Friday, 14 March 2014

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déja Vu (Classic Album US 1970)


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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Déjà Vu is the second album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, and their first in the quartet configuration of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It was released in March of 1970 by Atlantic Records, catalogue SD-7200. It topped the pop album chart for one week and generated three Top 40 singles: "Woodstock", "Teach Your Children", and "Our House".

Déjà Vu was greatly anticipated after the popularity of the first CSN album and given the addition of Young to the group, who at the time remained largely unknown to the general public. Stills estimates that the album took around 800 hours of studio time to record; this figure may be exaggerated, even though the individual tracks display meticulous attention to detail. 


The songs, except for "Woodstock", were recorded as individual sessions by each member, with each contributing whatever was needed that could be agreed upon. Young does not appear on all of the tracks, and drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves are credited on the cover with their names in slightly smaller typeface. Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel on "Teach Your Children" and John Sebastian plays harmonica on the title track.

Four singles were released from the album with all but the last, "Carry On," charting on the Billboard Hot 100. The popularity of the album contributed to the success of the four albums released by each of the members in the wake of Déjà Vu — Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, Stephen Stills' self-titled solo debut, David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, and Graham Nash's Songs for Beginners. [Wikipedia]


Billboard Magazine July 1970
One of the most hotly awaited second albums in history -- right up there with those by the Beatles and the Band -- Déjà Vu lived up to its expectations and rose to number one on the charts. Those achievements are all the more astonishing given the fact that the group barely held together through the estimated 800 hours it took to record Déjà Vu and scarcely functioned as a group for most of that time. Déjà Vu worked as an album, a product of four potent musical talents who were all ascending to the top of their game coupled with some very skilled production, engineering, and editing. 

There were also some obvious virtues in evidence -- the addition of Neil Young to the Crosby, Stills & Nash lineup added to the level of virtuosity, with Young and Stephen Stills rising to new levels of complexity and volume on their guitars. Young's presence also ratcheted up the range of available voices one notch and added a uniquely idiosyncratic songwriter to the fold, though most of Young's contributions in this area were confined to the second side of the LP. Most of the music, apart from the quartet's version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," was done as individual sessions by each of the members when they turned up (which was seldom together), contributing whatever was needed that could be agreed upon. "Carry On" worked as the album's opener when Stills "sacrificed" another copyright, "Questions," which comprised the second half of the track and made it more substantial. 


Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young - German Single 1970
"Woodstock" and "Carry On" represented the group as a whole, while the rest of the record was a showcase for the individual members. David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair" was a piece of high-energy hippie-era paranoia not too far removed in subject from the Byrds' "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man," only angrier in mood and texture (especially amid the pumping organ and slashing guitars); the title track, also by Crosby, took 100 hours to work out and was a better-received successor to such experimental works as "Mind Gardens," out of his earlier career with the Byrds, showing his occasional abandonment of a rock beat, or any fixed rhythm at all, in favor of washing over the listener with tones and moods. "Teach Your Children," the major hit off the album, was a reflection of the hippie-era idealism that still filled Graham Nash's life, while "Our House" was his stylistic paean to the late-era Beatles and "4+20" was a gorgeous Stephen Stills blues excursion that was a precursor to the material he would explore on the solo album that followed. 


Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young 1969
And then there were Neil Young's pieces, the exquisitely harmonized "Helpless" (which took many hours to get to the slow version finally used) and the roaring country-ish rockers that ended side two, which underwent a lot of tinkering by Young -- even his seeming throwaway finale, "Everybody I Love You," was a bone thrown to longtime fans as perhaps the greatest Buffalo Springfield song that they didn't record. All of this variety made Déjà Vu a rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners, while mass audiences reveled in the glorious harmonies and the thundering electric guitars, which were presented in even more dramatic and expansive fashion on the tour that followed. [AMG]

Recorded July - December, 1969 at Wally Heider's Studio C, San Francisco and Wally Heider's Studio III, Los Angeles. Released March 11, 1970

Personnel:
David Crosby — vocals all tracks except "4+20"; rhythm guitar on "Almost Cut My Hair," "Woodstock," "Déjà Vu," "Country Girl," and "Everybody I Love You"

 Stephen Stills — vocals all tracks except "Almost Cut My Hair"; guitars all tracks except "Our House"; keyboards on "Carry On," "Helpless," "Woodstock," and "Déjà Vu"; bass on "Carry On," "Teach Your Children," and "Déjà Vu"; percussion on "Carry On"

 Graham Nash — vocals all tracks except "Almost Cut My Hair" and "4+20"; keyboards on "Almost Cut My Hair," "Woodstock," "Our House," and "Everybody I Love You"; rhythm guitar on "Teach Your Children" and "Country Girl"; percussion on "Carry On" and "Teach Your Children"

 Neil Young — vocals on "Helpless" and "Country Girl"; guitars on "Almost Cut My Hair," "Helpless," "Woodstock," "Country Girl," and "Everybody I Love You"; keyboards, harmonica on "Country Girl"

Additional personnel:
 Dallas Taylor — drums; tambourine on "Teach Your Children"
 Greg Reeves — bass on "Almost Cut My Hair," "Helpless," "Woodstock," "Our House," "Country Girl," and   "Everybody I Love You"
 Jerry Garcia — pedal steel guitar on "Teach Your Children"
 John Sebastian — harmonica on "Déjà Vu

01. "Carry On"  Stephen Stills 4:26
02. "Teach Your Children" Graham Nash 2:53
03. "Almost Cut My Hair" David Crosby 4:31
04. "Helpless" Neil Young 3:33
05. "Woodstock" Joni Mitchell 3:54
06. "Déjà Vu" David Crosby 4:12
07. "Our House" Graham Nash 2:59
08. "4 + 20" Stephen Stills 2:04
09. "Country Girl (Whiskey Boot Hill/Down Down Down/"Country Girl" (I Think You're Pretty)" Neil Young  5:11
10. "Everybody I Love You" Stephen Stills, Neil Young 2:21

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Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young 1969

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi, chris, thank you very much for this wonderful record! in my opinion csny were beside the beatles one of the greatest bands in the late sixties1 i heard their records consistently. i have one question; perhaps you can help me or have an idea? i'm searching for the first solo album from linda tillery: "sweet linda devine" and the johnny almond music machine: "hollywood blues" it seems impossible to find :-( thanks in advance, lg, m

Magic Kaic's Music said...

Classic and still beautiful, thanks

simonthecat said...

Perhaps I read too much CREEM before I really heard these guys, but I've always hated them!

Anonymous said...

I have never much cared for close vocal harmonies but this has always been one of my favorite albums and 'Woodstock' (though I was not there) the soundtrack of my life. I haven't heard the whole album in years; this will be fun. Many thanks.

-Brian

Daniel said...

One of the greatest line-ups in rock history.