Crosby, Stills & Nash (album)

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Crosby, Stills & Nash
Studio album by Crosby, Stills & Nash
Released May 29, 1969
Recorded June 26, 1968 - April 3, 1969 at Wally Heider's Studio III, Los Angeles
Genre Rock
Folk rock
Length 40:52
Label Atlantic
Producer Bill Halverson
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash chronology
Crosby, Stills & Nash
(1969)
Déjà Vu
(1970)
Singles from Crosby, Stills & Nash
  1. "Marrakesh Express"
    Released: 1969
  2. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"
    Released: September 1969

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 October 25, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.

History[edit]

The album was a very strong debut for the band, instantly lifting them to stardom. Along with the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo and The Band's Music From Big Pink of the previous year, it helped initiate a sea change in popular music away from the ruling late sixties aesthetic of bands playing blues-based rock music on loud guitars. Crosby, Stills & Nash presented a new wrinkle in building upon rock's roots, utilizing folk, blues, and even jazz without specifically sounding like mere duplication. Not only blending voices, the three meshed their differing strengths, Crosby for social commentary and atmospheric mood pieces, Stills for his diverse musical skills and for folding folk and country elements subtly into complex rock structures, and Nash for his radio-friendly pop melodies, to create an amalgam of broad appeal. Eventually going multi-platinum, in addition to the above mentioned singles, Crosby, Stills & Nash features some of their best known songs in "Wooden Ships" and "Helplessly Hoping". "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" was composed for Judy Collins, and "Long Time Gone" was a response to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Stills dominated the recording of the album. Apart from drums, handled by Dallas Taylor, he played nearly all of the instruments on the album. Nash did acoustic guitar on two tracks and Crosby rhythm guitar on a few. Stills played all the bass, organ, and lead guitar parts, as well as acoustic guitar on his own songs.[1] "The other guys won't be offended when I say that one was my baby, and I kind of had the tracks in my head," Stills said.[2]

David Crosby bristled over the plan for "Long Time Gone" as he thought he should at least play rhythm guitar on his own song. Stills convinced him to go home for a while and when he returned Crosby was won over by the music track that Stills and Taylor had recorded.[3]

This album proved very influential on many levels to the dominant popular music scene in America for much of the 1970s. The success of the album generated gravitas for the group within the industry, and galvanized interest in signing like acts, many of whom came under management and representation by the CSN team of Elliot Roberts and David Geffen. Strong sales, combined with the group's emphasis on personal confession in its writing, paved the way for the success of the singer-songwriter movement of the early seventies. Their utilization of personal events in their material without resorting to subterfuge, their talents in vocal harmony, their cultivation of painstaking studio craft, as well as the Laurel Canyon ethos that surrounded the group and their associates, established an aesthetic for a number of acts that came to define the "California" sound of the ensuing decade, including The Eagles, Jackson Browne, post-1974 Fleetwood Mac, and others.

The album has been issued on compact disc three times: mastered by Barry Diament at Atlantic Studios in the mid-1980s;[4] remastered by Joe Gastwirt at Ocean View Digital and reissued on August 16, 1994; reissued again by Rhino Records as an expanded edition using the HDCD process on January 24, 2006.

A gold compact disc edition of the album which was released on December 6, 2011, remastered by Steve Hoffman. The track 'Guinnevere' was changed to 'Guinevere'. Marshall Blonstein, head of Audio Fidelity, said "Since 1969, every vinyl, cassette and CD version of the album had it spelled with two n's. But recently the group decided to take out the [historically inaccurate] extra 'n'. So our CD booklet, tray card and even the original LP labels now show the title with just the one 'n'."[5]

Cover[edit]

On the cover the members are, left to right, Nash, Stills, and Crosby, for no particular reason, the reverse of the order of the album title. The photo was taken by their friend and photographer Henry Diltz before they came up with a name for the group. They found an abandoned house at 815 Palm Avenue, West Hollywood, across from the Santa Palm car wash that they thought would be a perfect fit for their image. A few days later they decided on the name “Crosby, Stills, and Nash”. To prevent confusion, they went back to the house a day or so later to re-shoot the cover in the correct order, but when they got there they found the house had been reduced to a pile of timber.[6]

Dallas Taylor can be seen looking through the window of the door on the rear of the sleeve.[7] In the expanded edition, however, he is absent. The original vinyl LP was released in a gatefold sleeve that depicted the band members in large fur parkas with a sunset in the background on the gatefold (shot in Big Bear, California[8]), as well as the iconic cover art. A long folded page inside displayed the album credits, lyrics, track listing, as well as a quasi-psychedelic pencil drawing.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau B+[10]
The Music Box 5/5 stars[11]

