Posts Tagged ‘Manassas’

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Let’s takes a look at the best songs of Stephen Stills including a few chestnuts from all aspects of his career. Look at Stephen Stills’ solos albums his work with Manassas, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and his earlier band Buffalo Springfield. This is by no means a definite list of Stephen Stills songs but rather just a sort of soundbite at some of the most essential songs Stephen Stills has released throughout his 50 plus year career. Neil Young gets far more attention for his contributions to Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but two-time former bandmate Stephen Stills has created his own niche as a stirring singer, songwriter and instrumentalist. Unfortunately, a sporadic, up-and-down solo career hasn’t always helped his profile.

Our classic Stills songs list is a tough thing to do because Stephen Stills had so much success in the late 1960s and early 1970s with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and his solo career. I suppose you could have filled a top 50 listing of Stephen Stills songs list from just that early five years period. However Stephen Stills has continued to write and record songs up to 2017 as of this writing. So we have spread this list out over the years the best we could while still limiting it to ten. Every song in this list was written by Stephen Stills.

For What It’s Worth

We open our Essential Stephen Stills songs list with a legendary song written by Stephen Stills when he was a member of Buffalo Springfield. The great Stephen Stills song “For What It’s Worth,” was released on Buffalo Springfield’s second pressing of their debut album entitled Buffalo Springfield. The album was released in 1966. The song “For What It’s Worth,” was originally released as a single and then added to the album on the second pressing.

“For What it’s Worth,” was a huge hit for Buffalo Springfield in 1966 as the song became a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Interestingly, every song on Buffalo Springfield’s debut album was either written by Stephen Stills or Neil Young.

Four Days Gone

Buffalo Springfield released three studio albums before the band broke up. In 1968, Stephen Stills left the group to form Crosby Stills and Nash, Richie Furay formed POCO with Jim Messina who would later join with Kenny Loggins as part of Loggins and Messina. Neil Young became essentially solo Neil Young. We would have loved to have chosen more Stephen Stills songs from Buffalo Springfield for our Stephen Stills songs list, but we had so much more to cover which limited our choices. Our second choice was released on Buffalo Springfield’s final album entitled Last Time Around. The great song “Four Days Gone,” also featured great lead guitar work by Neil Young.

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

If you had to pick one Crosby Stills & Nash sons that you could ever listen to again, tell me it would not be “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” This incredible piece of music was written by Stephen Stills and released on the band’s debut album simply titled Crosby Stills & Nash. The album was released in 1969. the song “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” was released as the second single from the album after the release of “Marrakesh Express,” as the band’s debut single. Another deft amalgamation – as the title implies, this is a suite of four short songs written by Stills and seamlessly interwoven. Lyrically it refers to his relationship with folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins. Opening with glistening acoustic guitars, it builds to a searing, Latin-flavoured climax, ending on a repeated ‘doo-doo-doo-da-doo’ refrain of life-affirming joy.

Stephen Stills “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” was exceptionally long for a single,clocking in at over seven minutes. Nonetheless, the song was a top 40 hit peaking at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became a staple on fm radio becoming one of the most played classic rock songs of all time.

Helplessly Hoping

Stephen Stills’ song “Helplessly Hoping,” was also released on the Crosby Stills & Nash debut album. The song was placed as the b side to the album’s debut single “Marrakesh Express,” which was written by Graham Nash. From an arranging point Stephen Stills dominated that album as he was responsible for almost all the guitar, bass and keyboard parts on the record. Dallas Taylor played drums and Crosby & Nash added some guitar parts here and there, but in the end, most of the instrumentation on the album was performed by Stephen Stills.

Carry On

Neil Young joined Crosby Stills & Nash in 1970 to form the quartet Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The four brilliant musicians would record their first album together entitled Déjà Vu.It must have been really tough choosing whose songs got recorded and released between these four brilliant musicians and songwriters. Stephen Stills got three of his songs recorded for the album including one he co-wrote with Neil Young. Here Stephen Stills brings elements of three different songs into one concise package. He draws on Questions from his old band Buffalo Springfield, plus there’s a jam session with drummer Dallas Taylor tagged on as a delightful free-form coda. And, of course, the yearning harmonies are to die for. The album’s opening track was written by Stephen Stills entitled “Carry On.” The song was released as the fourth single from the record.

Love The One You’re With

While Crosby Stills Nash & Young were enjoying tremendous success with their work together on record, the four talented musicians were also celebrating the releases of their solo albums. In 1970, Stephen Stills released his first solo album entitled Stephen Stills. The album’s leadoff track and first single “Love The One You’re With,” became Stephen Stills most successful solo single. The song reached all the way to number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. One could not turn on the radio in the early 1970’s without hearing Stephen Stills “Love The One You’re With.”

Stephen Stills’ biggest hit and focus instead on how this one song collects everything that can sum up his career. From its island-inflected percussive elements and utterly irresistible chorus to a vocal so full of unfettered longing and those chunky organ fills (played by Stills), “Love the One You’re With” is the sound of a performer at his tour-de-force peak.

Stephen Stills’ first solo album featured an incredible cast of musicians. Two of the greatest guitar God’s of all time performed on the album. Both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton played on some of the albums songs. Ringo Starr, Booker T. Jones, Rita Coolidge, David Crosby and Graham Nash also performed on the record.

It Doesn’t Matter

The great Stephen Stills song “It Doesn’t Matter,” was released on the album Manassas which was also the name of the new band Stephen Stills band in 1972. The group recorded two albums from 1972 to 1973. While hardcore Stephen Stills and Crosby Stills Nash & Young fans are familiar with Manassas,the groups has not gotten the recognition it deserved on a more mass scale in classic rock history. The group consisted of Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman, Al Perkins, Paul Harris, Dallas Taylor, Calvin Samuels and Joe Lala. The lilting opening track to the Stills-led side project Manassas, “It Doesn’t Matter” was co-written by the Byrds‘ Chris Hillman. But it serves as a sturdy showcase for Stills‘ hoarsely emotive vocal and ringing guitar.

“It Doesn’t Matter,” was released as the album’s single. It registered on the Billboard top 100 but peaked at number 61. The song was written by Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman and Rick Roberts. “It Doesn’t Matter,” opened side three of the two record set.

Dark Star

In 1977, Crosby, Stills & Nash released their second album as a trio. It had been eight years since the band released their debut album in 1969. Of course there was Déjà Vu.with Neil Young in 1970, but the release of CSN in 1977 was surprisingly only the second album the trio had released together. Stephen Stills song “Dark Star,” opened side two of the record. It was never released as a single, but it was a firm fan favourite instantly.

