Posts Tagged ‘David Crosby’

The Dick Cavett Show (1968)

The Jefferson Airplane perform “Somebody to Love” with David Crosby as well as the politically charged anthems “Volunteers” and “We Can Be Together.”

Joni Mitchell was scheduled to appear at the August 1969 Woodstock festival in upstate New York, but her agent, David Geffen, cancelled her appearance there, worried she would not be able to make it back in time for a television appearance in New York for The Dick Cavett Show. It appeared at the time that horrendous traffic congestion and bad weather might make it difficult for her to get back to the city, as filming for the late night show occurred on Monday afternoon. This was Joni Mitchell’s national television debut.

The Dick Cavett Show was a very popular, and culturally important TV show at that time. Cavett’s show ran opposite Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in those days, and he was somewhat more permissive of his guests’ interaction and expression than Carson, and had a following among the young and literati of that day. For his late-night show following the Woodstock gathering, Cavett had lined up a number of guests who were scheduled to appear at the festival and would come to the city for a Monday afternoon taping of the late-night broadcast.

Her manager saw how bad the traffic was he told her to skip the festival. The scenes of the festival and the stories her then boyfriend Graham Nash told her inspired her to write the song “Woodstock”, which she not only recorded but it also became a hit for both Crosby Stills Nash & Young as well as the group Matthews Southern Comfort

As it turned out for the Cavett show, in addition to Joni, some of those who had performed at Woodstock were able to make it back in time for the Monday afternoon taping – including David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Grace Slick, andthe other members of the Jefferson Airplane. On the show, Mitchell sang several songs, including “Chelsea Morning”, “Willy,” and “For Free,” and also an a capella version of “The Fiddle and the Drum.” The Jefferson Airplane performed “We Can Be Together,” Stephen Stills performed his “4 + 20” song, and David Crosby joined Grace Slick in a version of “Somebody to Love.” Cavett’s “Woodstock show,” as it would be called was seen by many young people who had heard about the festival, or read about it in the newspapers, but weren’t able to get there. When Cavett asked David Crosby about what he had seen at Woodstock and if he thought it was a success, Crosby (who had arrived at Woodstock with Nash and Stills by helicopter, getting quite an overview of the scene coming in) replied: “It was incredible. … It looked like an encampment of the Macedonian army on the Greek hills, crossed with the biggest band of Gypsies you ever saw.”

One of the posters for the “Woodstock Music & Art Fair,” this one identifying some of the scheduled acts to appear at the festival during the three-day, August 15-17, 1969 event.

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From the time they came together as a trio at the end of 1968, to the fall of 1973 when they turned in this impromptu set at Winterland, the three voices comprising Crosby, Stills and Nash had all seen their share of changes: they triumphed with their 1969 self-titled debut, Then joined forces with Neil Young for the follow-up Déjà Vu in 1970, which took their show on the road; by the end of that run, they’d weathered the kind of wear and tear on their hearts and souls that could throw any band off course for good. And yet, whether performing songs from those first two albums or the solo albums like David Crosby’s “If Only I Could Remember My Name”, Graham Nash’s “Songs for Beginners”, Crosby and Nash’s heralded duo album, or Stephen Stills‘ solo albums and the works with Manassas.

In the Fall of 1973, Crosby, Stills and Nash were still slightly reeling from a busy period that followed recording in Hawaii with Young and the passing of CSN&Y roadie Bruce Berry (famously eulogized by Young on “Tonight’s the Night”). Stills had been on the road with his band Manassas, and Crosby and Nash were playing their own shows with an electric band. But when Manassas booked a couple of dates at Winterland on October 4th and 7th of 1973, it was reunion time when Crosby and Nash pulled a walk-on and the trio appeared onstage together for the first time since 1970.

Between the banter and tuning up, the three manage to turn in some prime vocal shots, from a version of the Beatles “Blackbird” to a handful of their group’s and solo works. Nash takes the lead on “Southbound Train” and retreats to piano for “Prison Song,” his protest of tough marijuana laws on the poor population. Stills sings Young’s “Human Highway,” which Crosby characterizes as a song by “our skinny friend;” the live version isn’t quite worked out the way we’ve come to know it, but that’s part of the excitement of this off-the-cuff set. “Wooden Ships” is dedicated to Crosby and Stills‘ co-writer, the Jefferson Airplane/Starship’s Paul Kantner, before the evening is crowned with the vocal trio tour de force with a wonderful version of “Helplessly Hoping.”