Crosby, Stills & Nash has received positive reviews. Jason Akeny of Allmusic gave the album five out of five stars, noting that some of the themes of the songs "haven't dated well" but "the harmonies are absolutely timeless, and the best material remains rock-solid".[9] Reviewing the album in 2006 for The Music Box, John Metzger also gave it five out of five stars, commenting, "the music is organic and pure; the vocals are otherworldly".[11] Robert Christgau, who elsewhere shows his disdain for what he calls the "El Lay" sound in general and for CSN/CSNY in particular, gave it a grade of B+, along with a backhanded compliment, "I have written elsewhere that this album is perfect, but that is not necessarily a compliment. Only Crosby's vocal on 'Long Time Gone' saves it from a special castrati award."[10]

In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Crosby, Stills & Nash number 259 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[12]

Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner was finally credited as co-composer of "Wooden Ships" on the expanded edition, something long acknowledged on his group's version of the song from their Volunteers album, released the same year.[13] David Crosby singing an excerpt of "Come On in My Kitchen" between "Long Time Gone" and "49 Bye-Byes" was left off the 2006 expanded reissue at the request of the late Robert Johnson's estate.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"   Stephen Stills 7:25
2. "Marrakesh Express"   Graham Nash 2:39
3. "Guinnevere"   David Crosby 4:40
4. "You Don't Have to Cry"   Stephen Stills 2:45
5. "Pre-Road Downs"   Graham Nash 3:01

Side two[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Wooden Ships"   David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Paul Kantner 5:29
2. "Lady of the Island"   Graham Nash 2:39
3. "Helplessly Hoping"   Stephen Stills 2:41
4. "Long Time Gone"   David Crosby 4:17
5. "49 Bye-Byes"   Stephen Stills 5:16

2006 bonus tracks[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Notes Length
11. "Do for the Others"   Stephen Stills Stills and Nash demo 2:49
12. "Song with No Words (Tree with No Leaves)"   David Crosby Crosby and Nash 3:18
13. "Everybody's Talkin'"   Fred Neil Stills with Crosby and Nash on harmonies 3:14
14. "Teach Your Children"   Graham Nash Nash and Crosby demo 3:14

Personnel[edit]

Production personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard (North America)[16]

Year Chart Position
1969 Black Albums 35
Pop Albums 6

Singles - Billboard (North America)[16]

Year Single Chart Position
1969 "Marrakesh Express" Hot 100 28
"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" Hot 100 21

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://musichistory101.tripod.com/
  2. ^ David Wild, Crosby, Stills and Nash booklet, 2006 release, 6.
  3. ^ "Stills played the bass, the organ, the guitar. Dallas played the drums. And it's excellent! It has a wonderful feel to it. When we came back and heard the playback, I just sat there, stunned." David Crosby and Carl Gottlieb, Long Time Gone: The Autobiography of David Crosby. Da Capo Press, 150.
  4. ^ CSN Remaster or Original CD - SH Forums.
  5. ^ Cashmere, Paul (30 November 2011). "Crosby Stills & Nash Classic Guinnevere Becomes Guinevere". Noise11. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "FAQ Crosby, Still & Nash and Neil Young, CSNY". Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  7. ^ "FAQ Crosby, Still & Nash and Neil Young, CSNY". Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  8. ^ Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography By Dave Zimmer, Henry Diltz. Da Capo Press. 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. "Crosby, Stills & Nash". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Crosby, Stills & Nash". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Metzger, John (January 2006). "Crosby, Stills & Nash". The Music Box. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "262 | Crosby, Stills and Nash - Crosby, Stills and Nash". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. 
  13. ^ David Crosby:"Paul called me up and said that he was having this major duke-out with this horrible guy who was managing the band, and he was freezing everything their names were on. ‘He might injunct the release of your record,’ he told me. So we didn’t put Paul’s name on it for a while. In later versions, we made it very certain that he wrote it with us." http://www.davidcrosby.com/news/2012/09/interview-david-crosby-talks-crosby-stills-nashs-debut-album-track-track
  14. ^ http://aln3.albumlinernotes.com/CSN_Box_Set_Tracklist.html
  15. ^ http://www.davidcrosby.com/news/2012/09/interview-david-crosby-talks-crosby-stills-nashs-debut-album-track-track
  16. ^ a b "Crosby, Stills & Nash: Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 12 May 2013.