Isn’t It So

Stephen Stills song “Isn’t It So,” is the first Stephen Stills song on this list that was not released in the 1960’s or 1970’s. That’s not to say that Stephen Stills did not continue to release great music from the 1980’s on. It just defines the incredible body of work that Stephen Stills was responsible for in the 1960’s and 1970s.

“Isn’t It So,” was released on the Stills “Alone” album. The record was released in 1991. While bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were releasing dark music that captivated the rock and roll scene, Stephen Stills was going it alone. Just Stephen Stills on a guitar with a handful of great songs sung in that legendary voice. Keeping it real, keeping it simple and keeping it great.

Judy

We close out our classic songs of Stephen Stills songs list with a great song from his album Everybody Knows. The album was released and billed as Stills & Collins. It was the first time that Stephen Stills and Judy Collins ever released an album together. The album was released in 2017. The song “Judy,” represented the second time Stephen Stills composed a song about Judy Collins, the first being Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

Treetop Flyer

The darkly intricate “Treetop Flyer” is a rumination by a free spirit, presented in a suitably raw setting featuring only Stills and his imaginative guitar. The album-closing song from 1991’s Stills Alone includes a narrative twist: He’s not flying so close to the ground because he’s some kind of daredevil; he learned that trying to avoid anti-aircraft fire in Vietnam. And it arrives like a punch in the chesthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opBe5z0qwRE

Also check out Bluebird or Southern Cross, Black Coral , Rock N Roll Woman, Colorado, Black Queen, As I Come Of Age also from the first Manassas album. So begins the Task.

Thanks to classicrockhistory

Down the Road

Though Stephen Stills’ talents as a singer, guitarist and songwriter are plain to hear on his solo records, he thrives in a collaborative environment, so it’s little surprise that after CSNY dissolved, he formed another band – Manassas. The second and final album under that name, 1973’s “Down The Road” was cut at Miami’s Criteria Sound Studios and Caribou Ranch in Colorado, and features tasty Stills-penned roots rockers like “Isn’t It About Time” and the title track, along with “Lies” by Chris Hillman (who’d landed in Manassas between stints with The Byrds).

“Manassas was such a terrific band. It really had some structure and reminded me of the Buffalo Springfield at its best,” Stills once recalled, so we’ll give the group’s “Down The Road” another spin to wish the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer a happy 75th birthday.

This was always going to be a 3 or 4 star album because the first Manassas album was almost impossible to match, let alone better. The scope of that work was immense and I really believe it represented the best music Stills has ever produced – even better than the first CSN album. Standouts are “Pensiamento”, quite simply the best Latin rock song in his considerable cannon, the country-rock “Do You Remember The Americans?” and a couple of nice collaborations with Chris Hillman on “Isn’t It About Time” and “So Many Times”. With a band including Paul Harris, Al Perkins and Hillman, the musicianship is always going to be first rate but a couple of songs do let it down a tad, noteably “Business On The Street” and “Rolling My Stone” which sound a little laboured.

A band like Manassas, who were comfortable with rock, blues, country and Latin and stretch out and this album is too short to do them or their songs justice. Manassas were only a 2 album band, there’s little if any chance Stills would get them back together but they were still a million miles ahead of the competition, even in second gear.

By 1972, what we call classic rock was pretty much at its peak though nobody at the time knew it. Except maybe Stephen Stills. The band and the double-album he piloted and released that year both named Manassas now seem pivotal. Manassas brilliantly summed up the remarkable 1960s creative surge that revitalized rock’s roots and encouraged experimentation just when it was at its crest. Predominantly a vehicle for Stills‘ artistic vision, the band released two albums during its active tenure, 1972’s Manassas and 1973’s Down the Road. The band dissolved in October 1973.

The top-flight outfit Stills assembled in late 1971 and named for a bloody two-part Civil War battle (the album’s cover shot was taken on that battlefield) could nimbly navigate damn near every polyglot style rock was evolving– from blues “Jet Set” to bluegrass “Fallen Eagle”, country rock “Don’t Look At My Shadow” to Caribbean beats “Medley”, folk-rock “Johnny’s Garden” to metal “Right Now”. Jamming out complex, textured arrangements in the studio, they successfully translated them to stages in Europe and the US. But Stills always felt that Manassas struggled for recognition because his handlers wanted him back in the gold rush that Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) had generated.

Whatever the reason, Manassas remains one of rock’s half-forgotten treasures. But it’s arguably the best album and band Stephen Stills ever helmed.

Stills was Born in Texas, raised in Florida, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal Zone as his military family rotated through duty stations. He absorbed all sorts of music along the way, and learned to play them on guitar, keyboards, bass, banjo, and assorted percussion instruments. The rootless kid found his mooring in sound. He beat up his family’s furniture until his dad finally got him drums to go with his drumsticks. After a week of college, he quit to be a musician.

His scuffling path through the folk revival introduced him to dozens of players, like Richie Furay and Neil Young, who would become his creative network. It also put him into play at the onset of rock’s 1960s creative surge. He was in Los Angeles trying to peddle his songs when he turned down a slot with the corporately manufactured Monkees (he recommended Peter Tork instead), and jumped headlong into the exploratory waves with his tempestuous band Buffalo Springfield. The Springfield surfed onto the national Top 40 charts with Stills’s brooding track For What It’s Worth. In the studio, on tracks as radically distinct as Kind Woman, Rock and Roll Woman, and Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing, they probed the new ideas firing young musical imaginations from London to California. Live, the band crackled with guitar-hero firepower, when Stills and Young opened up in redoubtable jams.

His songs were innovative, superbly crafted, stylistically diverse; Bluebird is a stellar example of his fondness for complex structures. His lyrics could be elliptical or nakedly autobiographical; often infused with dark romance (Hung Upside Down, Questions) his confessional story-telling updated his beloved blues. Onstage, he hurled himself at the microphone, when he wasn’t prancing or dancing; he was so intense, his full-throated vocals seemed to come somehow from his entire body. Bandmate Richie Furay called him “the heart and soul of Buffalo Springfield.” Others, in a nod to his multi-instrumental chops, called him “Captain Many Hands.”

The unstable chemistry and battling egos that fired the Springfield’s creative ambitions inevitably blew it apart. But the band had barely disintegrated before Stills was off solidifying his guitar-hero credentials on Super Session, with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield. On Season of the Witch, Stills dialed up a distinctive voice on the wah-wah pedal Jimi Hendrix had turned him onto, floating sweet nothings and yearnings tinged with acerbity.