These Winterland shows foreshadowed a proper reunion on the horizon: a couple of months later, Young would join Nash and Crosby at an appearance at the San Francisco Civic Arena and, the following year, CSN&Y would be on the road again, playing to their largest audiences ever as a throwback to their early days when the vocal giants were just a trio, this Winterland night is a historic footprint on CSN’s trail of rock & roll.

Crosby, Stills & Nash started off their October. 2nd, 1973 concert at San Francisco’s now-defunct Winterland venue as a trio. But, again, mirroring their career trajectory, they were joined by none other than Neil Young halfway through the show, to the crowd’s uproarious delight. The first show of an impromptu two-night stint at Winterland, which hauled double duty as an ice skating rink and music venue in its seven-year lifespan, the October. 2nd show saw the trio reunited on stage for the first time since 1970. It was an unexpected reunion, as Stills’ newly formed band Manassas had booked The Winterland for dates on October. 2md and 7th, but, as the run’s commence, Nash and Crosby piled on stage (only later to be joined by Young).

The three friends spend the show cutting up on stage, exchanging pleasantries with the crowd and serving up their solo hits and band numbers alike, Informal, joking, and pleasingly loose, the three friends seemed to truly enjoy singing together, despite the occasional onstage bristling and ropy moments. Crosby sarcastically refers to “our usual slick Hollywood show,” explaining away the presentation’s unrehearsed nature as “more fun this way for us.” Stills answered his band mate’s quip drolly with, “Anything you say, David, anything you say.”

They opened the show with a pair of songs from Crosby, Stills & Nash’s 1969 debut, “Helplessly Hoping” and “Wooden Ships,” Then they played The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Stills’ “As I Come Of Age” before Young appears as if out of thin air, joining the band for renditions of his own “Roll Another Number (For the Road)” and “New Mama” as well as a few more CSN hits. Young’s cameo would foreshadow a CSN&Y tour the following year, in which the quartet played to some of their biggest crowds ever.

Again, watch the video of Crosby, Stills & Nash performing “Wooden Ships” Crosby, Stills & Nash – Lee Shore Recorded Live: 10/7/1973 – Winterland – San Francisco, CA

Legendary artist Graham Nash is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee – with Crosby, Stills, and Nash and also with the Hollies. He was also inducted twice into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, as a solo artist and with CSN, and he is a GRAMMY Award winner.

Towering above virtually everything that Graham Nash has accomplished in his first seventy-five years on this planet, stands the litany of songs that he has written and introduced to the soundtrack of the past half-century. His remarkable body of work, beginning with his contributions to the Hollies opus from 1964 to ’68, including “Stop Stop Stop,” “Pay You Back With Interest,” “On A Carousel,” “Carrie Anne,” “King Midas In Reverse,” and “Jennifer Eccles,” continues all the way to This Path Tonight (2016), his most recent solo album.

The original classic union of Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young) lasted but twenty months. Yet their songs are lightning rods embedded in our DNA, starting with Nash’s “Marrakesh Express,” “Pre-Road Downs” (written for then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell), and “Lady Of the Island,” from the first Crosby, Stills & Nash LP (1969). On CSNY’s Déjà Vu (1970), Nash’s “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” beseeched us to hold love tightly, to fend off the madness that was on its way.

Overlapping CSNY, Nash’s solo career debuted with Songs For Beginners (1971), whose “Chicago/We Can Change the World” and “Military Madness” were fueled by the Long Hot Summer, the trial of the Chicago Eight, and the ongoing Vietnam war. Songs from that LP stayed in Nash’s concert sets for years including “I Used To Be A King” and “Simple Man”. His next album, Wild Tales (1974), addressed (among other issues) unfair jail terms for minor drug offenses (“Prison Song”), unfair treatment of Vietnam vets (“Oh! Camil”), the unfairness of fame (“You’ll Never Be the Same”), and his muse, Joni (“Another Sleep Song”).

