Tuesday, September 2, 2014
By Tim Bullard
Special to Moultrie News
In ninth grade junior high school, we found ourselves in a Holiday Inn with a few members of Manassas in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as musician Al Perkins entertained us as we awaited a Latin convention.
Today, I’m checking out CSNY 1974 supplied by Michael Jensen of Jensen Communications and Rhino.
It’s a boxed set with 40 live tracks previously unreleased from the summer tour 40 years ago.
“Love the One You’re With” is exactly the way it was back then, if you had courage to make the first move. “Wooden Ships” was one of my favorites on vinyl. I followed Stephen Stills closely back then.
“Who won your war?” It’s the same question today.
Released in July, the booklet includes many never-before-seen photos. I usually don’t get stoked by pics, but these are cool. That tour took two months with 31 concerts in 24 cities with a combined audience of over a million. The current release was produced by Graham Nash and Joel Bernstein.
Thick sideburns were the rage back then. I wore a flag tie in the high school yearbook, not very patriotic. I would get any version of this release except the pitiful offering at Starbucks stores.
Well, it’s a plus day. Jensen Communications in Pasadena just gave me the link to download CSNY 1974 and the video.
“Immigration Man” is timely now, the Graham Nash hit. “Let me in,” he sings.
Our TV at home showed bodies coming home from Vietnam nightly as Cronkite slowly changed his mind on Richard Nixon’s presidency. “Helpless” is next, a dynamite Neil Young classic. Did you know it was on the “Déjà vu” album? Jerry Garcia was on that album too. Déjà vu. It means already seen.
“Carry Me” is super with David Crosby singing a strong lead on a strong song.
“I once loved a girl. She was younger than me,” he sings.
“Johnny’s Garden” is from the album “Manassas” where Al Perkins is featured. I could play that album every day and not get tired of it. It makes me want to buy Stills’ work.
“Traces” is a pretty Neil Young song, rare. His guitar and harmonica work are super and new.
“Grave Concern” is from the Nash songbook in this first set. His work with The Hollies shines through.
“On The Beach” of course is a Neil Young classic from his fifth album. It was recorded before “Tonight’s the Night” but released afterward. The album had Nash, Rick Danko from The Band, Ralph Molina, Crosby, Ben Keith, Levon Helm and other greats.
My library has 18 Neil Young albums, but I’ve never seen him in concert.
This is one of the best cuts on the new album. “Black Queen” is a song about a card game, written by Stills. It’s hard and sweet.
“Almost Cut My Hair” is all about what every guy put up with in American barbershops or on the way past the military shops. Crosby does it the best and lets his freak flag fly. It is slow and powerful.
“Must be because I had the flu for Christmas and I’m not feeling up to par,” he sings. The guitar choir makes you close your eyes and tilt your head back, swirling.
I thought smoking pot was a sin back then, and today it’s legal in a bunch of states. Go figure.
A friend of mine went to prison for simple possession of pot.
Listening to this release of songs is like turning your clock back to your senior year of high school when Nixon was in power.
“I’m sorry, Mamma. I’m sorry, Daddy. I became a hippie,” I think. One publisher called me a communist in Boone.
“Change Partners” is next in the second set, and it is great with acoustic work and Stills’ vocals. Love was free back then. “The Lee Shore” is still haunting, reminding me of the frayed edges of my album “Four-Way Street.”
“Only Love Can Break Your Heart” has not aged a bit with Neil Young singing a sad song.
“Try to be sure right from the start,” he sings. The piano is sweet.
“Fieldworker” is timely. “Guinevere” still charms. “Prison Song” is a Nash hit. “Long May You Run” is one of the quartet’s best that couples can identify with. It makes you wonder why they called it The Doom Tour.
“Goodbye Dick” is an ode to Nixon. You remember “Mellow My Mind” and “Old Man.” There is “Word Game” and the Beatles’ “Blackbird.”
You will like “Love Art Blues” and “Déjà vu” plus “Revolution Blues” and “Long Time Gone.” “Ohio” will remind you of the young lady who was shot at Kent State.