Thanks to his network, a series of accidents drew Crosby Stills and Nash together. Their 1969 debut met with critical hosannas and gold-record status, and marked the dawn of that record-industry supergroup, with high-powered handlers and big-ticket arena tours.

Graham Nash said, “Stephen had a vision, and David and I let him run with it.” Or maybe he just steamrolled over them. A year after Déjà Vu, what was now CSN&Y exploded, and its members released solo albums. Stephen Stills went gold, scored a hit (Love the One You’re With), and was the only album ever to feature both Eric Clapton (on Go Back Home) and Jimi Hendrix (on Old Times Good Times). But it and its followup drew ho-hum reviews; so did his tours. Critics and fans wondered if Stills was yet another self-indulgent rock star running out of gas.

Stills describes himself as “aggressive,” “obnoxious,” and the like, all meaning he’s a control freak—an auteur, if you like. In those days, he was usually packing an enviable pocketful of new tunes. He could out-sing almost anyone and play one-man band if he wanted. You can see how he’d be a hard guy to face off with about creative issues.

Yet he knew he needed feedback. He wanted to improvise with players whose ideas and chops stood up to his own. Then he could let jamming unleash creative interactions to enrich his ideas. That was how he worked during the Springfield’s best days.

A twist of fate gave him his shot. In 1971, he was coasting along on a lackluster but lucrative tour when he happened to cross paths with Chris Hillman. As Hillman recalls, “Stills was playing a concert in Cleveland with the Memphis Horns. I was sitting in the audience, going, ‘Jesus Christ. They’re making 25,000 bucks and they’re shitty. The Burritos are better than this.’ I went backstage, and that’s when we renewed the friendship.”

Their bond dated back to 1960s LA, when Hillman—among the most catalytic figures in rock history—got Buffalo Springfield the gig as the Whisky A Go Go’s house band. That launched them to stardom.

Besides, Stills knew that Hillman was far more than a catalyst. After a whiz-kid run as a bluegrass mandolinist, he played innovative bass, doubled on guitar, sang lead and harmony, and co-wrote songs with the Byrds. When Roger McGuinn unceremoniously dumped his friend Gram Parsons after Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Hillman left, and the Flying Burrito Brothers were born. Parsons and Hillman penned a few matchless songs that other composers would likely swap body parts for, like Sin City and Wheels.

But the Grievous Angel was riding hard on the road to ruin; sloppy business dealings, erratic performances, and over-the-top drug use and boozing got him fired from his own group before Burrito Deluxe was released in early 1970. Hillman tried steering the band, but its personnel kept changing; the near-chaos made the Burritos musically unpredictable and financially disastrous.

So when Hillman and Stills accidentally crossed paths in Cleveland, they both glimpsed opportunity. Stills’ bounteous talents and fierce competitive drive almost ensured he would overshadow nearly any setting he was in, but he was discouraged by his solo ventures. He needed a creative ally he respected, someone who’d push back but not combust or split.

Hillman, who may be rock history’s best-ever second banana, firstly dealing with McGuinn and Parsons were hard-to-beat baptisms of fire was secure enough in his own creativity to deliver. He would co-write two songs for Manassas (Both of Us, It Doesn’t Matter), help Stills wrangle others into shape, and supply his subtle, pure-toned harmonies throughout.

As Stills explained, “I basically wanted a partner, somebody who had a sense of songs. Chris invented the phrase ‘lyric police,’ and was a tremendous help. But I was still on that real powerful, energetic ‘Let’s go, I know what I’m doing’ kinda thing. Chris realized it was my band, and that was OK for him.”

A few weeks later, Stills called Hillman and invited him down to Miami’s famed Criteria Studios, where engineer-producer Tom Dowd had shepherded Derek and the Dominos‘ monumental jam-fuelled Layla sessions the year before. As it happens, the producers for what would become Manassas worked on it too.

The stage was set to replace the sterile studio feel Stills hated with the onstage improvising looseness he loved. He had his co-pilot. So who else would joust with Captain Many Hands? .From the shambling Burritos came two key other talents for the band, Violinist Byron Berline was a bluegrass vet who’d clocked time with stars like Bill Monroe and Dillard and Clark. Fallen Eagle, a breakneck bluegrass protest song against ranchers killing our endangered national symbol, puts his dazzling, keening fiddle and Hillman’s virtuoso mandolin in the forefront.

Al Perkins had learned to play Hawaiian steel guitar at nine, mastered the dobro and pedal steel, performed with country and western bands, then shifted gears to tour his native west Texas as a rock guitar slinger. He supports or duels with Stills on all his axes. On Jesus Gave Love Away For Free, his aching steel solos swell and sigh; on Don’t Look at My Shadow, they glide with glee. On “Jet Set,” he plugs into effects to go grungy and deliver slashing, whiplash blues in Duane Allman fashion to counter Stills’ gurgling wah-wah. He plays both steel and guitar on Song of Love.

Perkins, Stills, and Hillman take their guitar army acoustic for Johnny’s Garden, where their loosely braided, ever-shifting lines gently nudge Stills‘ yearning vocal. The rest of the cast came from Stills‘ solo albums and tours.

Bassist Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels brought the Caribbean feels Stills craved, as the burbling line on “Song of Love” demonstrates. But he could nail the bottom hard on blues-rockers like “Jet Set.”

Keyboardist Paul Harris, a session vet, could play almost any style; with Hillman’s adept rhythm guitar, his keys became the session’s sonic glue.

Latin percussionist Joe Lala co-founded Blues Image (Ride Captain Ride) and sang with gritty, soulful conviction. He vocally challenges Stills on Cuban Bluegrass, and delivers the pulsating Latin rhythms Stills adored throughout.

Drummer Dallas Taylor was Stills’ running buddy—and a wild card. He played on CSN(and sometimes Y)’s first two albums and tours; they fired him because his substance abuse rivaled the Grievous Angel’s. But this bad boy had exactly what Stills wanted on drums: he could float, dance, or slam it home.

The musicians quickly gelled in the studio, and within several weeks had recorded enough material at Criteria to fill a double-LP album release. The band was capable of a wide musical range, with a repertoire including blues, folk, country, Latin, and rock songs. Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, a friend of both Hillman and Stills who visited Criteria during the sessions, was an early fan of the band, at one point expressing an interest in joining. (Wyman would contribute to the sessions by helping Stills re-write his to-date unrecorded song from 1968, “Bumblebee,” as the blues/funk tune “The Love Gangster,” with Wyman also playing bass on the track.) The band christened itself Manassas after Stills, who had a strong interest in American Civil War history, orchestrated a photo shoot for them in Manassas, Virginia, the site of the First and Second Battles of Bull Run.

What was slated to be Stills’ third solo album had morphed completely. The band’s chemistry clicked almost instantly, and its boundless energy and chops meshed with Stills‘ vision and discipline. A few weeks of jamming out arrangements fused the wildly diverse material and sounds into a sum greater than its parts. They came out of it as a fierce, tuned machine. (See for yourself on this high-quality German TV recording, where Stills wails on wah-wah for “Jet Set” and “Treasure of the Oneness.”)

No wonder Bill Wyman, who co-wrote Love Gangster with Stills and played bass for the track, said he’d leave the Stones to join Manassas. Hillman understood why: “We were always more of a band than people thought. Stills wouldn’t have been the same without us, that’s for sure. Manassas was the best band Stills ever played in.”

The album ends with a final stark jolt. Blues Man finds Stills alone with an acoustic guitar, like the host of a wild party sitting amid the wreckage after it’s over. He channels everything he ever absorbed from his revered blues masters into his gritty, anguished vocal and nimble fingerpicking to sketch a raw, painfully dark elegy for three of his friends. Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson (Canned Heat), and Duane Allman had all recently died.

They weren’t the only ones: Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison were among the others. Many were wondering if rock’s creative surge had run its course. Did Stills? Who knows? But an era was indeed ending. And nothing Stills has done since approaches the epic scale and artistic heights of Manassas.

After the European leg of Manassas’ 1972 tour, Chris Hillman took several weeks away from the band to record a reunion album with his pre-Burritos band the Byrds, an effort that also included Stills’ ex-CSNY bandmate David Crosby, Manassas then regrouped and quickly completed their second album, Down the Road. Initial sessions for the album were again convened at Criteria Studios, but the band moved the sessions in midstream to Caribou Ranch in Colorado and the Record Plant in Los Angeles after Criteria staff engineers Ron and Howard Albert expressed concern that the sessions were not producing quality results. Down the Road was completed in January 1973. After completing Down the Road, Manassas became dormant for several months. During the break, Stephen Stills married Véronique Sanson, whom he had met in Paris during Manassas’ 1972 European tour.

Stills was greeted by several sources of turmoil upon returning  to regroup Manassas, as, in addition to Hillman’s future commitment to work with Furay and Souther, Dallas Taylor had become severely addicted to heroin, and Calvin Samuels had left the band for personal reasons. Stills dealt with these issues by securing the services of Jefferson Airplane drummer John Barbata (who had previously replaced Taylor in CSNY during their 1970 tour and Kenny Buttrey during Young’s 1973 tour) as a backup for Taylor, and bassist Kenny Passarelli of Joe Walsh’s band Barnstorm to replace Samuels. Samuels would return to the band for the last leg of its 1973 tour. Following the tour’s completion in October, Manassas’s dissolution was complete.

One of Manassas’ last shows, at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom in early October 1973, was made notable by the band’s being joined onstage by first David Crosby and Graham Nash, and, later in the show, by Neil Young. When later asked about this occurrence, Chris Hillman would comment “I could smell a CSNY reunion.” CSNY would, in fact, regroup for a world tour in early 1974. Following this tour, Stephen Stills would start a new band in 1975 with Kenny Passarelli and Joe Lala, but this was short-lived; Passarelli would soon depart to join the Elton John Band, and Lala would subsequently leave as well. Chris Hillman’s Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, which would also include Manassas members Al Perkins and Paul Harris (and eventually Joe Lala, who would later join Chicago), released its first album in early 1974.

That initial double album, along with Eric Clapton’s Layla stand as the most important and best albums we’ve ever been a part of.” Of the band’s prowess on stage, Stephen Stills has said “Manassas was such a terrific band. It really had some structure and reminded me of [Stills‘ previous band] the Buffalo Springfield at its best. Manassas could play anything.

  • Stephen Stills, vocals, keyboards & guitar (CSNY, ex-Buffalo Springfield)
  • Chris Hillman, vocals, mandolin & guitar (ex-Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers)
  • Al Perkins, steel guitar & guitar (ex-Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Brothers)
  • Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels, bass, backing vocals (ex-CSNY and John Sebastian)
  • Paul Harris, keyboards (performed sessions and toured with John Sebastian during 1968-71, and sessions for B.B. King during 1969-70)
  • Dallas Taylor, drums (ex-Clear Light, CSNY and John Sebastian)
  • Joe Lala, percussion, backing vocals (ex-Blues Image and Pacific Gas & Electric)

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In 1972, Stephen Stills formed a new band called ‘Manassas’ and on April 12th they released their debut double LP of the same name.
The album debuted on the Top LP’s chart for the week ending April 29th, 1972 and eventually peaked at #4 in June. Stills‘ album shared the Top 10 with an album by David Crosby and Graham Nash (Graham Nash David Crosby) and an album by Neil Young (Harvest), and as you know, all were members of the quartet Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Manassas marked a critical comeback for Stills, calling it a “sprawling masterpiece” and Rolling Stone saying it was “reassuring to know that Stills has some good music still inside him”.

By 1972, what we call classic rock was pretty much peaking—though nobody at the time knew it. Except maybe Stephen Stills. The band and double-album he piloted and released that year—both named Manassas—now seem pivotal. Manassas brilliantly summed up the remarkable 1960s creative surge that revitalized rock’s roots and encouraged experimentation just when it was at its crest.

The top-flight outfit Stills assembled in late 1971 and named for a bloody two-part Civil War battle (the album’s cover shot was taken on that battlefield) could nimbly navigate damn near every polyglot style rock was evolving– from blues “Jet Set” to bluegrass “Fallen Eagle”, country rock “Don’t Look At My Shadow” to Caribbean beats “Medley”, folk-rock “Johnny’s Garden” to metal “Right Now”. Jamming out complex, textured arrangements in the studio, they successfully translated them to stages in Europe and the US. But Stills always felt that Manassas struggled for recognition because his handlers wanted him back in the gold rush that Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) generated.

So it all begn when Hillman and Stills accidentally crossed paths in Cleveland, they both glimpsed opportunity. Stills’ bounteous talents and fierce competitive drive almost ensured he would overshadow nearly any setting he was in, but he was discouraged by his solo ventures. He needed a creative ally he respected, someone who’d push back but not combust or split.

A few weeks later, Stills called Hillman and invited him down to Miami’s famed Criteria Studios, where engineer-producer Tom Dowd had shepherded Derek and the Dominos‘ monumental jam-fuelled Layla sessions the year before. As it happens, the producers for what would become Manassas worked on it too.

