Crosby, Stills & Nash: Crosby, Stills & Nash / Daylight Again

Michael Metivier

Two fine reissues from the seminal trio of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, not the seminal trio of Crosby, Etheridge, and Cypher. Sorry, had to.

Stills & Nash

Crosby, Stills & NashDaylight Again

Display Artist: Crosby, Stills & Nash
Label: Rhino
US Release Date: 2006-01-24
UK Release Date: 2006-01-23
Amazon affiliate

The high (pitched, that is) three-part harmonies of Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Graham Nash is one of the iconic sounds from the golden decade between 1965 and 1975. Note to Gen Xers: I know you'd rather vote for the Velvet Underground, but don't kid yourself -- VU might take you back to the debauchery of your college days, or even high school, but CSN takes you back before you were even born. And don't even get me started about CSNY. Already re-mastered and re-released in 1994, Rhino Records has shuttled forth their self-titled debut, and 1982's Daylight Again again, this time with extended liner notes and four bonus tracks apiece. The latter work doesn't come close to approaching the former for sheer essentiality, but if you're growing weary of the strained freak-folk of today, both records shall be your salve.

Expatriates from the already legendary Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and the Hollies, came together to form what is probably the most natural supergroup of all time. And their debut had the shine -- a flawless blend of folk, pop, lite-psychedelic, and just plain weirdness that prefigured the singer/songwriter boom to come for better or worse. "Wooden Ships", written by Crosby, Stills and the Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner (it's also featured on that band's Volunteers, is still groovy after all of these years, a cryptic tale alluding to war, apocalypse, silver people, and purple berries. The vocals alternate between a Crosby/Stills dialogue, and harmonies including Nash. The goofiness of the exchange "Say, can I have some of your purple berries? / Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks / Haven't got sick once" is offset by the ensuing couplet "Horror grips us as we watch you die / All we can do is echo your anguished cries" and the focus of the instrumental passages. Nash's "Lady of the Island" follows, as simple and direct as "Wooden Ships" is hazy and chaotic. The story is thus: man and woman do it by firelight until the sun goes up. Now, there are a million ways that a pretty little folk song could go wrong by that, and a million pretty little folk songs have, but "Lady of the Island" is appropriately delicate and in earnest. It stays remarkably away from the tried and trite, and its guitar and vocal arrangements are strange and evocative.

Over 35 years after the fact, the idiosyncrasy of CSN's sound is what stands out the most when pulled out from under thick layers of nostalgia. Merging a wide range of influences from Eastern to country and Western, nothing sounded quite like them before, and with the exception of "Horse With No Name", no one really has since. The epic "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" is a wonder, maybe the shortest seven-minute song on record. Everyone you know can sing at least part of it, from "I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are" to "What have you got to lose", or at least "Do-do-do-do-do / Do-do-do-do-do." The song goes through several musical and lyrical transformations without wasting a second. And as mentioned earlier, it's weird, starting out conversational "It's getting to the point / Where I'm no fun anymore / I am sorry" and ending with the purple poetry of "Lacy lilting lyric / Losing love lamenting." It's folk music that doesn't sound remotely like folk, and pop music that breaks all the rules to go skinny-dipping.

Fast-forward to 1982, and well, some things have changed, as a cursory glance at the artwork of Daylight Again shows. Earthy and disheveled has been replaced by slightly paunchy and quasi-mulleted (and one unfairly cute cat sitting on Crosby's shoulder). Jabba the Hutt's palace somehow made it to the cover, surrounded by neon blue ceiling lights masquerading as UFO's. The opening track also betrays a certain temporal influence, with synthesizers and a guitar solo that can only be described as sizzlin', to use the parlance of the times. All of this proves my theory that no one escaped the eighties unscathed or without a smidgen of bad judgment. But to be fair, Daylight Again is no Bowie/Jagger "Dancin' in the Street" trainwreck. And it sure as hell ain't Everybody's Rockin' either. Much of the record retains the best qualities of CSN, even if Crosby was largely absent from the proceedings, and many of the tracks were written with outside collaborators.

Nash's "Wasted on the Way" features country fiddling by Wayne Goodwin, and apropos lyrics about growing old and "so much water moving underneath the bridge", referencing the much publicized schisms between the band's members over the years. Stills' "Southern Cross" is another standout, albeit with a beefy '80s-style big chorus, and Michael Finnegan playing something called a "CP-30", which only serves to fertilize the already ripe Star Wars conspiracy theories surrounding the album. Crosby contributed "Delta", an autumnal, piano-based harmony-fest whose only crimes are, again, doddering and over-the-top production moves. Paradoxically, although Daylight Again evokes its time and place as surely as its predecessors, it somehow evaded the timelessness of those earlier compositions and recordings. As Crosby put it himself, "For whatever reasons, I think you get very few records... which you can put on 20 years later and they still hold up. To this day, that first album comes on, and you don't want to take it off or skip a tune. That's the ultimate test."

Both reissues feature extensive notes and credits written by the likes of Atlantic Records guru Ahmet Ertegun, David Wild, and David Fricke, that shed light on the origins and sessions of each. They're also assigned four bonus tracks as a value incentive for fans who might already own a copy or two, as is the norm. As with the albums proper, the earlier tunes are of most interest. "Song With No Words" and a bare-bones demo of "Teach Your Children", which would later appear on a Crosby solo album and Deja Vu respectively, take the cake.


So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.