[Review] Crosby-Nash: Live (1977)

Just a live album before the walrus and the carpenter went their separate ways.

CroNaMyth 4.0: ‘O oysters,’ said the carpenter, ‘you’ve had a pleasant run.’

CSNY is a discographer’s green maze of delight. You have the CSN albums proper (they actually released one in 1977), the alliances (Crosby-Nash, Stills-Young), the solo albums, the genealogy (Byrds, Hollies, Buffalo) and the cameos. Kind of a self-sustaining ecosystem of soft rock, really. In fact, it’s a pretty big world; so big that an album like Crosby-Nash Live naturally gets lost.

Discovering a cut-cornered copy in a record store (as I did) fills out a branch on the family tree with one more leaf. If you’re out on the same limb thinking it looks a little thin, Live may leaf you happier. The digitally remastered CD version even adds two tracks.

Now, little on Live is going to change your world. The versions of “The Leeshore” and “Déjà Vu” are great, and David Crosby doesn’t hack up a lung or anything, so it has to be counted a success on some level. Still, you wonder how many people really came here salivating to see the pair sing “Fieldworker” or “Foolish Man.” The Crosby-Nash catalog isn’t exactly a gold mine waiting for rediscovery, after all. It was a business partnership, one that spared many of us from having to wade through six mediocre albums from Crosby and Graham Nash individually instead of three collectively.

If you’ve waded this far out, Live is something of a reward. The musical interplay is more interesting on stage than in the studio, and if the vocals aren’t, the Crosby-Nash vocal dynamic was never that magical to begin with. Out ending on a preposition.

Original LP Version

A1. Immigration Man (Graham Nash)    (3:07)
A2. The Leeshore (David Crosby) (5:09)
A3. I Used To Be A King (Graham Nash) (4:26)
A4. Page 43 (David Crosby) (3:35)
A5. Fieldworker (Graham Nash) (3:11)
B1. Simple Man (Graham Nash) (2:44)
B2. Foolish Man (David Crosby) (4:33)
B3. Mama Lion (Graham Nash) (3:13)
B4. Déjà vu (David Crosby) (9:40)

Expanded CD reissue
1. Immigration Man
2. The Leeshore
3. I Used To Be A King
4. King of the Mountain
5. Page 43
6. Fieldworker
7. Simple Man
8. Foolish Man
9. Mama Lion
10. Déjà vu
11. Bittersweet

The Players

David Crosby (rhythm guitar, vocals), Graham Nash (rhythm guitar, piano, vocals), Craig Doerge (pianos, synthesizer, melodica), Tim Drummond (bass), Danny Kortchmar (lead guitars), Russell Kunkel (drums) and David Lindley (slide guitar, violin). Produced by David Crosby, Graham Nash, Don Gooch (remix engineer) and Stephen Barncard (remix engineer); Ray Thompson was the remote engineer.

The Pictures

Album design and art direction by Gary Burden (for R. Twerk & Co.); photography by Joel Bernstein (cover photo, band photo), Henry Diltz (back cover photo) and Marianna Diamos.

The Plastic

Originally released on elpee in November 1977* in the US (ABC, AA-1042), the UK (Polydor, 2310 565) and Japan (Polydor, MPF-1127) with picture innersleeve (gatefold cover in Japan). Reached #52 on the US charts. (*First appeared in 11/5/77 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-released on remastered compact disc in 2000 in the US (MCA, 811 205) with 2 bonus tracks.

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