The stage was set to replace the sterile studio feel Stills hated with the onstage improvising looseness he loved. He had his co-pilot.

Chris Hillman, who may be rock history’s best-ever second banana after dealing with McGuinn and Parsons were hard-to-beat baptisms of fire was secure enough in his own creativity to deliver. He would co-write two songs for Manassas (Both of Us, It Doesn’t Matter), help Stills wrangle others into shape, and supply his subtle, pure-toned harmonies throughout.

As Stephen Stills explained, “I basically wanted a partner, somebody who had a sense of songs. Chris invented the phrase ‘lyric police,’ and was a tremendous help. But I was still on that real powerful, energetic ‘Let’s go, I know what I’m doing’ kinda thing. Chris realized it was my band, and that was OK for him.”

From the shambling Burritos came two key talents.

Violinist Byron Berline was a bluegrass vet who’d clocked time with stars like Bill Monroe and Dillard and Clark. Fallen Eagle, a breakneck bluegrass protest song against ranchers killing our endangered national symbol, puts his dazzling, keening fiddle and Hillman’s virtuoso mandolin in the forefront.

Al Perkins learned to play Hawaiian steel guitar at nine, mastered the dobro and pedal steel, performed with country and western bands, then shifted gears to tour his native west Texas as a rock guitar slinger. He supports or duels with Stills on all his axes. On Jesus Gave Love Away For Free, his aching steel solos swell and sigh; on Don’t Look at My Shadow, they glide with glee. On “Jet Set,” he plugs into effects to go grungy and deliver slashing, whiplash blues in Duane Allman fashion to counter Stills‘ gurgling wah-wah. He plays both steel and guitar on Song of Love.

Perkins, Stills, and Hillman take their guitar army acoustic for “Johnny’s Garden”, where their loosely braided, ever-shifting lines gently nudge Stills‘ yearning vocal.

The rest of the cast came from Stills‘ solo albums and tours.

Bassist Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels brought the Caribbean feels Stills craved, as the burbling line on “Song of Love” demonstrates. But he could nail the bottom hard on blues-rockers like “Jet Set.”

Keyboardist Paul Harris, a session vet, could play almost any style; with Hillman’s adept rhythm guitar, his keys became the session’s sonic glue. Latin percussionist Joe Lala co-founded Blues Image (Ride Captain Ride) and sang with gritty, soulful conviction. He vocally challenges Stills on Cuban Bluegrass, and delivers the pulsating Latin rhythms Stills adored throughout.

Drummer Dallas Taylor was Stills’ running buddy—and a wild card. He played on CSN’s first two albums and tours; they fired him because his substance abuse rivaled the Grievous Angel’s. But this bad boy had exactly what Stills wanted on drums: he could float, dance, or slam it home.

What was slated to be Stills’ third solo album had morphed completely. The band’s chemistry clicked almost instantly, and its boundless energy and chops meshed with Stills’ vision and discipline. A few weeks of jamming out arrangements fused the wildly diverse material and sounds into a sum greater than its parts. They came out of it as a fierce, tuned machine.

No wonder Bill Wyman, who co-wrote Love Gangster with Stills and played bass for the track, said he’d leave the Stones to join Manassas. Hillman understood why: “We were always more of a band than people thought. Stills wouldn’t have been the same without us, that’s for sure. Manassas was the best band Stills ever played in.”

The album ends with a final stark jolt. Blues Man finds Stills alone with an acoustic guitar, like the host of a wild party sitting amid the wreckage after it’s over. He channels everything he ever absorbed from his revered blues masters into his gritty, anguished vocal and nimble fingerpicking to sketch a raw, painfully dark elegy for three of his friends. Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson (Canned Heat), and Duane Allman had all recently died.

On stage, Manassas gained fame for its nearly three-hour shows opening with an opening rock set, followed by Stills playing solo acoustic, Hillman and Perkins playing bluegrass, and the band then returning for country, more rock and an acoustic finish. After touring, Hillman took several weeks away to record a reunion album with the Byrds, his pre-Burritos band.

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.

By 1972, what we call classic rock was pretty much peaking . Stephen Stills along with the band and double-album he piloted and released that year both named “Manassas” brilliantly summed up the remarkable 1960s creative surge that revitalized rock’s roots and encouraged experimentation just when it was at its crest. Manassas marked a critical comeback for Stills, calling it a “sprawling masterpiece” with Rolling Stone magazine saying it was “reassuring to know that Stills has some good music still inside him  .Who knows? But an era was indeed ending. And nothing Stills has done since approaches the epic scale and artistic heights of Manassas.  The four suites of music correspond to the four sides of the album’s original LP release , The Raven , The Wilderness, Consider, and Rock and Roll is Here To Stay. The songs are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl release) is titled “The Raven” and is a composite of rock and Latin sounds that the group would often perform in full live. “The Wilderness” mainly centers on country and bluegrass with Chris Hillman and Al Perkins  talents coming to the forefront , with the track “So Begins the Task” later covered by Stephens Stills old flame Judy Collins . Part three, “Consider” is largely folk and folk-rock. “Johnny’s Garden,” reportedly for the caretaker at Stills English manor house and not for Lennon as is often thought, is a particular highlight. Two other notables from the “Consider” section are “It Doesn’t Matter” (later redone with different lyrics by the song’s uncredited co-writer Rick Roberts on the first “Firefall album and “Move Around “ which features some of the first synthesizer used in a rock context. The closing section, titled “Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay,” is a rock and blues set with one of the landmarks of Manassas short life, the epic “The Treasure.” A sort of Zen-like meditation on love and “oneness,” enlivened by the band’s most inspired recorded playing it evolves into a bluesy groove washed in Stills fierce electric slide playing.

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A lot had changed since that surge began. Rock went from being a marginal sideshow for major record labels to a billion-dollar industry. Freewheeling entrepreneurs with “big ears” yielded to corporate types focused on market share and growing profits. “Supergroups” manufactured by producers and agents who headlined arena shows became the standard of success. The top-flight outfit Stephen Stills assembled in late 1971 and named for a bloody two-part Civil War battle (the album’s cover shot was taken on that battlefield) could nimbly navigate damn near every style rock was evolving– from blues “Jet Set” to bluegrass “Fallen Eagle” , country rock “Don’t Look At My Shadow” to Caribbean beats “Medley”, folk-rock “Johnny’s Garden” . Jamming out complex, textured arrangements in the studio, they successfully translated them to stages in Europe and the US. But Stills always felt that Manassas struggled for recognition because his handlers wanted him back in the huge selling rush that Crosby Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) had generated.

