Thursday, 5 January 2012

Crosby, Stills And Nash (AF)

This entry goes back a bit actually when I used to have a more complicated blog structure with a blog for old stuff but seeing there's a new bit it'll be retyped as one piece here.
The late 1960's and early 70's is a period where I do remember rather more than many of my contemparies do and I guess for me it involves numerous automotive journeys with the clunking of Pops in-car 8 track player and the sometimes downright screwed up track orders of the albums we played and given that is even know how they 'play' in my head, perhaps our generation ought to be compensated by Lear Jet for it!

Crosby Stills and Nash fit that era to a tee and recently Audio Fidelity a small Californian reissue outfit re-issued their first album freshly re-mastered by Steve Hoffman.
Songs like Wooden Ships, Marrekesh Express and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes were always on on tape player plus the FM radio and what they've tried to do on this cd is to bring out a more natural bass quality and improve the clarity of the individual instruments on what has to be said is a so-so original recording. It works well even if ultimately this album is one you enjoy for the performances and songs some of which like the Graham Nash ones were orginally intended for his 'old' group the Hollies during that period when he wanted to write songs with more meaning while the groups record company (EMI) just wanted simplistic pop songs to sell hit 45's instead. In Crosby's case he famously fell out with the Byrds as they didn't wish to issue his songs and so Graham Steven Stills and himself formed this 'supergroup'.
Shortly afterwards Neil Young a now celebrated Canadian singer-songwriter joined them for the Deja Vu album which was a good a distillation of the ethos of those 'Woodstock' days as any I can think of from the cover of the Joni Mitchell song of the same name to Almost Cut My Hair, Nash's Our House and my favourite Neil's Country Girl a seemless suite of three songs.
I owned this originally on 8 track and later the casette version during the 'Walkman era'.
Sometime in the mid 1990's ('94 I think) Joe Gastwirt remastered this and pretty much all the C,S,N &Y output for compact disc and these can be got cheaply with decent sound from the likes of Amazon. They are only just a little louder than a specialist remaster and I like his version of this a lot.
In the fall of 2013 Steve Hoffman tackled this, the 1977 album (aka "The Boat") for Audio Fidelity catalogue number AFZ 144, the home of Cathedral and several other fine compositions. Having heard a number on the 2013 reissued box set CSN, my interest was picqued so I bought it. The sound is really good on this issue maintaining its analogue warmth and can be recommended 

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