The most resilient, long-lived and productive partnership to emerge from the CSNY camp launched with the eponymously titled Graham Nash/David Crosby (1972), bookended by Nash’s “Southbound Train” as the opening track and “Immigration Man” as the closer. The duo contributed further to the soundtrack of the ’70s on their back-to-back albums, Wind On the Water (1975) and Whistling Down the Wire (1976).

On the CSN reunion studio LP (1977), Nash took top honors with “Just A Song Before I Go” (written in the space of one hour, and a Top 10 hit single). Lightning struck once more on CSN’s Daylight Again (1982), on which Nash penned their second (and final) Top 10 hit, “Wasted On the Way,” lamenting the energy, time and love lost by the group due to years of internecine quarrels.

Nash’s passionate voice continues to be heard in support of peace, and social and environmental justice. The No Nukes/Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concerts he organized with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt in 1979 remain seminal benefit events. In 2011, Nash was instrumental in bringing MUSE back to the forefront with a concert to benefit Japan disaster relief and groups promoting non-nuclear energy worldwide. That same year, he and Crosby were among the many musicians who made their way to the Occupy Wall Street actions in lower Manhattan.

In September 2013, Nash released his long-awaited autobiography Wild Tales, which delivers an engrossing, no-holds-barred look back at his remarkable career and the music that defined a generation. The book landed him on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and was released in paperback in late 2014.

In recognition for his contributions as a musician and philanthropist, Nash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth. While continually building his musical legacy, Nash is also an internationally renowned photographer and visual artist. With his photography, Nash has drawn honors including the New York Institute of Technology’s Arts & Technology Medal and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and the Hollywood Film Festival’s inaugural Hollywood Visionary Cyber Award. His work is collected in the book Eye to Eye: Photographs by Graham Nash; he curated others’ work in the volume Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographs Selected by Graham Nash (2009).

Nash’s work has been shown in galleries and museums worldwide. His company Nash Editions’ original IRIS 3047 digital printer and one of its first published works—Nash’s 1969 portrait of David Crosby— is now housed in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in recognition of his revolutionary accomplishments in the fine arts and digital printing world.

Déjà Vu might be the preferred choice of critics, no doubt due to the presence of Neil Young, but CSN, the trio’s glorious debut is arguably a much superior representation of their sound, and certainly a much purer one. And while some have described CSN as the ‘60s first true ‘supergroup,’ the same title could also be applied to Cream, who’d already formed and broken up long before Crosby, Stills and Nash had even made their first recording.

David Crosby, having been kicked out of The Byrds during recording sessions for 1968’s The Notorious Byrd Brothers, loitered around Laurel Canyon, pondering over his next move. It wasn’t until he hooked up with GrahamNash (ex-Hollies) and Stephen Stills that the idea of forming a new band became a real possibility.

Nash remembers: “We were in Joni’s living room – or was it Cass’s kitchen? – and David and Stephen began singing “You Don’t Have To Cry.” I asked them to sing it again then I added my harmony to it. The heavens opened: it was an unbelievable sound and we knew we had to make music together.”

In England they approached Apple, the independent label founded by The Beatles, but were rejected after hearing what they were given. CSN returned to America where, thanks to the enthusiasm of David Geffen and AhmetErtegun, CSN were subsequently offered a contract with Atlantic Records, the same label that would soon sign Led ZeppelinStills dominated the recording of the album. Apart from drums, handled by Dallas Taylor, he played nearly all of the instruments on the album. Nash played acoustic guitar on two tracks and Crosby rhythm guitar on a few. Stills played all the bass, organ, and lead guitar parts, as well as acoustic guitar on his own songs.

Recorded at Wally Heider’s Studio III in Los Angeles in early 1969, and released in May that same year, Crosby, Stills & Nash would go on to eclipse anything by The Byrds, The Hollies, or even BuffaloSpringfield. Also, by employing their surnames in the band’s title, instead of adopting an actual name, such as The Zombies, Jefferson Airplane etc, meant that CSN were already destined to stand out.