Whatever the reason, Manassas remains one of rock’s half-forgotten treasures. But it’s possibily the best album and band Stephen Stills ever helmed.

Born in Texas, Stephen Stills was raised in Florida, Costa Rica, and the Panama Canal Zone as his military family rotated through duty stations. He absorbed all sorts of music along the way, and learned to play them on guitar, keyboards, bass, banjo, and assorted percussion instruments. The rootless kid found his mooring in sound. He beat up his family’s furniture until his dad finally got him drums to go with his drumsticks. After a week of college, he quit to be a musician.

His scuffling path through the folk revival introduced him to dozens of players, like Richie Furay and Neil Young, who’d become his creative network. It also put him into play at the onset of rock’s 1960s creative surge. He was in Los Angeles trying to peddle his songs when he turned down a slot with the corporately manufactured Monkees (he recommended Peter Tork instead), and jumped headlong into the exploratory waves with his tempestuous Buffalo Springfield.

The Buffalo Springfield surged into the national Top 40 charts with Stills’s brooding track “For What It’s Worth” . In the studio, on tracks as radically distinct as Kind Woman, Rock and Roll Woman, and Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing , they probed the new ideas firing young musical imaginations from London to California. Live, the band crackled with guitar-hero firepower, when Stills and Young opened up in redoubtable jams.

His songs were innovative, superbly crafted, stylistically diverse “Bluebird” is a stellar example of his fondness for complex structures. His lyrics could be elliptical or nakedly autobiographical; often infused with dark romance his confessional story-telling updated his beloved blues. Onstage, he hurled himself at the microphone, when he wasn’t prancing or dancing; he was so intense, his full-throated vocals seemed to come somehow from his entire body.

Bandmate Richie Furay called him “the heart and soul of Buffalo Springfield.”

The unstable chemistry and battling egos that fired the Springfield’s creative ambitions inevitably blew it apart. But the band had barely disintegrated before Stills was off solidifying his guitar-hero credentials on Super Session, with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield. On “Season Of The Witch”, Stills dialed up a distinctive voice on the wah-wah pedal Jimi Hendrix turned him onto, floating sweet nothings and yearnings tinged with acerbity.

Thanks to his network, a series of incidents drew Crosby Stills and Nash together.  Their 1969 debut release met with critical hosannas and gold-record status, and marked the dawn of that industry the supergroup, with high-powered handlers and big-ticket arena tours. Ironically, today it can sound like an almost-solo Stills album, so completely did his songwriting and talents he played nearly all the instruments dominate it.

Graham Nash said, “Stephen had a vision, and David and I let him run with it.” Or maybe he just steamrolled over them. A year after the second album “Deja Vu” , what was now CSN&Y exploded, and all its members then released their solo albums. Stephen Stills went gold, He also scored a big hit “Love The One You’re With”and was the only album ever to feature both Eric Clapton guesting on “Go Back Home” and Jimi Hendrix on Old Times Good Times.

Stills even describes himself as “aggressive,” “obnoxious,” and the like, all meaning he’s a control freak—an auteur, if you like. In those days, he was usually packing an enviable pocketful of new tunes. He could out-sing almost anyone and play one-man band if he wanted. You can see how he’d be a hard guy to face off with about creative issues.

Yet he knew he needed feedback. He wanted to improvise with players whose ideas and chops stood up to his own. Then he could let jamming unleash creative interactions to enrich his ideas. That was how he worked during the Buffalo Springfield’s best days.

A twist of fate gave him his shot. In 1971, he was coasting along on a lackluster but lucrative tour when he happened to cross paths with Chris Hillman. As Hillman recalls, “Stills was playing a concert in Cleveland with the Memphis Horns. I was sitting in the audience, going, ‘Jesus Christ. They’re making 25,000 bucks and they’re shitty. The Burritos are way better than this.’ I went backstage, and that’s when we renewed the friendship.”

Their bond dated back to 1960s LA, when Hillman—among the most catalytic figures in rock history—got Buffalo Springfield the gig as the Whisky A Go Go’s house band. That launched them on the road to stardom.

Besides, Stills knew that Hillman was far more than a catalyst. After a whiz-kid run as a bluegrass mandolinist, he played innovative bass, doubled on guitar, sang lead and harmony, and co-wrote songs with the Byrds. When Roger McGuinn unceremoniously dumped his friend Gram Parsons after “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” , Hillman left, and the Flying Burrito Brothers were born. Parsons and Hillman penned a few matchless songs that other composers would likely swap body parts for, like “Wheels” and “Sin City” .

But the Grievous Angel was riding hard on the road to ruin; sloppy business dealings, erratic performances, and over-the-top drug use and boozing got him fired from his own group before the album “Burrito Deluxe” was released in early 1970. Hillman tried steering the band, but its personnel kept changing; the near-chaos made the Flying Burritos musically unpredictable and financially disastrous.

So when Hillman and Stills again crossed paths in Cleveland, they both glimpsed opportunity. Stills’ bounteous talents and fierce competitive drive almost ensured he would overshadow nearly any setting he was in, but he was discouraged by his solo ventures. He needed a creative ally he respected, someone who’d push back but not combust or split. Chris Hillman, who may be rock history’s best-ever second in charge dealing with McGuinn and Parsons was secure enough in his own creativity to deliver. He would co-write two songs for the Manassas “Both Of Us” and “It Doesn’t Matter” , help Stills wrangle others into shape, and supply his subtle, pure-toned harmonies throughout.

As Stills explained, “I basically wanted a partner, somebody who had a sense of songs. Chris invented the phrase ‘lyric police,’ and was a tremendous help. But I was still on that real powerful, energetic ‘Let’s go, I know what I’m doing’ kinda thing. Chris realized it was my band, and that was OK for him.”

A few weeks later, Stills called Hillman and invited him down to Miami’s famed Criteria Studios, where engineer-producer Tom Dowd had produced the Derek and the Dominos’ monumental jam-fuelled “Layla” sessions the year before. As it happens, the producers for what would become Manassas worked on it too.

Image result for stephen Stills Manassas

From the shambling Burritos also came two key talents. Violinist Byron Berline was a bluegrass vet who’d clocked time with stars like Bill Monroe and Dillard and Clark. The Track “Fallen Eagle” , a breakneck bluegrass protest song against ranchers killing Americas endangered national symbol, puts his dazzling, keening fiddle and Hillman’s virtuoso mandolin in the forefront.

