their career. Thanks for sharing that tidbit about Stills & Tork. I think I read that years ago but it slipped out of my brain in the intervening years. I wonder what CTN might have sounded like, and how different the Monkees would have been with Stills.

      On a semi-related (and humorous) note, I remember when CSN played at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988 and the caption under their photo in the newspaper the next day was “Crosby Stills & Nash (and No Longer Young).” I hope the writer got a bonus for that one. Wish I could have attended that concert. I started working at Atlantic Records a month later and found out that every employee got a ticket. D’oh!

      Like

  5. J.
    March 11, 2019

    I’m a big fan of this one, but if I was picking a favourite it’d be Deja Vu. The addition of Young upped the game a bit.

    Favourite member would be Stills, though. Such an under appreciated songwriter, I think… certainly less celebrated than his pals.

    Like

    • Seems like the consensus is that the debut is great but Déjà Vu is even greater. That’s certainly my opinion.

      I feel like Crosby is less celebrated than his colleagues (and he’s become my favorite over the years), but Stills’ guitar wizardry is sadly underappreciated by non-musicians.

      Like

      • Aphoristical
        March 12, 2019

        I think Crosby has the most “Hipster” cred of the three – it’s usually Nash who’s overlooked.

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      • He didn’t always have the hipster cred, especially during his drug-fueled years from the mid-’70s through the ’80s, but he has restored his reputation over the last 2 decades.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Murphy's Law
    April 30, 2020

    I prefer Deja Vu, mainly because my dad used to sing songs from it (particularly Our House) when he was in a particularly good mood.

    Like

    • I think I might feel the same about Deja Vu, although I’m not sure there’s anything in their catalog quite as breathtaking as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.”

      Like

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