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Monday, September 04, 2017

NO MORE SECOND BILLING: CSN&Y Bass Player Greg Reeves Releases His 1st Single: "WORKIN MAN"


Greg Reeves (lower right)
w/ Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young + Dallas Taylor

Welcome to "Wheat of the Moment"!

"Wheat of the Moment" is a new feature here on Thrasher's Wheat as Neil Young’s 2017 self imposed touring sabbatical continues (updated here and here), and we continue our journey into the past of the TW Archives.

In addition, we recently, we posted the sad news that there will be No Bridge School Benefit Concert in 2017 . In memory of all of the Bridge School Benefit Concerts we've attended over the years, here's a posting of our thoughts on Remembering The Warmth & Love of Bridge School Concerts .

In the meantime, enjoy the "Wheat of the Moment"!

Here's a recent submission received by John Kwit, North American Reporter for www.4WaySite.com on Greg Reeves.

Greg Reeves is best known for playing bass on Déjà Vu and After The Gold Rush. In 1970 he was abruptly fired from CSNY. But Greg and Neil Young remained good friends. Both Neil and Nils Lofgren had great praise for Greg’s playing style, noting his versatility and how he was able to move fluidly between simple and complex bass lines. But after a few years, Greg vanished from the music scene…. But now www.4WaySite.com catches up with Greg Reeves.


Greetings Thrasher:

Your colleague, Dolf Van Stigjeren of www.4WaySite.com, encouraged me to contact you directly. Dolf is taking a well deserved break from his CSNY website but in the meantime his North American Reporter has carried on, talking with Greg Reeves over the past several months.

On September 5, those of us in the United States take a moment to pause and celebrate the Labor Day holiday. A fitting time, I hope, that you would consider running an article on Greg who has labored over the release of his first-ever single for almost 5 decades. We would be honored if you would include this in-depth piece for Fresh Wheat. (I only hope my non-techie skills have made the 4 web links in the article function. If I've failed let me know & I'll try again.)

Whether your labor finds you slinging hash or writing reviews, do what you love and love what you do. On a personal note, I have thoroughly enjoyed the recent Hitchhiker news found on your tremendous site. Keep up the great work.

Regards & Peace,
John Kwit
North American Reporter
www.4WaySite.com

Greg Reeves - ~ 2014

NO MORE SECOND BILLING

Former Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) bass player Greg Reeves realizes his 47+ year dream with the release of his first ever single: WORKIN MAN

Greg Reeves: WORKIN MAN - Music on Google Play

Greg Reeves as told to:
John Kwit
North American Reporter
www.4WaySite.com

Got a minute? Good. Grab a beverage, sit down, relax, and take in a most remarkable story of persistence and perseverance. You may have first learned about Greg Reeves via his photo and gold leaf second billing status on the brown textured cover of CSNY's hit album Deja Vu. Greg Reeves is a man who would not be denied. He has finally completed his dream to release a single - 47 years after playing the original demo to a Beatle.

To give the story of Reeves' life a bit of perspective, think back to what you were doing when you were 12 years old. Perhaps you spent your time riding your bicycle to the corner store or playing pickup baseball games with neighborhood kids. Greg Reeves' hard scrabble life took him on a totally different path. At the age of 12 he had left home and was working with singer Rick James in Motown. This is the same Rick James who earlier had fronted a band called the Mynah Birds featuring Neil Young on guitar. After the Mynah Birds broke up, James took Reeves to California in an attempt to find Neil Young and by Divine Providence he was successful.

The saga of the song Workin Man really begins in April 1970.


CSN&Y

CSNY was about to begin an American Tour. The band's 1969 tour was cut short by the tragic death of David Crosby's girlfriend in an auto accident. The band regrouped but the magic quickly fizzled into bickering and acrimony. The seasoned 14 year old Reeves ruffled feathers by requesting that his songs be brought into the set list. In short order, Stephen Stills delivered the fatal speech sacking Reeves as Neil Young stood by the bass player's side to the bitter end. Young believed so highly in the young man that the next day he asked Reeves to play bass on his upcoming solo album After the Gold Rush (released in September 1970). Reeves contributed his stellar bass grooves to the tracks Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Southern Man.

With his ties to CSNY cut, Reeves and guitarist Jeff Beck headed to London with their manager Larry Kurzon. Kurzon was extremely active in the music business. Besides being CSN's first manager, he was also Billy Preston's manager and a personal advisor to John, Paul and George. Apple Records had taken a pass on signing CSN two years earlier but Kurzon wanted to showcase the talents of the young Reeves to the execs. Kurzon strolled into Apple Records with a demo tape of Workin Man featuring Reeves and Nils Lofgren on acoustic guitars. Lofgren had surprised Reeves and company a short time earlier by showing up unexpectedly at their London flat after winning a trip to England via a sweepstakes contest. George Harrison heard the Workin Man tape. He was intrigued, offered studio time, but ultimately was not intrigued enough to sign the young Reeves.

