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Crosby, Stills and Nash - Demos

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 30 / 5 / 2009

Crosby, Stills and Nash - Demos
Label: Rhino
Format: CD


Rewarding compilation of previously unissued rarities taken from the early years of the career of rock supergroup, Crosby, Stills and Nash

Crosby, Stills and Nash famously had their first live gig at Woodstock before half a million people. They were one of rock’s early supergroups. With protests over the war in Vietnam in the air, Crosby, Stills and Nash in their beginnings captured the high moment of the 1960s. Their music connected with both the mind expansion and lifestyle rebellion going on at the time. Crosby, Stills and Nash are known for their beautiful vocal harmonies and first rate songwriting craft. 'Demos' consists of previously unissued rarities taken from the early years of the band’s career. Drawn from 1968 to 1971, 'Demos' is largely composed of early versions of songs that would appear on Crosby, Stills and Nash albums and members' solo projects. The release of the Rhino Records set coincides with the trio’s induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and their summer tour of the U.S. and Europe. The versions of the Crosby, Stills and Nash songs captured on 'Demos' are fascinating and worthwhile. While these takes are often not as strong as their originally-released-on-album counterparts, they remain compelling. Particularly for the Crosby, Stills and Nash fan, these renditions are well worth hearing. 'Demos' is a time capsule, showcasing Crosby, Stills and Nash members as they try out different ideas in songwriting, singing and harmony. While the majority of 'Demos' are solo outings, 'Marrakesh Express' features all three members of the band. Recorded four months before the release of the trio’s debut album in 1969, this rendition of 'Marrakesh Express' is a lovely smooth version and a pristine recording. Graham Nash takes the lead vocal and the other members blend in for a stirring vocal harmony. Next is a stripped down version of 'Almost Cut My Hair' featuring just David Crosby’s vocal and acoustic guitar. While not as powerful as the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 1970 'Déjà Vu' album version, it is nevertheless distinctive. 'You Don’t Have to Cry' features Stephen Stills with an excellent spare recording. Most of 'Demos' are basic one man and his guitar renditions, but are nevertheless very rich and immediate in connecting to the listener. 'Music is Love' which appeared on Crosby’s 1971 solo debut, 'If I Could Only Remember My Name', surfaces here with an alternate take featuring Crosby, Nash and Neil Young. It is one of the most fulfilling outings on 'Demos'. As always Neil Young adds a great deal to the group. 'Chicago' features Graham Nash. The idealism and hope of the era shines through, “We can change the world, rearrange the world/It’s dying to get better.” Compelling versions of 'Long Time Gone' and 'Love the One You’re With' also appear here. All in all, these rare and unique takes on well known Crosby, Stills and Nash tunes make 'Demos' well worth a listen.

Track Listing:-
1 Marrakesh Express
2 Almost Cut My Hair
3 You Don't Have To Cry
4 Déjà Vu
5 Sleep Song
6 My Love Is A Gentle Thing
7 Be Yourself
8 Music Is Love
9 Singing Call
10 Long Time Gone
11 Chicago
12 Love The One You're With

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