...its still great to feel the warmth of two old flames rekindled...
Rob Webb 2004-10-04
David Crosby and Graham Nash, two-thirds of Crosby, Stills and Nash, began writing and playing together 36 years ago and their brand of mellow harmony became one of rock's trademarks. Together and apart they have had circuitous careers since, taking in drug rehab and political activism (in the case of Crosby) and photography (Nash is a digital imaging pioneer). Their last album together was the mid-Seventies Wind on the Water. Now, more than thirty years later, comes another, simply titled Crosby-Nash.
"Lay Me Down" is a low-key opener to what is a pretty laid-back album. Coming from the pen of Crosby's son and fellow musician, James Raymond, it chugs over the points like the Marrakesh Express, tackling the curves at a leisurely pace. More purposeful, "Puppeteer", also by Raymond is - melodically, at least - pitched somewhere between Neil Young and Britpop: a plunging, Beatleseque chord progression, brash harmonies and a raw piano riff.
"Through Here Quite Often", by Crosby and Dean Parks, is a real pearl: a beautiful, touching story of a man who stops off at a roadside diner now and again for coffee, and wonders what the waitress is thinking as she polishes the spoons. It's a scene from an Edward Hopper painting and C&N at their best: intimate tellers of tales, with an eye for the detail, just this side of twee.
On "Jesus Of Rio", the Blackpool-born Nash soars like the Angel of the North. The song could be by Prefab Sprout - in much the same way as Paddy McAloon, Nash has a particularly intimate, tender way of phrasing; his voice wrapped like felt around the plucked acoustic chords.
The gently wistful "I Surrender", "Luck Dragon" and "On The Other Side Of Town" keep up the momentum, the latter, written for Nash's son 25 years ago, sounding like a dropped leaf from the Jimmy Webb songbook. "Half Your Angels", another Nash song, hits all the black notes. The Crosby-composed rocker "They Want It All", about Enron and corporate greed, and the reflective "How Does It Shine?" complete the first disc.
The second disc is the lesser of the two, but it has its moments. The highlights are the swaying rocker, "Don't Dig Here", "Penguin InA Palm Tree" and "Michael". Over-stretched as a double album, perhaps, butit's still great to feel the warmth of two old flames rekindled.