[Review] Graham Nash/David Crosby (1972)

The famous pair pool their talents for a solid collection of new songs that suggests the better halves of their solo albums combined.

CronNaMyth 1.0: Two out of three isn’t half bad.

After the initial flurry of CS&N solo albums, none of which mercifully featured tin pan alley standards or 30 minutes of therapeutic wailing, Graham Nash and David Crosby decided to re-form as a duo with the support of a band of session players dubbed The Mighty Jitters: Craig Doerge (keyboards), Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar (guitar), Russell Kunkel (drums) and Leland Sklar (bass). The results on Graham Nash/David Crosby were good enough to sustain the pair’s commercial momentum, going gold soon after its release and generating two singles including the Top 40 “Immigration Man,” which could be seen as a cross between The Beatles’ “The Ballad of John & Yoko” (thematically) and “Taxman” (musically and especially in Greg Reeves’ insistent bass track). Rather than re-create the soaring harmonies of CS&N, however, this reunion essentially amounts to half of a solo album each from Crosby and Nash shuffled together.

Nash’s contributions favor the Bob Dylan/Beatles sound set forward on earlier songs like “Our House” (in fact, “Strangers Room,” originally written in 1969, sounds like that song filtered through Traffic), while Crosby’s songs suggest a male Joni Mitchell: jazzy and mysterious and troubled. Over their careers, many of these songs would be counted among their best: “Southbound Train,” “Page 43,” “The Wall Song,” “Immigration Man,” “Strangers Room.” The financial motivation for such a merger can’t be discounted, yet Graham Nash/David Crosby remains one of the most gratifying extracurricular outings from the CS&N axis, a snapshot of two artists still at their peak. Crosby and Nash were happy enough with the result to repeat the experiment in the mid 70s and even tour together, though neither Wind On The Water nor Whistling Down The Wire matched the success of their first.

Read more Crosby & Nash reviews

Original LP Version

A1. Southbound Train (Graham Nash) (3:54)
A2. Whole Cloth (David Crosby) (4:35)
A3. Blacknotes (Graham Nash) (0:58)
A4. Strangers Room (Graham Nash) (2:28)
A5. Where Will I Be? (David Crosby) (3:22)
A6. Page 43 (David Crosby) (2:56)
B1. Frozen Smiles (Graham Nash) (2:17)
B2. Games (David Crosby) (4:02)
B3. Girl To Be On My Mind (Graham Nash) (3:27)
B4. The Wall Song (David Crosby)   (4:37)
B5. Immigration Man (Graham Nash) (3:02)

The Players

David Crosby (vocals, guitars), Graham Nash (vocals, piano, organ, acoustic guitar, harmonica), Craig Doerge (piano, electric piano, organ), Danny Kootch (Kortchmar) (lead guitar), Russell Kunkel (drums) and Leland Sklar (bass) with Dana Africa (flute on A5), Johnny Barbata (drums on A1 & B5), David Duke (French horn on A4), Chris Etheridge (bass on A1), Jerry Garcia (steel guitar on A1, lead guitar on B4), Billy Kreutzman (Kreutzmann) (drums on B4), Phil Lesh (bass on B4), Arthur Maebe (French horn on track A4), David Mason (lead guitar on track B5), George Price (French horn on track A4) and Greg Reeves (bass on track B5). Produced by David Crosby, Graham Nash and Bill Halverson; engineered by Bill Halverson and Doc Storch.

The Pictures

Album design by Tom Wilkes for Camouflage Productions. Photography by Robert Hammer (front cover) and Joel Bernstein (back and inside).

The Plastic

Originally released on elpee on April 5, 1972 in the US (Atlantic, SD 7220), UK (Atlantic K 50011) and Japan (Atlantic, P-8174A); reached #4 on the US charts (RIAA certified gold on May 30, 1972) and #13 on the UK charts. The original elpee featured a lyric innersleeve and a diecut cover with a unique trifold that, when unfolded, left the image of Crosby and Nash on the back cover (thus, what initially appears to be the pair waving hello is revealed to be the pair waving goodbye).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in the UK (Atlantic, K 50011) as a standard gatefold cover without the diecut.
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in 1998 in Japan (Atlantic, AMCY-2903).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *