Crosby, Stills & Nash
Daylight Again

Crosby, Stills & Nash

Under the proper circumstances, Crosby, Stills & Nash, the debut from 1969, and 1982’s Daylight Again could be looked upon as stand-outs in the dilatory, spotty CSN catalog. As the group’s first and third albums, they neatly bookend a decade that saw the band reach its pinnacle, only to nearly tumble into oblivion due to wayward egos, drug abuse and various acts of indiscretion. Repackaged, remastered and bulked up with bonanza bonus tracks, both offer reflective glimpses into the debauchery and dynamics of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The group, older and wiser, carries on its merry journey of melodic majesty to this day, making this a history lesson perfectly aligned with the present.

Crosby, Stills & Nash the album has been universally hailed as the ultimate mellow California rock sounding record – sparse, spacious and elegant, ballyhooed by superb songwriting and that unmistakable, three-part vocal blend. The album was one of the defining statements of the Woodstock generation, a venerable cornucopia of exquisiteness and righteousness held in balance by three strong personalities. Bolstered by the epic grandeur of Stephen Stills’ “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” the nonstop joyride sallies onward with Graham Nash’s upbeat “Marrakesh Express,” David Crosby’s graceful “Guinnevere,” and the co-opt CSN/ Jefferson Airplane vehicle “Wooden Ships.” The wind-down is surreptitiously topped off with no less than the triple threat of “Helplessly Hoping,” “Long Time Gone,” and “49 Bye Byes.” A classic on its own, the reissue is filled out with four extra songs, including an impromptu version of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” – a career-making hit for Harry Nilsson – and a demo of “Teach Your Children.”

A decade later, Crosby, Stills & Nash was an entirely different animal. A nasty drug habit was taking its toll on Crosby, the man Joni Mitchell once called a lion. Consequently, his involvement on Daylight Again is minimal, while adjunct musicians fill out the sound, most notably keyboardist Michael Finnegan, the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmitt, and Art Garfunkel, all of whom add to the trademark vocal blend with deceptively splendorous results. Despite the internal struggles, the album transcends some of the obstacles and features a few memorable gems including Nash’s “Wasted On The Way,” Still’s “Southern Cross,” and “Delta,” Crosby’s sole contribution. As with many records produced by veteran bands in the early 80s, Daylight Again is, at times, achingly smooth and saccharine. Still, it shows there's enough stimuli left in the trio’s weary bones to justify their continued existence. The reissue features four additional tracks, mostly outtakes from various 1980 – 1983 sessions along with “Might As Well Have A Good Time,” a simple, barebones demo that captures Crosby at a rare, tunefully inspired moment during an otherwise dark period.

~ Shawn Perry

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