Right from opening Acoustic Guitars of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” (written about Judy Collins) and when those magical three voices blend – you realise you’re in the presence of something very special. Although the song is 7:24 minutes long , Its a marathon-like ode to his failed relationship with singer Judy Collins. Progressive-folk, raga, country-blues, even Spanish lyrics, “Suite” is an opus that takes the listener on a personal and deeply moving journey, and remains the one song that CSN should be best remembered for. Nash’s catchy “Marrakesh Express” might seem a bit twee now, at least to modern ears, yet back in the day, even a title such as that meant it was fully loaded with all manner of connotations. It’s followed by the stunning ethereal beauty of “Guinnevere” sashaying into your living room with a softly plucked Acoustics. Then you get hit with the full harmonious power and beauty of those three voices as a wall of one. When the trio first got together in Joni Mitchell’s house – they noticed the ‘timber’ of the combo.

Stills’ “You Don’t Have To Cry” is the song which started it all, and is a delightful country-blues number complemented by some exquisite three-part harmonies, followed by the trippy “Pre-Road Downs,” written by Nash, and which closed side one of the original record.

Flip the disc, and we begin with the iconic “Wooden Ships,” which would turn up on the Jefferson Airplane album “Volunteers” in November of 1969 (it was a co-write with Paul Kantner) and I’ve always loved both versions – a strange hybrid of Soulful Rock that seemed to belong to California in 1969. CSN’s original take is shorter and amps up the Guitar and Organ . The bass and rhythm section is so warm and sweet but it’s the Stills vocal followed by Crosby and back again that impresses . The lyrics describe a handful of survivors living in a post-apocalyptic world. The song was included in the Woodstock movie, thus helping to propel the group’s popularity ever further. The gentle “Lady Of The Island,” written by Nash, is a delicate love-song devoted to JoniMitchell, while “Helplessly Hoping” picks up where “You Don’t Have To Cry” left off, full of delicious harmonies and subtle acoustic guitar.

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Crosby’s “Long Time Gone” had been floating around David’s head for a while, before nailing the master (a very early demo was included on the Voyage box set). Stills explained the process: “So with a song like “Long TimeGone,” I’d say, ‘Cros, go home.’ David would come back in the morning, and I’d say, ‘So, how do you like your song?’”

Clearly, Stills’ experience working in various studios over the years, meant that he knew exactly what to do when it came to overdubbing his instruments, as evidenced on “49 Bye-Byes,” a tune practically built from the ground up thanks to Stills’ knowledge of recording technology.

On the cover the members are, left to right, Nash, Stills, and Crosby, for no particular reason, the reverse of the order of the album title. The photo was taken by their friend and photographer Henry Diltz before they came up with a name for the group. They found an abandoned house with an old, battered sofa outside, located at 815 Palm Avenue, West Hollywood, across from the Santa Palm car wash that they thought would be a perfect fit for their image. A few days later they decided on the name “Crosby, Stills, and Nash”. To prevent confusion, they went back to the house a day or so later to re-shoot the cover in the correct order, but when they got there they found the house had been reduced to a pile of timber

Dallas Taylor can be seen looking through the window of the door on the rear of the sleeve. In the expanded edition, however, he is absent. The original vinyl LP was released in a gatefold sleeve that depicted the band members in large fur parkas with a sunset in the background on the gatefold (shot in Big Bear, California), as well as the iconic cover art. A long folded page inside displayed the album credits, lyrics, track listing,

The truly dedicated listener will likely want the 2006 HDCD expanded edition, which includes early takes of “TeachYour Children,” “Song With No Words,” “Do For The Others,” a tender folk ballad by Stills, and a cover of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’.” the group continued recording that year and the HDCD disc has four bonus tracks come from those sessions. “Do For The Others” would eventually show on “Stephen Stills” – his debut solo album from late 1970. The second it opens – you can hear why its been included on this Expanded CD Edition – not only is this song gorgeous to listen too – it’s beautifully recorded – essentially a Demo with Stills on Lead Guitar while the other two harmonise. It’s a genuine wow. Second up is another harmony winner in “Song With No Words” where they “dah dah” the melody that would eventually appear on David Crosby’s magnificent “If I Could Only Remember My Name” debut solo album in 1971. Truly beautiful is the only way to describe the Trio doing Fred Neil’s classic “Everybody’s Talkin'” made famous by Nilsson’s cover as used in the movie “Midnight Cowboy”. Crosby describes it in the liner notes as “Stills at his best…” There’s a demo of the “DéjàVu” classic “Teach Your Children” which is nice but nothing as good as the magical trio that preceded it. Fans will know that there are five other ‘outtakes’ from the period on the “Carry On” 4CD Box Set (1991) – one day we might get a Deluxe Edition 2CD set covering the event in its entirety.

