Sunday, November 10, 2013

Punctuation: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

CSNY: Almost Cut My Hair

What do The Hollies, The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield have in common aside from the fact that they were all successful bands in the mid to late sixties? The answer, of course, is: they were spawning grounds for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (sometimes referred to as CSNY – but that moniker doesn’t highlight the punctuation necessitated by this week’s theme)

1970’s Déjà Vu, the first album with all 4, followed on the eponymous CSN album from 1969. With the exception of “Woodstock” (written by Joni Mitchell), all songs on the album were written by band members. My favorite of their albums, Déjà Vu’s vocal work showcases the height of their harmony. Sadly, throughout the band’s existence, interpersonal dis-harmony was an issue. History has it that even by the release of Déjà Vu, the band had already broken up for all intents and purposes. Dominant individuals all, right from the start, Neil Young had a contract that allowed him to pursue work with his Crazy Horse band and Graham Nash was more or less on loan to Atlantic courtesy of some David Geffen finesse.  In fact, the band’s name itself is indicative of the members’ assertiveness: no one leader, no collaborative name.

The band was equated with protest during the Vietnam war era. The song “Ohio” specifically focused on the killings at Ohio State following anti-war protests. And “Almost Cut My Hair”, waves the “freak flag” proudly. Do compare the 70’s photo at the top with the visual in the clip below: more or less Crosby's current appearance .
I'm not givin' in an inch to fear
If you're thinkin' "KKafa ... Deja Vu", you may be right:

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