Voyage: David Crosby’s new compilation CD

November 27, 2006

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Rhino Records has just released a 3-CD set of music by David Crosby that spans his career from the Byrds through his current work with CPR. The publication is a stunningly beautiful document lovingly curated by Graham Nash and Joel Bernstein. The first two CDs includes music from the Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and CSNY, jams with Jerry Garcia, and members of the Jefferson Airplane, his duo work with Graham Nash, and his recent work from CPR.

I listened to the first two CDs worth of music. No new discoveries, I always knew these were great songs. I have them emblazoned in my brain, perhaps to a fault in that I really don’t need to listen to this music many more times in my life. Save them for special occasions. But that is my problem, I grew up with this music. For future listeners, this is more than a greatest hits compilation: it is a retrospective. There is a lot they excluded. “Hey Joe” ain’t there. Where is “Lady Friend”?? And what about some of that pre-Byrds juvenelia? Ah, it’s ok. Leave it for later.

But, there is a third CD called BURIED TREASURE.

Oh my God. Crosby lovers, get ready for some primo David Crosby. I was in heaven hearing and re-experiencing these songs.

“Guinnevere” is a new experience. It shows it’s lineage to another Crosby masterpiece, “Lady Friend.” Crosby’s guitars sparkle and the Airplane’s Jack Casady’s bass has a punch that gives the song a whole new feeling. Wow!

I have been over “Almost Cut My Hair” since the song came out. But here we realize that it was wrecked by Neil Young in the CSNY version. It actually is related to “Everybody’s Been Burned” and “Triad.” Rediscover this beauty.

“Games” is a gem that owes its existence to early Joni Mitchell. Not far from Gram Parson’s early songs with the Shilohs. A perfect coffee house song. I can smell the espresso, cigarettes, and, sniff, sniff, is that cannabis?

“Deja Vu” appears in similar shape here, minus Stephen Stills’ guitar solo, John Sebastian’s harmonica, and bass and drums.

The performance of “Triad” is the best available, so take a listen to it. I never was clear exactly WHO the three were. There is a three-way picture of three hands in the CD booklet. Hmmm….

I had a bootleg copy of “Triad” in 1970. It’s a song I’ve always loved and sung. I was in a successful trio in Green Bay Wisconsin from 1969 to 1971 called TRIAD. We were oblivious to the sexual implications of this song, and sang it passionately. I can imagine the audience was amused at our naivete.

“Kids and Dogs” is a stoned improvisation that was drifts towards being a downright great song. And who is playing you ask? Jerry Garcia –– on break from mixing AMERICAN BEAUTY down the hall –– with Crosby playing multi-tracked guitars, and multi-tracking his voice as well. Like Joni, Crosby prefers his own voice as his back-up. I just wish he would have thought of something to SAY. I mean the Byrds couldn’t shut him up in between songs, going on about one thing or another. Why not write some lyrics David? OK, it’s a vocalise, yeah I got it. If you liked “Music is Love” you’ll see this as the happy little brother of it.

The climax of the CD is the Paul Kanter/Crosby collaboration, “Have You Seen the Stars Tonight.” Holy shit, what a group. David’s voice soars and blends, as does Graham Nash’s, but even more thrilling are Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick and Paul Kanter, and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Jerry Garcia.

I don’t know how popular David Crosby is in the world, and I don’t know whether his music would resonate with you as it has for me. I sang it and played it from 1965 through 1973 (before I dumped him for Stravinsky). Those were magical years, so how much of it do I like because it was my companion during that time?

There is a Bob Dylan quote in the booklet that is worth reprinting here:

Crosby was a colorful and unpredictable character, wore a Mandrake the Magician cape, didn’t get along with too many people and had a beautiful voice––an architect of harmony…

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Do You Like Listening to The Music Of Your Childhood? | My Guitar Buddies
December 30, 2007 at 12:48 am

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad Wood December 1, 2006 at 1:32 pm

I ought to get that.

You do know the Jefferson Airplane cover of Triad, I assume? Grace Slick leaves no doubt about what her position in the arrangement is to be.

Roger Bourland December 1, 2006 at 1:46 pm

Yes I knew that one, but I also had a Crosby bootleg from somewhere.

Brad Wood December 3, 2006 at 10:28 am

This post triggered a flood of ancient pop music remembrances, including a good deal of Buffalo Springfield. Right now I’m trying to get one of the corniest out of my skull: “Do I have to come right out and say it?” Sheesh.

dogheartc January 4, 2007 at 12:28 am

Where have all the rockin’ hippies gone?
What the heck happened to this guy, who I adored on the all-star San Francisco rock CD, “If I could only remember my Name” as well as so many other hippie beauties?
Well, we know the answer: cocaine and stardom complacency had alot to do with it. So sad.

Roger Bourland January 4, 2007 at 8:59 am

Hey Dogheartc, thanks for the comment. Y’know, Crosby is doing pretty well considering he could have very well died many times over the past 2 decades. Yes he’s older as we all are, but still hanging in there!

As far as I know, cocaine is out of his life, probably a little pot has replaced it, but that won’t kill him.

trh July 8, 2007 at 10:03 am

I would be interested to hear your take on Crosby’s ‘arrows’. Branford Marsalis’s sax playing seems uniquely suited to Crosby’s sense of harmony.

–trh

cup December 30, 2007 at 12:29 am

I grew up during the seventies and remember those songs and Crosby’s music as part of growing up. It is strange though that I don’t seem to have the need to hear these songs more than once or twice nowadays it is as if they are better preserved as memories.

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