While Crosby, Stills & Nash can never betray its hippie, idealistic origins, the record itself provides a timeless window into the lives of three young men whose unique, creative chemistry would inadvertently give rise to a whole new musical genre, one that included Poco, America, and most famously, The Eagles.

Years afterwards, Crosby would go on to sum up that special chemistry: “For whatever reasons, I think you get very few records like that in your life, which you can put on twenty years later and they still hold up. To this day, that first record comes on, and you don’t want to take it off or skip a tune. You just want to let it run.”

  • David Crosby – vocals; guitars on “Guinevere”; rhythm guitar on “Wooden Ships” and “Long Time Gone”
  • Stephen Stills – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion all tracks except “Guinevere” and “Lady of the Island”
  • Graham Nash – vocals; rhythm guitar on “Marrakesh Express” and “Pre-Road Downs”; acoustic guitar on “Lady of the Island”
  • Dallas Taylor – drums on “Pre-Road Downs,” “Wooden Ships,” “Long Time Gone,” and “49 Bye-Byes”
  • Jim Gordon – drums on “Marrakesh Express”
  • Cass Elliot – backing vocals on “Pre-Road Downs”

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From the preliminary planning stages of Crosby, Stills & Nash, the musicians had always planned to pursue solo projects in conjunction with working together. Following the monumental success of the debut album in 1969 and its follow-up, “Déjà Vu”, in 1970, brought Neil Young into the fold, each of the band members remained quite active on their own. By 1973, a wealth of solo material had been released and each of these musicians had established themselves as individual songwriters and musicians. Crosby, with help from many of the San Francisco elite, had released his first solo album,  “If Only I Could Remember My Name”. likewise for Graham Nash, who released his first solo album “Songs For Beginners”, and was working on a second album. Crosby and Nash also released an impressive duo album during this time. Stephen Stills and Neil Young were even more prolific, with Stills releasing two impressive solo albums as well as a double album with his own band, Manassas, and Neil Young pumping out songs at an amazing rate, including the most popular album of his career, “Harvest”. By 1973, the clamoring for these four musicians to again work together was at an all-time high, but their well-publicized personality clashes made it seem unlikely that this would happen anytime soon.
That same year, Stills took to the road with an outstanding band, Manassas, which also featured ex-Byrd Chris Hillman and several members of The Flying Burrito Brothers. booked to play two gigs at San Francisco’s Winterland on October 4th and 7th. Surprises were in store both nights, but the October 4th gig turned out to be the most delightful. Following a lengthy set by Stills and Manassas, which featured two highly-charged electric sets and a semi-acoustic set in the middle featuring Flying Burrito Brothers classics, the audience was charged up and cheering for more.
When Stephen Stills returned to the stage with David Crosby and Graham Nash in tow, the audience was ecstatic! The trio hadn’t shared a stage since 1970. Strapping on acoustic guitars, they first delight the audience with two staples from their debut album: “Helplessly Hoping” and “Wooden Ships.” The harmonies are ragged and the delivery unrehearsed, but regardless, just having these musicians playing together again, and more importantly, obviously enjoying it, was a cause for celebration. This remarkable acoustic set continues with the trio performing a lovely take of Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird,” after which Stills switches to piano for “As I Come Of Age,” a number he often performed with CSN&Y on the 1970 tour and recorded for his first solo album.
The personality clashes between Stills and Young were the most publicized of all and had been going on since the Buffalo Springfield days, so when Neil Young walks out to join the other three, the crowd goes nuts. The musical chemistry between Stills and Young had always been undeniable, but many believed they’d never see the two on the same stage again, so this was indeed a monumental moment. Young was just about to release his controversial “Time Fades Away” album, but in typically unexpected style proceeds to play nothing from this album, instead performing three new songs, “Roll Another Number,” “Human Highway,” and “New Mama.” The middle song was rumored to be the title song of a potential third CSN&Y project, while the other two would be destined for “Tonight’s The Night”, an album that wouldn’t see the light of day until June of 1975.
Graham Nash next gets the spotlight, and he too debuts new songs, “And So It Goes” and “Prison Song,” both destined for his second solo album, Wild Tales. Crosby follows with a rare acoustic performance of “Long Time Gone” before they close the set with Stills’ “Change Partners,” the single from his second solo album.
These performances are unique and the chemistry between these musicians was obviously still intact. Following these shows, all four members expressed a strong desire to tour together acoustically. It wouldn’t come to pass, but this was likely the spark that ignited the idea of touring together the following year, which is when they would indeed get back together and perform before the largest audiences of their career.

