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
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