[139] Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)


12. Jun. 2009, 20:54

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash

Yeah well, who doesn't know these guys, especially in the combination Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Talking about a fancy group, this is one: David Crosby (The Byrds!), Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield!) and Graham Nash (The Hollies!). Add Neil Young and there's a group you can use as a decent headliner... But on this debute album it's just the three of them, doing perfectly well. Coming from three different groups, and probably having three strong personalities, this seems like it could be a repeat of Buffalo Springfield's 'Buffalo Springfield Again': a collection of fantastic songs, but with little coherence.

Well na-hah! Crosby, Stills & Nash have voices that fit together most wonderfully (wonderful is really the word) and although they all take care of more or less a third of the songwriting, you don't notice that at all. The songs on this album stick together like glue and the result is a very consistent and beautiful piece of music.

At first I was not really that impressed. I kept thinking "Simon & Garfunkel! Simon & Garfunkel!" and the songs really do have similarities (especially Lady of the Island must have been secretly written by Simon or Garfunkel) . But as always, repeated listening rewards. There are pearls to be found, such as the first song "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" which is -of course- a small suite: especially the last part is very catchy. This song just keeps getting better and better. Oh, and then there's Guinnevere, so soft, so beautiful, so romantic. Also quite catchy is You Don't Have to Cry and very intense is Wooden Ships which features a fantastic guitar melody (that probably is the biggest difference with Simon & Garfunkel, the more pronounced guitars) and the voice of Stephen Stills sounding incredibly beautiful. The best is kept for the (near) end: Helplessly Hoping. What a song, what a song... heartbreaking harmonic singing, exceeding The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, and all other singing-all-together-groups. Oh, this song brings tears in my eyes.

Yes, this is a very beautiful album. Maybe not that extraordinary all the time, but still a perfect example of the sum of the parts exceeding the whole... (or is it the other way around?)

(Mooimooimooi: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Guinnevere, You Don't Have to Cry, Wooden Ships, Helplessly Hoping)

PS: The intro of Guinnevere left me a bit confused. It wasn't until I realized that it's used in Hooverphonic's The Magnificent Tree that I do not have foretelling gifts, but I just already knew the sample.


  • star_shaped_man

    Great read! I think you summed it up perfectly, the only difference is I was hooked after I first heard it... one of my all-time favourite records! Beautiful harmonies and songwriting, makes me feel like giving up on writing songs.

    13. Jan. 2011, 19:45
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