Just two months after their historic appearance at the Woodstock Festival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were scheduled to play their first-ever gigs at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West and Winterland. CSNY was forced to postpone the show, and Janis Joplin and Santana stepped in to replace them, along with the original billing of Blues Image and John Sebastian. The poster, however, had already gone to print.

The posters artists and designer Greg Irons moved to San Francisco in 1967 and roamed around Haight-Ashbury with his sketchbook, creating images he would later use in his posters. As usual, promoter Bill Graham needed a poster in a hurry, and Irons succeeded in producing one overnight. As his talent as a draftsman developed, a distinctive line quality and refined sense of balance set Irons‘ posters apart. His cartoonist inclinations are often evident, and he became one of the seminal figures in underground comics. Greg Irons also found work producing album graphics and book illustration, but it was the art of tattooing that became his passion.

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The fifth album from the grandfathers of American jangle guitar doesn’t have the notoriety or hits of Mr. Tambourine Man or Turn! Turn! Turn! Still, it may be the light heavyweight champion of their catalog, pound for pound the strongest punch of the bunch. That’s an especially impressive claim if you know the band’s chaos of the day. Notorious, indeed: Founding guitarist David Crosby was fired over their recording of Carole King’s “Goin’ Back” (ironically, this album’s only single), and Michael Clarke and Gene Clark eventually ping-ponged their way out the door too. Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman managed to expertly fill in the gaps with session musicians and production wizardry, outfitting their folk rock with trappings of the baroque and psychedelia—found and generated noises, poppy saxophone, the occasional sludgy riff, even early adoption of the Moog synthesizer.

The Notorious Byrd Brothers saw the band and producer Gary Usher making extensive use of a number of studio effects and production techniques, including Phasing, flanging and the introduction the sound of the pedal steel guitar into their music for the first time on the album, making it  alsoone of the first album releases on which the Moog appears.

The Notorious Byrd Brothers rings out like a glorious chiming bell and remains one of the band’s most loved albums. Its consistency is amazing, with one song after another bending one’s mind and inducing a smile. “Artificial Energy” kicks things off in fine style. Co-written by McGuinn, Hillman and Clarke, it’s a perfect album opener. The last song recorded for the album, it bursts forth with punchy horns and driving drums. Yes, it’s about speed, and it’s safe to say the lyrics probably wouldn’t fly today: “I’m coming down off amphetamine, and I’m in jail cause I killed a queen.”

The band’s take on Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Goin’ Back” is perhaps the definitive version of the song. Elsewhere, “Natural Harmony” and “Draft Morning” bask in pure beauty. (Chris Hillman’s role as composer really began to expand on Notorious, as he co-wrote eight of this LP’s 11 tracks.) Another Goffin/King song, “Wasn’t Born To Follow” offered here in all of its countrified glory – would later feature in the movie Easy Rider.

“Get to You” and “Old John Robertson” are both country-tinged numbers that glow of the era they sprang from, while “Change Is Now” is one of the band’s most beautiful songs without question, and its jingle-jangle guitars resonate for the ages.

