David Crosby and Graham Nash


Band members                              Related acts

- David Crosby -- vocals, guitar

- Graham Nash -- vocals, keyboards, guitar, harmonica

 

  supporting musicians:(1972)

- Dana Africa -- flute

- Johnny Barbata -- drums

- Craig Doerge -- keyboards

- David Duke -- horn

- Chris Ethridge -- bass

- Jerry Garcia -- lead guitar, steel guitar

- Danny Kootch -- lead guitar

- Billy Kreutzmann -- drums

- Russell Kunkle -- drums

- Phil Lesh -- bass

- Arthur Maebe -- french horn

- David Mason -- lead guitar

- George Price -- horn

- Leland Sklar -- bass

 

  supporting musicians: (1976)

- Lauren Allen -- zither

- Craig Doerge -- keyboards

- Tim Drummond -- bass

- Danny Kotchmar -- guitar, dobro

- Russell Kunkel -- drums, percussion

- David Lindley -- guitar, violin, viola, pedal steel

 

 

 

 

The Byrds (David Crosby)

- CPR (David Crosby)

- David Crosby (solo efforts)

- Crosby, Stills and Nash

- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

- The Hollies (Graham Nash)

- Graham Nash (solo efforts)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Graham Nash / David Crosby

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD 7220
Year:
 1972

Country/State: US / UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: die cut cover; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 133

Price: $8.00

 

By 1972 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young had achieved monumental stardom and then implode.  In the ensuing wreckage David Crosby and Graham Nash elected to continue their musical partnership.  Self-produced (with an assist from Bill Halverson), the cleverly-titled "Graham Nash - David Crosby" was a surprisingly impressive debut.  While it lacked the musical variety and versatility of a CSN, or CSN&Y release, the album allowed Crosby and Nash to showcase their creative strengths and personalities (which had frequently been overshadowed by Stephen Stills and  Neil Young). I'll be the first to tell you the results are uneven and occasionally outright frustrating.  Responsible for five of the compositions, Crosby tracks like ''Whole Cloth' and 'Games' underscored his affection for dreamy, jazzy, and highly idiosyncratic melodies that could be challenging to sit through.   Exemplified by tracks like 'Strangers Room' and 'Girl To Be On My Mind', Nash's material was far more conventional.  What made the album worth hearing was the pair playing against their stereotypes.  For Crosby that boiled down to the melodic 'Page 43' and the simply stunning 'The Wall Song'.   Similarly Nash was at his best when stepping outside of his normal artistic comfort zone - the Neil Young-influenced roots rocker 'Southbound Train' and the hit 'Immigration Man' which managed to channel Young's 'Ohio' styled anger down to a much more personal issue.   

 

- Nash's years with The Hollies saw him bringing the most overtly commercial ear to the extended CSN&Y catalog.  That makes the opener 'Southbound Train' all the more interesting.   Complete with forlorn country-rock feel (Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar), and loads of Nash's slightly-out-of-whack harmonica, to my ears this one's always sounded like Nash trying to do a Neil Young cover.  I'm a big Young fan so that wasn't meant as a slam ...  plus the Nash and Crosby harmonies were smoother than anything Young could ever pull off.   Easy to see why Atlantic tapped this as the lead-off single.  rating: **** stars

- I'll readily admit that it took me years to warm up to Crosby's first composition. For the longest time 'Whole Cloth'  struck me as a prime example of Crosby simply dicking around.  A wandering, rather tuneless track with a mildly jazzy feel and some of the most ponderous lyrics you've ever heard, the song seemed endless.  With the benefit of hindsight I'll give Crosby kudos for turning in an impressive vocal and the track wasn't as tuneless as I originally thought.  Nah, it won't make your forget 'Woodstock', but so what ...   rating: *** stars

-  While credited to Nash, 'Blacknotes' sure sounded like a Crosby effort ...   Apparently a live effort, the song featured Nash and piano - nothing else.  Ah, if it were only as easy as Nash made music out to be.   rating: ** stars

- Opening up with some orchestration that vaguely recalled 'Our House', 'Strangers Room' bounced around between sensitive singer/songwriter number and a more rocking attack.   The big problem with this one was that Nash seemingly couldn't decided which way he wanted the song to go and clocking in at under two and a half minutes, he ran out of time before the song could make a lasting impressive one way or the other.   rating: ** stars

- I'm probably not alone in forgetting that Crosby may have had the best voice in the "family" and 'Where Will I Be?' was a perfect display of his talents.  Sporting a beautiful acoustic melody, the song started off with a bang, but ran into trouble when Crosby seemingly ran out of lyrics and resorted to a bout of extended humming to fill up the space (something he'd do time after time on forth coming albums).   rating: *** stars

- 'Where Will I Be?' blended directly into 'Page 43' which was an even prettier and more commercial number with some glorious Crosby-Nash backing vocals.   Perhaps side one's outstanding performance with some equally attractive guitar ...   rating: **** stars

- Nash's 'Frozen Smiles' was one of those songs that I wanted to like, but the shrill harmonica just rubs me the wrong way.  rating: ** stars

- 'Games' was another Crosby song that crept up on me.  Initially I remember if as being a droning, rather tuneless and hopelessly introspective Crosby composition.  Yeah, there was a melody buried in there somewhere, but it just wasn't worth the time or effort to search for it.  And then when I'd stopped trying, the song suddenly crept up on me, revealing a host of features I'd somehow missed - a surprisingly pretty melody; some nice Nash keyboards and the pair's impeccable harmonies.   rating: *** stars

- A med-tempo rocker, 'Girl To Be On My Mind' found Nash returning to a more conventional pop sound.  Not to sound conventional myself, but it sported gorgeous melody that I find hard to shake out of my head..  rating: *** stars

- And just when you'd all but given up on Crosby, he reappeared with the mesmerizing 'The Wall Song'.  With backing from The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann, Crosby turned in a galvanizing vocal, one of his prettiest melodies that was coupled with a lyric that proved simultaneously bizarre and fascinating "your rusty old engine is ready to bust; you cannot believe it that they would not trust you ..."   It sounds like this was edited from a much longer studio version.  Shame a longer version wasn't included on the album.   rating: **** stars

-  I've never bothered to look into it, but given the dripping sarcasm permeating Nash's 'Immigration Man',  I'm guessing the lyric was autobiographical.  Regardless of the inspiration, the result was easily one of the best things Nash ever recorded - great sing-along melody, blistering lyrics, and Nash actually sounding pissed off and mad.  That probably goes a long way to explaining why Atlantic tapped it as the leadoff single and it's strong sales (# 36 pop charts).  Yeah, they're a bit older and rougher on this 2006 performance on Jools Holland's show, but the song's still a classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFuP8nS_WgY   rating: **** stars

 

As mentioned above, the album spun off a pair of singles:

- 1972's "Immigration Man' b/w 'Whole Cloth' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2873)

- 1972's "Southbound Train' b/w 'The Wall Song' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2892)

 

For what its worth, Crosby and Nah have recorded over a dozen albums over the ensuing years and I'd argue this remains the best of the lot and one of the best CSN&Y side projects,   That's a pretty high bar for comparisons sakes.   Curiously, for an album that spun off two hits and sold well (it went top 10 in the States), today its hard to locate a clean copy.

 

"Graham Nash - David Crosby" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Southbound Train   (Graham Sash) - 3:54

2.) Whole Cloth   (David Crosby) - 4:35

3.) Blacknotes    (Graham Nash) - 0:58

4.) Strangers Room   (Graham Nash) - 2:28

5.) Where Will I Be?   (David Crosby) - 3:22

6.) Page 43   (David Crosby) - 2:56

 

(side 2)
1.) Frozen Smiles   (Graham Nash)  - 2:17

2.) Games   (David Crosby) - 4:02

3.) Girl To Be On My Mind   (Graham Nash) - 3:27

4.) The Wall Song   (David Crosby) - 4:37

5.) Immigration Man   (Graham Nash) - 3:02

 

 



Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Whistling Down the Wire

Company: ABC

Catalog: ABCD 956
Year:
 1976

Country/State: US / UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut top right corner; textured cover; original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 858

Price: $8.00

 

David Crosby and Graham Nash's 1975's "Wind On the Water" was a really good album.   In contrast,  can remember buying 1976's "Whistling Down the Wire" and thinking it was an okay album.   At least to my then 16 year old ears, part of the problem was that "Whistling Down the Wire" sounded very much like a series of outtakes from the former album. The fact the collection had a rawer, more intense feel left me with the impression these ten tunes were leftovers; tracks they didn't think were good enough for the previous release.  Some four decades later I'll admit I was wrong.  I'll stand by the initial assessment that this album wasn't nearly as fresh as "Wind On the Water", but song-for-song it was quite enjoyable with the pair (particularly Nash), bringing several first-rate tunes to the table.  Besides the strength of Nash's contributions, the album's biggest surprise came in the form of the up-tempo, up-lifting tunes - 'Spotlight' was one of the happiest tunes they've ever written, while 'J.B.'s Blues' with a lilting Caribbean influence could easily have been a top-40 single.  Surrounding themselves with an all-star cast of sessions players, including Craig Doerge, Danny Kootchmar, and David Lindley certainly didn't hurt the results.  And when you compare it to what was to come, this one starts to sound more and more like a masterpiece.

 

"Whistling Down the Wire" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Spotlight    (Danny Kootch - Graham Nash) - 2:51

Perhaps because it was co-written by guitarist Danny Kootchmar, 'Spotlight' was an atypical, full-tilt rocker.   Lyrically the upbeat we-love-performing lyrics were also a modest change in direction.  Coupled with David Lindley's instantly recognizable slide guitar moves made it one of the album standout performances. It was tapped as the second single off the LP.    rating: **** stars

2.) Broken Bird   (Graham Nash - David Crosby) - 2:44

'Broken Bird' was credited to the pair, but given the song's quirky, almost jazzy melody, I always suspected Crosby wrote most of the music.  Reflective and a nice example of the pairs blended voices, for anyone who ever wondered, the title track came from this lyric.   rating: *** stars

3.) Time After Time   (David Crosby) - 2:32

An instantly recognizable Crosby composition, the melancholy 'Time After Time' was one of the tunes intended for an aborted 1975 Crosby, Stills & Nash studio album.  One of the prettiest things he's written with one of his more conventional melodies and some of those patented Crosby-Nash harmonies, the results were quite nice.   You tube has an interesting clip of Crosby singing an early, stripped down version of the song during a 1974 CSN&Y performance at Wembley Stadium.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFZkGmfNLwA   rating: **** stars

4.) Dancer (instrumental)   (David Crosby) - 4:50

Folks either  love, or hate Crosby and Nash's "humming" tunes.  I'm in the latter category.  Without lyrics, to me 'Dancer' sounded like a demo that they simply ran out of time to complete.   Sure, their voices blended nicely, but it simply wasn't the same as hearing a real lyric.  Shame since the tune had a pretty melody with some nice Kootchmar lead guitar that gave the song a surprisingly rough edge.   rating: ** stars

5.) Mutiny   (Graham Nash) - 4:45

Nash's 'Mutiny' was another "heavy" tune with a blazing Kootchmar/Lindley guitar shoot-out that sounded like it could have been written for a CSN&Y project.  Always wondered if the tune was inspired by Neil Young's decision to abandon the "Human Highway" project.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) J.B.'s Blues   (Graham Nash) - 2:41

Nash's 'J.B.'s Blues' was another atypical bouncy tune, with an almost Carribean lilt to it. and some wonderful lead guitar work  Another album highlight.   rating: **** stars

2.) Marguerita   (Graham Nash) - 4:13

The mournful 'Marguerita' was one of Nash's prettiest compositions and could have been mistaken for something Crosby had written.  Again, the duo's wonderful harmony vocals shined throughout.   rating: **** stars

3.) Taken It All   (Graham Nash - David Crosby) - 3:07

One of the most CSN&Y-like tracks on the album (in fact, the song was recorded by the band during one of their planned reunions)  ...  'Taken It All' had the album's prettiest melody and was one of those songs that climbed into your head and simply wouldn't leave.   Wonderful.  YouTube has a nice, if slightly ragged 2008 performance of the song on the David Letterman Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEY_uDS6VQQ . rating: **** stars

4.) Foolish Man   (David Crosby) - 4:29

The autobiographical  'Foolish Man' was interesting for showing Crosby could blend his quirky tendencies with a blues vibe and a more commercial orientation.   rating: *** stars

5.) Out of the Darkness (Craig Doerge - Graham Nash - David Crosby) -  4:24

Other than a beautiful chorus and Lindley's slide guitar, 'Out of the Darkness' was one of the album's bigger disappointments.   To be it's always sounded like the pair trying too hard to make a big statement.   'Course that didn't stop ABC from tapping it as a single.   rating: ** stars

 

As mentioned, two singles were pulled from the LP:

 

- 1976's 'Out of the Darkness' b/w 'Broken Bird' (ABC catalog number ABC 12199)

- 1976's 'Spotlight' b/w 'Foolish Man' (ABC catalog number 12216)

 

In spite of lukewarm reviews, the album proved a decent seller, hitting # 26 on the US charts.

 

 

 

 

BACK TO BADCAT FRONT PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT CATALOG PAGE

BACK TO BADCAT PAYMENT INFORMATION