Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CSNY - Almost Cut My Hair

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are a bit of a guilty pleasure with me, but I'm not convinced that they should be. Sure, it's easy to scapegoat them for the general folk-rock malaise that began in the waning moments of the 1960s and carried on into the 1970s -- until punk motherfucking obliterated that shit. But take "Deja Vu," their debut as the complete CSNY -- Side A of that album is just chock full of awesome. "Carry On" is a nice Stills guitar piece, with a psyched-out interlude that is letter-perfect; Nash's "Teach Your Children" stands up against the best of the Byrds' folk harmonies; "Helpless" is classic Neil Young (although the live version in "The Last Waltz" really outshines the album version here); "Woodstock" is a solid, driving tune, if a little dated. And even if Side B is a little forgettable (if not regrettable: see the execrable "Our House"), that doesn't make Side A any less an indispensable document of the folk-rock era.

But I'm coming in here with this David Crosby bullshit, this anthem for a generation of drugged-up, burned-out longhairs? What can I say, I like it -- it's got a raw, visceral sound to it; coming right after "Teach Your Children," it's a nice palate cleanser; when Crosby snarls "Separate the wheat ... from the chaff," it gets me every time.

And I do have an ulterior motive: I shaved my beard. It happened just the other day. I didn't wipe it out completely, but I really sort of went from this to this. For the best.

CSNY: Expect lava lamps.

All five of their albums released between 1969 and 1977 went multi-platinum, which makes CSNY an exceedingly easy find on vinyl -- I picked up the three I own for a total of $2. (If you're keeping score, Deja Vu was a whole dollar.)


(Dan) said...

If you are trying to buy my forgiveness with Mathew Brady portraiture congratulations that is the way to do it.

Whisk E. Bear said...

I'll make it up to y'all with a special post (and upload) next week.

Craig said...

(We're apologizing to Dan?)