Al Perkins learned to play Hawaiian steel guitar at nine, mastered the dobro and pedal steel, performed with country and western bands, then shifted gears to tour his native west Texas as a rock guitar slinger. He supports or duels with Stills on all his axes. On “Jesus Gave Love Away For Free”, his aching steel solos swell and sigh; on “Don’t Look At My Shadow” , they glide with glee. On “Jet Set” he plugs into effects to go grungy and deliver slashing, whiplash blues in Duane Allman fashion to counter Stills’ gurgling wah-wah. He plays both steel and guitar on “Song Of Love”.

Perkins, Stills, and Hillman take their three guitar army acoustic for “Johnnys Garden”, where their loosely braided, ever-shifting lines gently nudge Stills‘ yearning vocal. The rest of the band came from Stills‘ solo albums and tours. Bassist Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels brought the Caribbean feels Stills craved, as the burbling line on “Song of Love” demonstrates. But he could nail the bottom hard on blues-rockers like “Jet Set”.

Keyboardist Paul Harris,was a session vet, he could play almost any style; with Hillman’s adept rhythm guitar, his keys became the session’s sonic glue. Latin percussionist Joe Lala co-founded Blues Image “Ride Captain Ride” and sang with gritty, soulful conviction. He vocally challenges Stills on the song “Cuban Bluegrass” , and delivers the pulsating Latin rhythms Stills adored .

Drummer Dallas Taylor was Stills’ running buddy—and a wild card. He played on CSN first two albums and tours; they fired him because his substance abuse rivaled the Grievous Angel’s. But this bad boy had exactly what Stills wanted on drums.

What was slated to be Stills‘ third solo album had morphed completely. The band’s chemistry clicked almost instantly, and its boundless energy and chops meshed with Stills‘ vision and discipline. A few weeks of jamming out arrangements fused the wildly diverse material and sounds into a sum greater than its parts. They came out of it as a fierce, tuned machine. No wonder Bill Wyman, who co-wrote “Love Gangster” with Stills and played bass for the track, said he’d leave the Stones to join Manassas. Hillman understood why: “We were always more of a band than people thought. Stills wouldn’t have been the same without us, that’s for sure. Manassas was the best band Stills ever played in. Image result for stephen Stills ManassasThe album ends with a final stark jolt.  “Blues Man” finds Stills alone with an acoustic guitar, He channels everything he ever absorbed from his revered blues masters into his gritty, anguished vocal and nimble fingerpicking to sketch a raw, painfully dark elegy for three of his friends. Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson (Canned Heat), and Duane Allman had all recently died. They weren’t the only ones: Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison were among the others. Many were wondering if rock’s creative surge had run its course.

Who knows? But an era was indeed ending. And nothing Stills has done since approaches the epic scale and artistic heights of Manassas.

If there is a wandering minstrel for a generation, some would think it would be Stephen Stills. He was a founding member of Buffalo Springfield,Crosby, Stills & Nash, Manassas and has had a great solo career to date.

Stephen Stills is one of the few rock artists who can claim to have grabbed the elusive brass ring of critical and commercial success not just once or even twice, but three times.

The first time was as a group member of Buffalo Springfield and writer of their 1967 hit “For What It’s Worth,” taken from their acclaimed first record. After Buffalo Springfield folded, he formed one-third of supergroup Crosby Stills and Nash, whose definitive performance at Woodstock in 1969 helped rocket their debut album release into multiplatinum orbit. And finally, just to make it perfectly clear he wasn’t simply riding the coat tails of others, in 1970 Stills released his first solo effort, which went to No. 3 on the album charts and spawned a Top 20 single, “Love the One You’re With.”

All milestones for sure, but these three classics have tended to obscure the rest of Stephen Stills’ work. And that’s unfortunate, because in Stills’ canon is an often overlooked gem in many ways the equal of his other projects: an album called Manassas, made by a band of the same name.

This seven-piece aggregation was assembled by combining players from Stephen Stills’ road band with others from the last incarnation of the Flying Burrito Brothers, which included ex-Byrds’ bassist Chris Hillman. So, though Stills was the acknowledged leader, officially Manassas has always correctly been referred to as a band — one with a “benevolent dictator” perhaps, but a band nonetheless.

The musicians’ wide range of experience enabled them to move between various forms of American popular music, integrating rock, pop, country, blues, Latin rhythms and other bits as well. This was very much in evidence on the group’s 1972 self-titled release, an album with so much good material that it came out as a two-record set. Even the names of the songs gave clues as to the variety found in the grooves: “Cuban Bluegrass,” “Colorado,” “The Love Gangster,” “Blues Man.”

One could hear the influences weaving in and out of the mix, courtesy of: Al Perkins’ pedal steel; Joe Lala’s percussion work; the tight-but-loose rhythm section of bassist Calvin Samuels and drummer Dallas Taylor; the stellar presence of keyboard ace Paul Harris; and the tenor harmony voice and rhythm guitar of Chris Hillman.

And let’s not forget Stephen Stills himself, writing and singing the songs, and playing his distinct lead guitar style, tying it all together. Even the first side is cut together as a seamless medley like production, with the other sides thematically arranged for maximum effect. Overall, think the Eagles meets Santana meets Johnny Winter, with bits of the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies in places.

Still, you have to wonder why this went under so many people’s radar, especially with the gap left by the break up of CSN  (and Young) in 1970. There could be a number of reasons.

First, there might have been some confusion as to what this actually was: a third Stephen Stills album or something else? After all, even the cover sports Stills’ name large above the Manassas logo.

Second, it was released in April of 1972, and shortly thereafter the band went off to tour Europe. Some of the television appearances they made while over there show that when they got warmed up, they were as good as or better than most of their contemporaries. After returning to the U.S., Manassas had to make time to accommodate Chris Hillman’s commitment to prep for a Byrds’ reunion tour starting in October, which might have slowed their momentum. Finally, although Manassas did make the Top 10 in the album charts that year, it contained no successful single. But the Crosby and Nash duo effort released around the same time contained a Top 40 single, “Immigration Man.” Perhaps more significantly, Neil Young’s 1972 best-selling chart topper Harvest featured the singles “Heart of Gold,” which went to No. 1 in the charts, and “Old Man,” which reached the Top 40.

Eventually, various outside factors, including Hillman starting the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band and Stills and  reuniting Crosby Stills Nash and Young for a major world tour in 1974, would cause Manassas to officially call it quits in late 1973.

At least they left behind one great album to document their short existence, and maybe one day Manassas will take its place alongside Stephen Stills’ other, more famous contributions to rock ‘n’ roll.

 

Stephen has reached  71 on his last birthday. Stephen Stills is able to claim that he played at the 3 most important music festival of the 60’s. Monterey International Pop in 1967, Woodstock in August of 1969 and Altamont in December. of 1969.

