Still Crosby After All These Years.
The 80s for David Crosby kind of sucked it as decades go. There was the heroin bust and subsequent prison time (1982), the drunk driving hit and run (1985) and CSN&Y’s American Dream (1988 and arguably the greater of the three crimes). So the decision to release his first solo album in almost 20 years in 1989 must have elicited a reflexive flinch from even his own fan base. And yet Oh Yes I Can is actually a pretty good album. Crosby and the usual suspects (Craig Doerge, Russ Kunkel, Joe Lala, David Lindley, Danny Kortchmar) put together the kind of record you would have expected from the man BEFORE all of the arrests and innuendo. Crosby’s voice is in better shape that I expected and his songwriting is solid: “Oh Yes I Can,” “Lady of the Harbor,” “Tracks In The Dust” and “Drive My Car” prove that the man still has something to say. He also gets some help from friends like James Taylor, Michael Hedges, Graham Nash, John David Souther, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt; people like that are either going to show up for a funeral or a good album, and it’s the latter this time. Like his first solo album (the name of which escapes me at the moment), Crosby mixes cranky rock songs with complex harmonies, a mixture of earth and sky. After the last couple of Zombie, Stills & Nash albums, Oh Yes I Can is the affirmation that Crosby was alive and, well, still capable of making good music. Honestly, at this stage in his career a pulse would have been considered a comeback, so we’ll call it a welcome back instead.
Original LP Version
A1. Drive My Car (David Crosby) (3:34)
A2. Melody (David Crosby/Craig Doerge) (4:07)
A3. Monkey And The Underdog (David Crosby/Craig Doerge) (4:15)
A4. In The Wide Ruin (Craig Doerge/Judy Henske) (4:47)
A5. Tracks In The Dust (David Crosby) (4:27)
B1. Drop Down Mama (David Crosby) (3:06)
B2. Lady of the Harbor (David Crosby/Craig Doerge) (3:19)
B3. Distances (David Crosby) (3:35)
B4. Flying Man (David Crosby/Craig Doerge) (3:24)
B5. Oh Yes I Can (David Crosby) (5:08)
B6. My Country ‘Tis of Thee (Traditional arr. by Michael Hedges) (1:58)
David Crosby (vocals, guitar), Kim Bullard (synthesizer), Craig Doerge (synthesizer, 816 Rhodes, piano), Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Russ Kunkel (drums, percussion), Joe Lala (percussion), Steve Lukather (guitar), Graham Nash (vocals, electric piano), George Perry (bass), Leland Sklar (bass), Joe Vitale (drums, organ) with Jackson Browne (vocals on track 4), Larry Carlton (guitar on track 9), Tim Drummond (bass on track 6), Dan Dugmore (slide guitar on track 6), Mike Finnigan (organ), Gary Grant (horns), Michael Hedges (guitar, vocals), Jerry Hey (horns), Kim S. Hutchcroft (horns), Jim Keltner (drums on track 6), Kenny Kirkland (electric piano on track 8), Mike Landau (guitar on track 7), David Lindley (slide guitar on track 1), Bonnie Raitt (vocals on track 7), John David Souther (vocals on track 11), James Taylor (vocals on track 10), Lawrence I. Williams (horns). Produced by David Crosby, Craig Doerge and Stanley Johnston except “Distances” produced by David Crosby, Ron Albert and Howard Albert. Engineered and mixed by Stanley Johnston except “Distances” engineered by Steve Gursky and “Drive My Car” mixed by Niko Bolas. Stephen Barncard, Jay Parti and Geery Lentz provided additional recording. The album was recorded in several studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles and Miami.
The album was designed by Gary Burden of R. Twerk & Co. (art direction) and Caroline Balog (art production). Jay Parti shot the front cover photograph, Henry Diltz is credited with the old back cover photograph and Aaron Rapoport shot the inner sleeve photo (presumably for the elpee, since there is no inner sleeve photo on the CD).
Released on elpee, cassette and compact disc on January 23, 1989 in the US and Canada (A&M, SP/CS/CD 5232); reached #104 on the US charts.