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Saturday, November 22, 2014

REVIEW: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: CSNY 1974

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Live 1974, Box Set
(Click photo to ZOOM)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's long awaited box set from the 1974 concert tour was finally released earlier this year and still providing lots of enjoyable listening -- even as the guys continue to bicker about among themselves.

From a review of CSNY 1974 in All About Jazz by Doug Collette:
Quite early on CSNY 1974 clarifies that the group's democracy was a misconception pure and simple. While Crosby eventually wrote some of the most memorable of the group's latter-day songs (an early example of which here is "The Lee Shore"), neither songs of his like "Carry Me" nor those of Nash such as "Immigration Man" measure up to those of Stills even at his most facile, like this hard-to-recognize arrangment of "Love the One You're With." And Neil Young consistently trumps the other three with the haunting poetry in material like "Helpless," the result of which dynamic renders it little surprise that the unmistakable vibrancy of genuine chemistry, fleeting at best over the four hours plus total playing time , is usually most noticeable on tunes of the erstwhile Canadian's, such as "Only Love Can Break Your Heart." Intentionally or unintentionally, this (excruciatingly?) detailed archive piece may then be the most accurate depiction of the imbalance of talent and skill within this volatile set of relationships including the erratic one with its audience. As such, it may constitute an act of courage on the part of the group to release it.
Se full review of CSNY 1974 in All About Jazz.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

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At 11/22/2014 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Philip Dennis said...

I got it on I-tunes and it's fantastic.The key to it is in
Listening ,preferably with headphones on,to Stills and Youngs rhythm guitar especially on songs like Ohio
And Chicago.It was phenomenal the way they would strum together.On some of the acoustic songs you can literally hear the Martin guitars humming and CSN were in incredible harmony in those days.Youngs unreleased songs are gems and there was enough new material that
They could have easily put out a great studio album.

At 11/22/2014 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

According the reviewer, Helpless" is the only song worth listening. Sounds like the reviewer has an ax to grind with CSN. And baiting people regarding the drama?

I am hearing the recordings from this box set are is as bold, assertive, and as exquisite to an audiophiliac's ears as what romanée-conti is to oenophilia's lips, tongue, soul.

Certainly not deserving of all the drama unfolding.

Art for Art Sake

At 11/24/2014 01:24:00 AM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/25/2014 02:37:00 AM, Blogger dickie said...

Bit overwritten, but still a good assessment of the strength and weaknesses of this long-awaited album/project. True, despite the terrific production and sound, CSNY 1974, after multiple play throughs, never grips me the way Four Way Street still does.. That one was a real rock concert, with some of its flaws but all of its excitement and intensity. This one is more of a well-balanced programme, four guys showing off in a row. As a band they only start cooking on some of Neil's songs, On The Beach, Dont Be Denied and Pushed It Over The End, of course. The rest is, imho, much heat, yet little light.

At 11/25/2014 02:38:00 AM, Blogger dickie said...

Afterthought: to be fair, some of Neil's acoustic songs also get a remarkable, fine performance (Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Old Man). Still, overall the compilation (the best Nash could make out of all the tapes!) doesn't sweep me off my feet, like Four Way Street still does... May be, as some have remarked, it's the fame and the coke: while FWS derails at times, especially during the electric set (I don't know what they were on back then, probably just grass..), it's always compelling and 'honest'; the 1974 shows sound much more ego-conscious and feel like showboating. Would be great to have a remastered 1970 Fillmore show to compare, sometime...

At 11/25/2014 05:53:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@ dickie - Interesting observations on 4WS & CSNY 74. Recorded so close together (relatively) and here we are 40 years later. 4WS really does stand the test of time. The question is whether CSNY 74 will be relevant in 40 years. It is amazing how songs like Immigration Man, Ohio, Military Madness etc are timeless issues -- sadly.

Maybe 40 years hence, folks will listen to these quaint memories and think "Sure glad we solved those problems of immigration, police brutality, and endless war".

we can always dream...


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