“Tribal Gathering” has David Crosby written all over it. He and Hillman worked up this two-minute gem in homage to the “Gathering of the Tribes” festival held earlier that year in San Francisco. “Dolphin’s Smile” conjures up its own psychedelic aquatic adventure over just two minutes, before the album ends on an eerie note with “Space Odyssey.” A otherworldly drone set to a sea shanty waltz, the track is driven by a swirling wash of keyboards and guitars.

David Crosby was fired by McGuinn and Hillman in October 1967, as a result of friction arising from, among other things, Crosby’s displeasure at the band’s wish to record the song “Goin’ Back”. David Crosby felt that recording the song was a step backwards artistically, especially when the band contained three active songwriters. Another factor that contributed to Crosby’s dismissal was his controversial song “Triad”, a risqué composition about a menage a trois , The song was in direct competition with “Goin’ Back” for a place on the album.  Crosby eventually gave the tune to the Jefferson Airplane , who included a version of the song on “Crown Of Creation” Although the Byrds did record “Triad”, the song’s daring subject matter compelled McGuinn and Hillman to prevent it from being released at the time.

The results feel particularly transfused into the body of R.E.M.’s Document, and suggest multiple points in the soundtracks of Wes Anderson’s filmography.

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The Byrds released their third LP “Fifth Dimension” the highly influential, albeit transitional, album released on July 18th, 1966. Most of the album was recorded following the February 1966 departure of the band’s principal songwriter Gene Clark so the majority of the songwriting went to guitarists Jim McGuinn and David Crosby. Even with the two writing, they recorded four cover versions and an instrumental. It was however the first by The Byrds not to include any songs written by Bob Dylan, whose material had previously been a mainstay of the band’s repertoire.

Fifth Dimension was widely regarded as the band’s most experimental album to date and is today considered influential in originating the musical genre of psychedelic rock with tracks like Eight Miles High and Mr Spaceman. It was also the first time the bands logo appeared with the psychedelic artwork.

Arguably the most famous song on the album was “Eight Miles High”, an early excursion into psychedelic rock. Musically, the song was a fusion of John Coltrane influenced guitar playing courtesy of lead guitarist then Jim McGuinn and the raga based musical structure and vocals, inspired by the the Indian music of Ravi Shanker. Written mostly by Gene Clark in November 1965, while The Byrds were on tour in the U.S., the song was pivotal in transmuting folk rock into the new musical forms of psychedelia and raga rock. Regardless of its innovative qualities, however, many radio stations in the U.S. banned the record citing the title to be a reference to recreational drug use ,The song’s lyrics actually pertained to the approximate cruising altitude of commercial airliners and the group’s first visit to London during their 1965 English tour

Happy 51st Birthday to The Byrds LP “Fifth Dimension”!!

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Crosby Stills Nash & Young star in a VH1 documentary from 2000, The original purpose of the channel was to build upon the success of MTV by playing music video’s but targeting a slightly older demographic than its sister channel, focusing on the lighter, softer side of popular music. More recently, much like MTV, VH1 has been in the area of music-related programming, such as the series “Behind The Music” series as part of the channel’s current focus on popular culture.

Jefferson Airplane recorded their own version of the song for their controversial fifth album, “Volunteers”.

When Crosby, Stills & Nash released their eponymous debut album in 1969, there was only one co-write on it (which would be the norm for future albums by the group). That Woodstock-era song, which became a classic both on its own and as part of an album that helped shape the musical tastes of a generation, was “Wooden Ships.”

Written by Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Crosby’s onetime roommate, Jefferson Airplane/Starship’s Paul Kantner, “Wooden Ships” is generally interpreted as a veiled look at the aftermath of nuclear holocaust. The song was written during a period when the threat of a final nuclear war was uppermost in so many minds, during the ‘60s crisis in Indochina and heightened tensions between the United States and the USSR. Artists like Barry McGuire, with his throaty “Eve of Destruction,” and songwriting satirist Tom Lehrer, with his pretty-damned-funny “We Will All Go Together When We Go,” addressed the same theme. But CSN, with their wonderful harmonies and Stills’ great performance on several instruments, made a thing of beauty from a decidedly less-than-cheery premise.   

