[Review] David Crosby/Graham Nash: Wind On The Water (1975)

The continuing adventures of Crosby and Nash yield another gold record, backed by The Mighty Jitters.

CroNaMyth 2.0: Wild twhales and one wacky wabbit.

The pair’s second project together produced another gold record and a minor hit in Crosby’s “Carry Me.” Although nothing on here is as catchy as “Southbound Train,” it’s still a solid effort, buoyed by excellent playing and some good material from Crosby (“Low Down Payment,” “Homeward Through The Haze”). The songs from Nash are crankier this time and less satisfying, with “Mama Lion” being the best of his bits (the album smartly leads off with its two best tracks). A pair of songs credited to Crosby and Nash together are also highlights and invite the closest comparison to the work of CSN: “Naked In The Rain” and “To The Last Whale.”

Listening to this record, I’m often reminded of Steely Dan. The songwriting isn’t nearly as strong, but the backing band (The Mighty Jitters) does a great job of adding the right touches to the music. “Bittersweet” and “Homeward Through The Haze,” for example, might have dissipated into nothing if not for the flesh-and-blood arrangements of the band. Crosby and Nash also call in a few favors with guest appearances from Jackson Browne, Levon Helm, Carole King and James Taylor. None of them feature prominently in the music, but you can’t help but be impressed.

The closing “To The Last Whale” is arguably the most ambitious thing that the pair have tried together. It starts with a kind of plainchant opening (“Critical Mass”), then shifts into the title track, which seeks to save the whale by song and remains one of my favorite Crosby/Nash moments. It’s certainly not a perfect record and not on a par with the best of CSN, but Wind On The Water promises smooth sailing for Crosby/Nash fans.

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Original LP Version

A1. Carry Me (David Crosby) (3:34)
A2. Mama Lion (Graham Nash) (3:15)
A3. Bittersweet (David Crosby) (2:37)
A4. Take The Money And Run (Graham Nash) (3:23)
A5. Naked In The Rain (David Crosby/Graham Nash) (2:25)
A6. Love Work Out (Graham Nash) (4:50)
B1. Low Down Payment (David Crosby) (4:53)
B2. Cowboy of Dreams (Graham Nash) (3:27)
B3. Homeward Through The Haze (David Crosby) (4:04)
B4. Fieldworker (Graham Nash) (2:45)
B5. To The Last Whale: A. Critical Mass / B. Wind On The Water (David Crosby/Graham Nash) (5:30)

Compact Disc Reissue Bonus Tracks
12. Little Miss Bright Eyes (Stephen Stills)
13. Gentle Thing (Stephen Stills)
14. Being Happy That’s Changin’ (Stephen Stills)

The Players

David Crosby (vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, piano), Graham Nash (vocals, electric guitar, piano, organ, congas), Joel Bernstein (acoustic guitar, vocals), Craig Doerge (piano, electric piano, organ), Tim Drummond (bass), Danny Kootch (electric guitar), Russ Kunkel (drums, percussion), David Lindley (slide guitar, fiddle), Leland Sklar (bass) with Jackson Browne (vocals on A6), Stan Celeste (electric piano on B4), Jimmie Haskell (string arrangement & conductor on B5), Levon Helm (drums on B4), Ben Keith (electric slide guitar on B4), Carole King (electric organ on A3, piano & harmony on B3), Sid Sharp (orchestra leader on B5), James Taylor (acoustic guitar on A1, acoustic guitar & harmony on B5). Produced by David Crosby & Graham Nash; engineered by Don Gooch and Stephen Barncard.

The Pictures

Art direction and design by Gary Burden for R.Twerk & Co. Photography by Joel Bernstein (front cover & inside sleeve) and Bob Hammer (back cover).

The Plastic

Released on elpee and 8-track on September 15, 1975 in the US (ABC, ABCD-902), the UK (Polydor, 2310 428/3801 184) and Japan (Polydor, MP-2515) with lyric sleeve; reached #6 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record). The US 8-track and cassette were released by Atlantic (TP 18182).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in the US (MCA, MCA-37007) and Taiwan (First, FL-2631).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (MCA, MCAD-31251).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc in 1991 in the UK (Magnum, CDTB 128) with different cover.
  4. Re-issued on compact disc on December 6, 2001 (Prism) with different cover.
  5. Re-released as Magic Collection on compact disc in the Netherlands (Arc, MEC-949005).
  6. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 2001 in the UK (Eureka, EURCD 409) with 3 bonus tracks and different cover.
  7. Re-issued on elpee in 2016 in the US (Invisible Hands, IH 67) with different cover.

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