After heading back to the States, Reeves continued to hone his craft. 1971 found Greg in a Macon, Georgia, recording studio. Some "friends" stopped by the studio to play. These "friends" were never mentioned by name in the September 4, 1971, Billboard Magazine article by Bob Glassenberg which noted that three cuts, including Workin Man, had been completed at the sessions. According to Reeves, the "friends" included Duane Allman, Jaimoe and Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers Band. The Billboard reporter noted that he heard the single version of Workin Man which clocked in at 4 minutes and described it as one of the most unique records he had heard in a very, very long time. The album version of the song ran 5 minutes 12 seconds. According to the article, at this time several record companies were courting Reeves but ultimately the single and album failed to bear fruit in Georgia.


A few months later, Columbia Records' Clive Davis signed Reeves to a $200,000 contract. Rather than beginning sessions in Columbia's New York studios, Davis agreed to Reeves' request to head west to Hollywood where some other friends had agreed to lend a hand. In that Hollywood studio, Graham Nash (who failed to support Reeves during the CSNY sacking) and longtime friend Neil Young joined the sessions playing on 3 to 6 takes of Workin Man. Alas, the single and the album were not deemed commercial and failed to see the light of day.

Jump to 1975: Through the help of Larry Kurzon, Reeves signed on with David Geffen at Elecktra Asylum Records. He headed into the studio again, in yet another attempt to capture Workin Man on tape. All told, 26 or 27 tracks were worked on. This time his studio friends included Graham Nash taking a second stab on vocals and "The Brahma Bull" Stevland Morris on drums, high hat and kick pedal. Oh yes, before I forget to mention it, Stevland Morris' stage name is Stevie Wonder. Ultimately, the tapes of the sessions were shelved.


“Long Time Gone”
CSNY - This Is Tom Jones TV Show

September 6, 1969

Over the span of the next 40+ years, Reeves' life followed a surreal path of highs, lows and in-betweens including writing hit songs such as I Got Your Number covered by Tom Jones and Boz Scaggs, producing records for George Clinton, spending seven precarious months in a Mexican prison for marijuana possession, and going back to college to earn an Associates Degree in Mandarin Chinese.

During the span of 2012-2014, Reeves took part in a series of interviews conducted by 4WaySite.com (http://www.4waysite.com/exclusive-4waysite-2/exclusive-4waysite-4waysite-catches-up-with-greg-reeves-in-2012/). His intention to release Workin Man was covered during these discussions.

During the past year or so the desire to record and release Workin Man became almost an all-consuming obsession for Reeves. Numerous emails and discussions have taken place between Reeves and this reporter regarding Workin' Man and the many souls he has met along the way of life. He has enough stories to write a book!

Greg Reeves has finally received TOP BILLING. His first-ever single, Workin Man, was released on June 30, 2017, and is now available by a click of your mouse via the link at the beginning of this story.

Through the magic of Pro Tools, the single features the original drumming of Stevie Wonder from the Elecktra Asylum sessions. Recently mastered by the legendary audio engineer Bernie Grundman, the rest (except for the ooohs and ahhhs supplied by three of the most beautiful women God created) is all Greg Reeves who handles the vocals and plays the following instruments: Axiom 25 Keyboard, Martin D-18 Acoustic Guitar and Fender Precision Bass.

Reeves describes Workin Man as pop, designed for Top Forty radio play. So far, a handful of radio stations have put it into rotation and he is hoping that the CSNY family can help spread the news of his new release. It is in no way associated with Neil Young's song of the same name featured on the album The Monsanto Years.

So do yourself a favor: For less than half the cost of a decent cup of coffee, purchase the single, give it a few spins on your 45 rpm record player and then let the man himself know what you think.

Workin Man is what I am
Workin Man is what I'll be
Till the wheel of fortune turns me free


You can contact Greg Reeves via his website: http://gregreevesmusic.com/


CSNY - The Music Scene
September 1969
Photo by Jeff Allen

Thanks so much for submitting John and all you do for www.4WaySite.com and CSNY fans around the world!

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4 Comments:

At 9/05/2017 02:39:00 AM, Blogger Philippe 7 said...

Was Greg Reeves really only 14 years old when he played on Déjà Vu ? I knew he was very young, but certainly not that young. In any case, very interesting piece, thak you.

 
At 9/05/2017 11:17:00 AM, Blogger Seamus Mc Donnell said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/05/2017 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Seamus Mc Donnell said...

Nice one!

 
At 9/11/2017 12:02:00 PM, Blogger John Kwit said...

Here is an updated Google Play link for Greg Reeves:
https://play.google.com/store/music/artist?id=Awbd4rr7lxxtucozqpihf5w6kum

John Kwit
North American Reporter
4WaySite.com

 

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