Thursday, 3 October 2013

Stephen Stills - Selftitled (Outstanding 1st Album US 1971)


Size: 81.2 MB
Bitrate: 256
mp3
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRovk
Artwork Included
Source: Japan HDCD Limited Remaster Edition

Stephen Stills is an eponymous rock album by Stephen Stills, famous for his long-time membership in Crosby, Stills, & Nash. It consists of songs written by Stills and is one of four high-profile albums released by each member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their 1970 chart-topping album Déjà Vu.

The album features an array of well-known guest musicians, including David Crosby and Graham Nash, who contributed vocals. Ringo Starr drums on two tracks under the pseudonym "Richie," which he also used for his contribution to the London Sessions album by American bluesman Howlin' Wolf, recorded in England the same year. Stills' album is also the only album in rock and roll history to which both Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix supplied guitar work. Hendrix died before the album was released—Stills dedicated the album to "James Marshall Hendrix."

The song "We Are Not Helpless" was written in response to Neil Young's song "Helpless" from the Déjà Vu album and the song and "Black Queen" have remained in the performing repertoire of both Stills and CSN. "Love the One You're With," Stills' biggest solo hit single, peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 19, 1970, and another single pulled from the album, "Sit Yourself Down," went to #37 on March 27, 1971.

The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in the week of December 5, 1970. It was reissued by WEA after being digitally remastered using the HDCD process on December 5, 1995. "We Are Not Helpless" and "Love the One You're With" were first performed in concert on May 12, 1970 during Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Déjà Vu tour. In 2009 Crosby, Stills, & Nash released Demos featuring an early demo of "Love the One You're With".

Stephen Stills - Australian EP 1972
Reviews of the album were decidedly mixed ranging from positive to lukewarm. Allmusic calls it "a jaw-dropping experience" just short of Crosby, Stills & Nash and Déjà Vu while others such as Rolling Stone were less effusive, qualifying the somewhat negative tone by writing "I'm not saying I don't like this album."

Talk about understatement -- there's Stephen Stills on the cover, acoustic guitar in hand, promising a personal singer/songwriter-type statement. And there is some of that -- even a lot of that personal music-making -- on Stephen Stills, but it's all couched in astonishingly bold musical terms. Stephen Stills is top-heavy with 1970 sensibilities, to be sure, from the dedication to the memory of Jimi Hendrix to the now piggish-seeming message of "Love the One You're With." Yet, listening to this album three decades on, it's still a jaw-dropping experience, the musical equal to Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu, and only a shade less important than either of them. 

The mix of folk, blues (acoustic and electric), hard rock, and gospel is seamless, and the musicianship and the singing are all so there, in your face, that it just burns your brain (in the nicest, most benevolent possible way) even decades later. Recorded amid the breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Stills' first solo album was his effort to put together his own sound and, not surprisingly, it's similar to a lot of stuff on the group's two albums. But it's also infinitely more personal, as well as harder and bluesier in many key spots; yet, it's every bit as soft and as lyrical as the group in other spots, and all laced with a degree of yearning and urgency that far outstrips virtually anything he did with the group. "Love the One You're With," which started life as a phrase that Stills borrowed from Billy Preston at a party, is the song from this album that everybody knows, but it's actually one of the lesser cuts here -- not much more than a riff and an upbeat lyric and mood, albeit all of it infectious. 

Stephen Stills - German Single 1971
"Do for the Others," by contrast, is one of the prettiest and most moving pieces of music that Stills has ever been associated with, and "Church (Part of Someone)" showed him moving toward gospel and R&B (and good at it, too); and then there's "Old Times Good Times," musically as good a rock song as Stills has ever recorded (even if it borrows a bit from "Pre-Road Downs"), and featuring Jimi Hendrix on lead guitar. "Go Back Home" (which has Eric Clapton on guitar) is fine a piece of bluesy hard rock, while "Sit Yourself Down" features superb singing by Stills and a six-person backing chorus (that includes Cass Elliot, Graham Nash, and David Crosby) around a great tune. "To a Flame" is downright ethereal, while the live "Black Queen" is a superb piece of acoustic blues. All of this is presented by Stills in the best singing voice of his career up to that point, bolder, more outgoing, and more powerful (a result of his contact with Doris Troy) than anything in his previous output. 

He also plays lots of instruments (à la Crosby, Stills & Nash, which is another reason it sounds so similar to the group in certain ways), though a bit more organ than guitar, thanks to the presence of Hendrix and Clapton on two cuts. If the album has a flaw, it's the finale, "We Are Not Helpless," which slightly overstays its welcome. But hey, this was still the late '60s, and excess was the rule, not the exception, and it's such modest excess.

01. "Love the One You're With" – 3:04
02. "Do for the Others" – 2:52
03. "Church (Part of Someone) – 4:05
04. "Old Times Good Times" – 3:39
05. "Go Back Home" – 5:54
06. "Sit Yourself Down" – 3:05
07. "To a Flame" – 3:08
08. "Black Queen" – 5:26
09. "Cherokee" – 3:23
10. "We Are Not Helpless" – 4:20

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Stephen Stills - Netherland Single 1971

4 comments:

João Pinheiro said...

Hello Cris, for the third time i am re-starting the blog, this time back in blogspot, if you could add it to your blogroll it would mean a lot http://theredhippie.blogspot.pt/

The Red Hippie

Glad to see you are also back, i was blocked the same night as Dirty Funky was

You can erase this message if you want.

(This Album is truly Outstanding ;))

Doug said...

Thanks Chris ... very much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Thanx!

Vitezslove Sichtar said...

Timeless!

Thank you very very very much for sharing!