Wednesday, July 9, 2014

David Crosby If Only I Could Remember My Name... 1971

David Crosby's solo debut has been hailed as a classic despite it's tepid initial sales and lackluster reviews. Today it stands as worthy, in some ways, of both the hype and the detractors.

There are vocal harmonies to die for, with Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell standing out. A fine blend of Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana members providing solid backing and a few great jams. There's Crosby's writing, and this record contains examples of his better work, as well as some of the more slight. Dead-styled jams with a particularly hot Jorma Kaukonen, and Crosby's own rhythm guitar style that is at least unique, and perhaps also outstanding, and which frequently defines the jammy songs. Trippy, wordless vocals on two whole songs.

It is very much of it's time today. But if you can get through Music Is Love's sappy sentiment, and you should, because the vocals and the arrangement are spectacular, then the rest of side one is solid. Side two is hard to take by most standards. There are of course beautiful vocals, but in the service of pretty weak material.

So one great side. Not bad, really, but not quite a classic. It was very well made, and the recording is very nice. And Crosby is an exceptional singer. The good stuff is worth it, at least for some. And then there's that rare mix of Garcia and Kaukonen playing guitar together.

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