Crosby, Stills and Nash: Every Album, Every Song
published: 14 /
Nicky Crewe finds that Andrew Wild's new book in Sonicbond Publishing’s 'On Track' series is a definitive guide to Crosby, Stills and Nash not forgetting Neil Young’s contributions.
This slim volume packs in an enormous amount of information and insight into the songs and careers of Crosby, Stills and Nash, both together and as solo artists. Neil Young’s contribution is assessed and catalogued, too. It’s a book by a true fan, for fans. In spite of its modest size, it is much more than a discography, including quotes from interviews and relevant publications to add interest to the nitty gritty detail of who recorded what, when and who with. There are some great colour photos too.
Andrew Wild writes about music and local history, so we have that much in common. We share a love of the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash, too. And I suspect we have been to some of the same concerts in Manchester over the last decade including Crosby and Nash, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Graham Nash solo.
The scope of this book begins with the careers of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash before they got together and discovered the magic they could make. The Hollies, the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield are all part of the back story. So, of course, are Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell. Neil Young becomes a significant player with Deja Vu and beyond. Andrew Wild doesn’t shy away from exploring the difficulties experienced by this extremely talented group of musicians, with their own distinctive approaches to their careers, their lifestyles and their music.
The byline is ‘every album, every song’ and we are taken through album by album, with information and some analysis of each, from Crosby, Stills and Nash released in 1969 to 'Deja Vu Live' in 2006.
There’s also a list of compilations, archive collections and unreleased and incomplete albums, plus a core-collection discography and a bibliography.
There’s a section on their solo albums, and at time of publication (late 2020) the question of their future is posed. Now, all in their late seventies, these musicians are still making music, but the chance of them doing it together again is unlikely.
My involvement with CS&N, and Neil Young began in 1969 with a significant teenage romance and continued until I reached '4 Way Street'. We listened to our vinyl records with attention and awe, and even a sense of occasion; those songs are embedded deeply in my psyche. I lost my way until I started to see various combinations in concerts in Manchester around 2011 - those concerts are among the most emotional and memorable I’ve ever attended.
The vivid descriptions of the early songs and the stories behind them brought memories flooding back, not least because songs like 'Teach Your Children', 'Our House' and 'Marrakesh Express' have been and continue to be part of the soundtrack of my own life.
In 1967, Graham Nash wasn’t the only one who dreamt of leaving the rainy skies of Manchester for sunny California. I was too young to do it, but I loved that he did. As a long time fan of Nash, I loved the observation that he was “the artistic dark horse” of C S &N.
I’m glad this kind of book is still being written and published and can sit on a shelf as part of a valued collection. Internet searches have their place, but this is a true reference book, setting their music in personal and political contexts. It’s also a reminder of the power of their music and their influence as songwriters and commentators over the decades.