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Two world-class harmony singers who had "outgrown" their respective bands - David Crosby and Graham Nash, of The Byrds and The Hollies. Stephen Stills, a refugee from Buffalo Springfield. They debuted at Woodstock and became baby boomer aristocracy. Hit-and-miss: they have their charms - "Our House", "Fair Game", etc., but more often were dull or annoying, rather than exhilarating. Occasional forays onto the purgatory of the Rock Senior Tour, where you can enjoy the purgatory of listening.

A band formed in Southern California in 1968, most often characterized by a unique vocal blend and a musical approach that ranges from acoustic folk to melodic pop to hard rock.

In my own opinion, CSN(&Y) is one of the better folk groups that came out of the late 60s/early 70s--I highly recommend Helplessly Hoping, Wooden Ships, Our House, Daylight Again, Wasted on the Way, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes and Southern Cross--their harmonies are impeccable and with or without Young, the group is one of my all-time favorites. Sophisticated without being dark--perfect folk/rock.

Select Discography:

Crosby, Stills & Nash was also the debut, eponymous album from the self-named trio. It was released in the spring of 1969, right before the group's (more or less) debut performance at Woodstock. The album was well-received, which would have been a break through for many a group, but since the three were already famous, it probably did as well as expected. It was about as long as most LPs of the era, about forty minutes, which is very short for an album of the CD era. None of the songs did particularly well as singles, because the radio market of the time was not yet oriented to rock music, unless it had a strong pop overtone.

The songs were in a style both similar and different to what had come before. It could fit underneath the big tent of the psychedelic label, but it was also equally influenced by the folk rock that David Crosby had done in The Byrds and the pop music that Graham Nash had done with The Hollies. Although the band was known for social commentary, this was coming out of an era when most popular music was relatively neutral and non-controversial. Some of the songs, such as Long Time Gone and the poetic Wooden Ships, had political and social allusions, but many of the songs are love songs, such as Suite: Judy Blue Eyes and Guinnevere, or 49 Bye-Byes. Marrakesh Express is a short, upbeat song describing a train ride in Morocco. All of the songs are marked with the groups distinctive harmonies, and also by an instrumentation that could be described as acoustic, even when it is in fact not.

To me, the real influence of the album can be gained from the album cover, which shows the three principles of the band sitting on a couch, in front of a decrepit looking house, with Stills holding an acoustic guitar. They are wearing blue jeans and muted, earth toned clothing. This is somewhat of a departure from what was considered fashionable in the counter culture at the time. Psychedelic had been synonymous with bright colors and extravagent costuming, so a rock group wearing street clothing was somewhat of a statement. If this was just a fasion statment, it wouldn't be too important, but it was also reflected in the type of music that was played. Instead of bright, garish, distorted psychedelic rock, the music was just as down-to-earth as the ensemble's clothing. This is not music to have a reality-warping LSD trip to, but rather music to listen to as you spend a mellow afternoon smoking marijuana. (Not that I am suggesting that drug use is needed or desirable, just demonstrating how it would have appeared to the listener at the time.) In other words, this album is one of the first signs of when hippie culture transferred from an urban identification to a back to the land theme. It would usher in a great number of country rock and folk rock albums in the 1970s, and was one of the first signs that the line between redneck and hippie was starting to blur.

Apart from its social significance, it is also a great album, with the many influences mixing together to form songs that are distinctive, well done, and moving. Track listing:

  1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
  2. Marrakesh Express
  3. Guinnevere
  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

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