Archive for Crosby Stills Nash and Young

The Mother of Woodstock

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , on August 8, 2009 by 30daysout


Joni Mitchell was one of the best singer/songwriters to come out of the late 1960s, and in many minds she’s identified with the Woodstock festival although she spent that historic weekend downstate, in New York City.

Mitchell is, of course, the warbling Canadian whose complex songs nevertheless propelled her into stardom and became hits mainly for other people (Judy Collins with “Both Sides Now,” Buffy Sainte-Marie with “The Circle Game” and country singer George Hamilton IV with “Urge For Going.”).  She had her own hits- “Help Me” and the album Court and Spark in 1974 – and has influenced everyone from Stevie Nicks to Sheryl Crow to Annie Lennox to Natalie Merchant.

But you may have already begun hearing one of her best-known songs, “Woodstock,” covered most famously by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  Back in 1969, Mitchell was invited to perform at Woodstock but her manager didn’t want her to miss a scheduled appearance on Dick Cavett’s ABC-TV show.   So she stewed in the Big Apple while her buddies (including then-boyfriend Graham Nash) transformed Max Yasgur’s farm into ground zero for that era’s pop culture universe.

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Bad Career Moves, Part 3

Posted in Rock Rant with tags , , , , on July 25, 2009 by 30daysout

Stephen Stills - No booty today!

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were huge stars and gods of the counterculture in the late 1960s, but what many have forgotten (or didn’t know) is that CSNY was also a so-called “supergroup.”  Graham Nash was in the second-wave British invasion band the Hollies, and David Crosby spent a few years in the original Byrds.  Stephen Stills and Neil Young were the twin towers of Buffalo Springfield, probably the finest American rock band ever.

For some reason, Nash was always considered the weak link in the group – although he wound up writing and singing most of CSNY’s hits (“Teach Your Children,” “Wasted On The Way,” “Our House”).  Crosby always kind of a loudmouth and his songs had no melody and made no sense.  Stills and Young were the guitarists, and they gave this group its rock and roll kick.

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Review: Ry Cooder, Graham Nash boxed

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on February 12, 2009 by 30daysout

front                cover

A couple of new box sets attempt to take in-depth looks at the career output of two rock artists who may not be A-list famous, but are vital nonetheless. 

Ry Cooder’s 2-CD set The UFO Has Landed reviews the work of the incredible guitarist who’s played with the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison, scored a number of movies and as a solo artist released one of the most eclectic catalogs in recorded music.  This anthology, assembled by Cooder’s son and musical partner Joachim, doesn’t tackle Ry’s work in a chronological order so you have early covers of Woody Guthrie and Willie Dixon next to some of his moody, swirling film instrumentals. 

Less than half of the 34 tracks on this anthology are Cooder originals; the rest are interpretations of traditional music.  But if you aren’t familiar with Ry Cooder’s work, don’t let that stop you: this stuff rocks, sometimes unbelievably so.  “Get Rhythm,” the Johnny Cash cover that kicks off Disc 1, mixes some nasty slide guitar work with a tropical beat that’s instantly infectious.  A cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together” has guest performances from Zydeco accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco and Memphis legend Jim Dickinson on keyboards – and of course, it rocks. 

I don’t have enough time or space to riffle through all the tracks, this is all great listening.  Hats off the boys at Rhino Records for this great compilation!  One track they missed though – Cooder’s version of “Across The Borderline,” a song he wrote (along with Dickinson and John Hiatt) for the 1982 Jack Nicholson flick The Border.  The song has been done by Freddy Fender, Dwight Yoakam, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, but Cooder’s version is the best – it guest stars cult movie fave Harry Dean Stanton!

MP3: “Let’s Work Together”

MP3: “Across The Borderline” (with Harry Dean Stanton)

Graham Nash is, of course, the guy we all loved in the Hollies, the dude we were OK with in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the solo artist who went from charming to irritating to “American Idol” over a 30-year span.  And that’s sort of how the retrospective Reflections plays out over three discs. 

Disc One is easily the most indispensable, the curtain rising on three Nash-written classics from the Hollies (in mono!) and rolling right into the monumental songs he did with CSN and Y: “Marrakesh Express,” “Teach Your Children” and “Our House,” among others.  His navel gazer “Right Between The Eyes” (heard previously only as a live version) pops up here as a studio demo.  The first CD winds down with early solo work that’s pretty good; many of these songs (like the wimpy protest songs “Chicago” and “Military Madness’) feature many of the crowned heads of the late ’60s hippie kingdom like members of the Dead, the Airplane and whomever. 

But after that first disc you get two platters’ worth of plodding piano plunkers and hilariously dated synthesizer screamers, interrupted only occasionally by a really listenable moment.  “Wasted On The Way,” a chart hit for CSN, is OK, and buried on the third disc there’s a charming “Two Hearts” which teams Nash and Carole King for some truly impressive harmony work.  The historians at Rhino did some great work for Graham Nash (as they did with the Crosby box set last year, and presumably with the upcoming Stephen Stills set), but I wish they would’a tossed in “The War Song,” the 45 single Nash and Neil Young cut in 1972 to support George McGovern’s presidential bid.

MP3: “Carrie Anne” by the Hollies

MP3: “The War Song” by Neil Young and Graham Nash

Rhino Records official website

So Long, Bush!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on January 20, 2009 by 30daysout


Today Barack Obama will take the oath to become the 44th President of the United States.  Millions of Americans will breathe a sigh of relief – not so much that Obama is in the White House, but that George W. Bush is out.   As the Beatles sang, “It’s getting better all the time … it can’t get no worse!

CAUTION: Some of the following songs contain explicit language.

MP3: “George Bush R.I.P.” by Cosmo vs. Flapsandwich

MP3: “Let’s Impeach The President” (live) by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

MP3: “Son Of A Bush” by Public Enemy

MP3: “George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People” by the Legendary K.O.

MP3: “When The President Talks To God” by Bright Eyes

MP3: “Long Dark Night” by John Fogerty

MP3: “Mission Accomplished (You Gotta Have Faith)” by Todd Snider

MP3: “We Can’t Make It Here” by James McMurtry

MP3: “Fortunate Son” by the New Orleans Social Club

MP3: “Bring ‘Em Home”  by Bruce Springsteen

YouTube: A salute to George W. Bush