Crosby told the website MusicRadar in 2012 that the song is, indeed, about a dismal subject that numerous books and movies had addressed before, and have made millions of dollars from since, from The Time Machine to The Terminator. “I had that set of (chord) changes,” Crosby said. “Stephen added to them … and we all wrote the song. It’s a post-apocalyptic story. The world has gone to hell … The idea was that we were sort of sailing away from that madness. It’s the song that Jackson [Browne] wrote For Everyman in response to. It’s him saying, ‘Hey, we don’t all have a sailboat to sail away in. We have to stay here and fix it for everybody. That’s a fantasy that you’re writing.’” Kantner and his Jefferson Airplane bandmates recorded their own version of the song shortly after CSN’s for their controversial fifth album, Volunteers. JA’s version was awesome in its own right and is actually preferred by many, though it had a darker tone and less musicality than CSN’s.

It’s hard to think of a lyric much more depressing than Horror grips us as we watch you die/ All we can do is echo your anguished cries/ Stare as all human feelings die/ We are leaving, you don’t need us. Well, nearly half a century later, the world is still here, but we still worry about and pontificate about an apocalyptic event as much now as we did then. And we probably will until, well, until it happens. In the meantime, we can keep hoping and praying for a wooden ship for the survivors to sail away in.

Exhibits_Vietnam_Music_WoodenShips

thanks to Rick Moore

Triad” is a song written by David Crosby in 1967 about a ménage à trois, a subject perfectly in keeping with the “free love” and hippie philosophies of the day. The song was written while Crosby was a member of the rock band The Byrds, who were at that time recording their fifth studio album, “The Notorious Byrd Brothers“. 

On this studio demo above of the song recorded by just Crosby and his Martin guitar its a softer acoustic demo of this song…recorded at a studio in Hollywood, he came in barefoot with a guitar straped across his back…and I set up 2 mics..one for him and one for his Martin, and he just did it . 

Although the band did record “Triad” and perform it live during a September 1967 engagement at the Whisky a Go Go, it was eventually not included on the final release of “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” album.  According to Crosby, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman felt that its subject-matter was too controversial with McGuinn allegedly deriding the song as a “freak-out orgy tune. However, this has since been denied by Hillman who has stated “I don’t think it was a moral decision. The song just didn’t work that well. David Crosby was drifting and bored and he wanted to do something else, and that song just added fuel to the fire. “Notorius Byrd Bros” would have broke big if they had kept this song and ditched that awful opening track “Artificial Energy” …..Triad was perfect for its time and would have put the Byrds right back at cutting edge status. I think the exclusion of this song from Notorious was the nail in the coffin for his days as a Byrd. And his behavior at Monterey didn’t help or his guesting with the Springield there didn’t help. Or his being adamant against ‘Goin’ Back’ being on Notorious. Regardless, David had emerged as a writer of great skill and his songs needed to be heard. They were and still are!  – Although the decision to keep this song off the Notorious LP may have played a minor role, it was the power struggle between McGuinn and Crosby that led to David’s dispatch from the group.

There had been growing animosity between Crosby and the rest of the band throughout 1967. Tensions had arisen from several factors, including Crosby’s displeasure over the band’s wish to record the GoffinKing composition Goin’ Back, his fraternization with fellow L.A. musicians, and his controversial remarks to the audience during The Byrds’ performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. These factors, along with the discord over “Triad”, contributed to McGuinn and Hillman’s decision to fire Crosby in October 1967. Crosby then gave the song to Jefferson Airplane, who recorded it on their 1968 album,Crown of Creation.  Airplane did it after the Byrds told Crosby they were not going to include it on their next album.  He got pissed off and gave it to airplane. 

A Live version of the song “Triad” was later included on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s 1971 album, 4 Way Street
David Crosby certainly shone more brightly as a solo artist with CSN; but the Byrds moved on to pioneer the genre of Country-Rock which, despite the insulting lack of recognition from the industry today, ultimately shaped the future of the Country music genre.
Also here is a version of “Triad” by the Icicle Works it is great!  the band recorded “Triad” as a medley with another Byrds’ song, Chestnut Mare, on the 1989 Byrds’ tribute album Time Between – A Tribute to The Byrds.
‘Why should we all stop at three’ . Now that’s a good last line for the song!
Fantastic song.