by Steve Pick
Maybe you didn't notice this quiet little CD slipping into the store last summer, but it's a joy to hear. Stephen Stills, adrift from Buffalo Springfield yet not teamed with Crosby or Nash, scored some studio time at the end of his girlfriend's recording session. So, presumably with Judy Collins standing by admiring him, Stills put down a bunch of demos of songs, many of which would later turn up on various projects over the next few years.
Stills has never sounded more naked than he does here, and you can focus on both his heartfelt (if ragged - these weren't meant to be released) vocals and his impeccable acoustic guitar playing. Imagine, for example, a version of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," performed with the subject of the song right there in front of the singer. (Speaking of that song, as the years go by, it's monumental nature seems more and more self-evident; rock music has rarely ever gotten more simultaneously complex and simple.) Or how about a version of "Change Partners" that sounds quietly hopeful that such a change could improve things?
If you've ever enjoyed Stills in Buffalo Springfield, or with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, or as a solo artist, this CD is an essential look into his songwriting process, and an entirely enjoyable listen on its own merits.
Buy it here at the Euclid Records website.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
by Steve Pick