On his first solo album “Stephen Stills”, he had both Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton play for him. And he’s ‘Still’ playing.

Is there anyone piece of his work that is your very favorite?

 

In 1972, Stephen Stills formed a new band called ‘Manassas’ and on April 12th they released their debut double LP of the same name. A sprawling masterpiece, akin to the BeatlesWhite Album, the StonesExile on Main St., or Wilco‘s Being There in its makeup, if not its sound. Rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass have all been styles touched on in Stephen Stills career, and the skilled, energetic musicians he had gathered in Manassas played them all on this album. What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement. The songs are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl release) is titled “The Raven,” and is a composite of rock and Latin sounds that the group would often perform in full live. “The Wilderness” mainly centers on country and bluegrass (Chris Hillman‘s and Al Perkins‘ talents coming to the forefront), with the track “So Begins the Task” later covered by Stills‘ old flame Judy Collins. Part three, “Consider” is largely folk and folk-rock. “Johnny’s Garden,” reportedly for the caretaker at Stills‘ English manor house and not for John Lennon as is often thought, is a particular highlight. Two other notables from the “Consider” section are “It Doesn’t Matter” (later redone with different lyrics by the song’s uncredited co-writer Rick Roberts on the first Firefall album) and “Move Around,” which features some of the first synthesizer used in a rock context. The closing section, titled “Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay,” is a rock and blues set with one of the landmarks of Manassas short life, the epic “The Treasure.” A sort of Zen-like meditation on love and “oneness,” enlivened by the band’s most inspired recorded playing it evolves into a bluesy groove washed in Stills‘ fierce electric slide playing.

The delineation lines of the four themed song groupings aren’t cut in stone, though, and one of the strengths of the album is that there is a lot of overlap in styles throughout. The CD reissue’s remastered sound is excellent, though missed is the foldout poster and handwritten lyrics from the original vinyl release. Unfortunately, the album has been somewhat overlooked over the years, even though Stephen Stills considers it some of the best work he has done. 

“It Doesn’t Matter” was released as a single and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones plays bass on and co-authored “The Love Gangster” and is reported to have said that he would have left the Stones to join Manassas.

Manassas marked a critical comeback for Stills, reviewers calling it a “sprawling masterpiece.

The album debuted on the Billboard Top LP’s chart for the week ending April 29th, 1972 . Stephen Stills’ album shared the Top 10 with an album by David Crosby and Graham Nash (Graham Nash David Crosby) and an album by Neil Young (Harvest), and.with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman, Chris Hillman and Dallas Taylor. 

This was recorded for Beat-Club (not for the often misquoted MusikLaden, which replaced Beat-Club on December 13, 1972). The show was broadcast on March 25, 1972 (referred to as Episode #1.77). Any corrections are most welcome.The broadcast seems to showcase Side A of the forthcoming double album release (April 12, 1972) almost in its entirety and track-by-track.

Manassas was a fairly short-lived project, but a highly creative one. The double album was in a sense a concept album of different genres from which the band could quite easily and most skilfully draw upon.

The core members of Manassas were:

Stephen Stills: vocals, keyboards & guitar (CSNY, ex-Buffalo Springfield)
Chris Hillman: vocals, mandolin & guitar (ex-Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers)
Al Perkins: steel guitar & guitar (ex-Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Brothers)
Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels: bass, backing vocals (ex-CSNY and John Sebastian)
Paul Harris: keyboards (played with John Sebastian during 1968-71)
Dallas Taylor: drums (ex-Clear Light, CSNY and John Sebastian)
Joe Lala: percussion, backing vocals (ex-Blues Image and Pacific Gas & Electric)

Manassas was an American Rock band formed by Stephen Stills in 1971. Predominantly a vehicle for Stills’ artistic vision, the band released two albums during its active tenure, 1972’s Manassas and 1973’s Down the Road. The band dissolved in October 1973. The band’s first album simply titled Manassas,was  a double-album sporting a cover photo from the shoot in Virginia, released in May 1972. The album was well received, and Manassas globally toured behind it for most of 1972, including television appearances on ABC-TV’s In Concert in the United States and Beat-Club in West Germany

01 Carry on 00:00
02 Know You Gotta Run 03:58
03 Word Game 09:56
04 Remember The Americans 13:34
05 So you want to be a rock ‘n roll star 15:54
06 Go Back Home 18:42
07 Pensamiento 23:33
08 49 reasons ~ 25:40
09 For What It’s Worth 32:19
10 Find The Cost of Freedom 35:16

I think this was recorded for Beat-Club (not for the MusikLaden, which replaced Beat-Club on December 13th, 1972). The show was broadcast on March 25, 1972 (referred to as Episode #1.77)

In 1972, with an already embarrassingly rich resume Stephen Stills career with Buffalo Springfield, Super Session, CSN&Y, Stephen Stills’ finest hour was still to come. Along with ex-Byrd/Burrito Chris Hillman, Stills co-founded Manassas and issued a 2LP set that was called “a sprawling masterpiece” . Manassas was barely 6 months old when they convened at the film studios of Germany’s Radio Bremen to record this excellent 35+ minute live performance for the TV show, Beat Club. Released on DVD in 2000 and reportedly, the only visual documentation of the band, Manassas, with no audience, expertly fusing Stills’ musical passions (blues rock, Latin & country) into a distinctively potent blend. Note this set’s suite of songs, beginning with “Song Of Love” and running uninterrupted through to “Jet Set (Sigh).” Instead of concluding the run as originally recorded on the LP (with “Anyway”), Stills throws the band a live curve ball (you can actually see and hear the momentary confusion at the 20:45 mark) and, in front of the rolling cameras, kicks off an extended jam instead (at 22:00). The DVD is worth owning just to see Stills’ short-lived Manassas in performance mode, something most of us never got the opportunity to experience. Find the DVD at Amazon,

manassas
Manassas was a fairly short-lived project, but a highly creative one. The double album was in a sense a concept album of different genres from which the band could quite easily and most skilfully draw upon.
The core members of Manassas were:
Stephen Stills: vocals, keyboards & guitar (CSNY, ex-Buffalo Springfield)
Chris Hillman: vocals, mandolin & guitar (ex-Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers)
Al Perkins: steel guitar & guitar (ex-Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Brothers)
Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels: bass, backing vocals (ex-CSNY and John Sebastian)
Paul Harris: keyboards (played with John Sebastian during 1968-71)
Dallas Taylor: drums (ex-Clear Light, CSNY and John Sebastian)
Joe Lala: percussion, backing vocals (ex-Blues Image and Pacific Gas & Electric)