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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Record Reviews > Crosby Stills & Nash

MUSIC REVIEWS

Crosby Stills & Nash-Greatest Hits (Atlantic/Rhino)

As hard as it is to believe, this is the first domestic Greatest Hits compilation for this veteran hippie supergroup, whose debut self-titled album was released about 36 years ago and whose most recent CD came in 1999.  (Unless you count So Far, an early 70s stop-gap collection released by their label against their wishes that cherry-picked songs from their first two LPs plus a couple of non-album singles.  There was also a box set and a few live albums or videos in all those years.) 

I guess it is no great surprise, the guys have never been in a serious rush to release group albums; the songs in this collection are all picked from the band's first four (and not coincidentally, their best-known) albums, which were released over a thirteen year period.  There was Crosby Stills & Nash (1969), Deja Vu (1970, with sometime group member Neil Young), CSN (1977) and Daylight Again (1982).

In the time in-between, the guys worked solo and in tandems (Crosby and Nash, Stills and Young) and with other groups (Manassas, the Hollies).  These side projects are not sampled here, nor are the four albums the group has released since 1982 (including two more with Young).  One of the biggest Crosby Stills Nash & Young singles is also not here, Neil Young's "Ohio," a 1970 protest of the Kent State killings which does show up on the recent Young compilation, also released by Rhino.  Other classic songs without Young conspicuous in their absence are their cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" and "Almost Cut My Hair."  Also, of course there are the band's legendary unreleased songs (including Crosby's "Triad") from aborted projects over the years.  Not to mention the live albums and occasional non-album singles (like 1983's "War Games," which was recorded for the Matthew Broderick film but not included in the movie.)

Okay, enough of what is not here, because what is here is pretty fine.  Made up of members of some of the bigger bands of the late 60s, the Byrds (Crosby), the Hollies (Nash) and the Buffalo Springfield (Stills and Young), CS&N quickly became known for their heavenly harmonizing of distinct voices.  Many of the songs here are acknowledged, deserved classics. 

The band is known for the blending of their talents rather than individual contributions, however each partner adds a bit to the creative mix.  The songs can cover such territory of Still's mini-folk-operetta "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" to the simple gorgeous devotion of Crosby's "Guinnevere" to the wonderfully playful pop of Nash's "Marrakesh Express." 

The later singles hold up surprisingly well, too, with the Nash's gorgeous "Wasted On the Way," his lamentful "Just A Song Before I Go" and Still's maritime ballad "Southern Cross" all deserving a place in the group's canon. 

Crosby Stills & Nash were the first of the so-called "supergroups" in rock history.  This disk is a nice reminder that they're still one of the best.  (3/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 20, 2005.

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Copyright 2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 20, 2005.