Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young … And So It Goes, In Studio & On Stage (Godfather Records GR 595)

… And So It Goes, In Studio & On Stage (Godfather Records GR 595)

( 73:08) Human Highway / Prison Song / See The Changes / Little Blind Fish / Hawaiian Sunrise / It’s All Right / First Things First / Carry me / Long May You Run / And So It Goes / Myth Of Sisyphus / Time After Time / Love Art Blues / My Angel / Pushed It Over The End / My Favorite Changes / Traces / Home Fires / Human Highway. 

David Crosby: “I don’t mind people taping shows and I feel the same as the Dead about that and the tapes trees, it’s when they sell them in stores as regular product and we get nothing and you get bad quality art with my name selling it, that doesn’t seem fair .. people who love trading music for another music: can’t be anything wrong with that, except the record companies hate it and fuck them.” David, you may want to cover your ears again but not your eyes .. 

This release from the esteemed Godfather collects together rehearsals & tracks from the newly reconvened CSN&Y bands 1974 tour after the fractious relationships that more or less killed the Human Highway LP project had been put aside for a planned, money spinning, tour of the United States set up by concert impresario extraordinaire Bill Graham of the Fillmore fame & organiser of last years Bob Dylan ‘return’ tour. The idea was that the band would play an elongated set compiled of older tracks & album favorites.

Most of the tracks are live tracks from the 1974 shows in slightly varying quality – Although nothing gets any less than a “good audience”. The studio tracks are as good as can be expected. 

Highlights from the CD are – “Human Highway” the first track which was recorded at Criteria Studios, Miami, FL, April 16th, 1976. This was to be the title track to the fated album that never was. Originally released in truncated form on The Godfathers “Neil Young – ‘Chrome Dreams’ ( G.R. 253 )” the track stresses the trials & tribulations of modern life in the 1970’s & how the world spend behind the scenes is usually preferable. The track is enhanced by a delicate steel guitar part & pulls stunning harmonies out from the players. The fact that it is a could-have-been-but-never-was is a real shame. It won’t breathe much more life in to the CSNY story for never having been released by the band as the rest of the catalogue stands so strong but that it was shunted to one side through the collapse of relationships.   

“See The Changes” – Recorded at Broken Arrow in 1974 – it wouldn’t see the light until the “CSN” album of 1977. Written by Stephen Stills it’s roundly CSNY sound & harmonies are a joy to hear. Through the efficient guitar work & sloping steel guitar there’s a brilliant sunny groove that sounds like an open topped cruise through America.   

“Little Blind Fish” – Recorded at Broken Arrow, June 1974 – Unreleased until 1998 on the “CPR” album. A rugged & tough sounding jam that was written by David Crosby but is attributed to all of the participants. A lazy, psyched solo in the middle punctuates the track perfectly while the pulsating backbone draws the track along. 

“Hawaiian Sunrise” Written by Neil Young – Recorded live at Roosevelt Raceway, Westbury, NY, September 8, 1974 –  it’s ukulele styled strum sounds like a departure from everything else that Neil had written at this time – This very possibly explains why it remains unreleased to this date.    

“First Things First” – Recorded live at Roosevelt Raceway, Westbury, NY, September 8, 1974 – Written by Stephen Stills & is Stills by numbers – a sea-sawing rhythm, obligatory rousing chorus & clattering percussion. Just for good measure he throws in Spanish lyrics too. Reminiscent of most of Stills’ work during his Manassas phase his political influence is stamped heavily throughout.  

“Long May You Run” – Recorded live at Roosevelt Raceway, Westbury, NY, September 8, 1974 – Already famous now but premiered only this year, Neil’s title track from the “Long May You Run” album sung after Neil states “I’m having a lot of trouble making up my mind tonight .. ” but he settles on this sweet ode to his car. Rather than when Neil played it at, say, the Borderline the sweet harmonies of the rest of the group fetch a pleasant addition to the whole song. Towards the end Neil begins to play with the tempo to confusion from his band mates but maybe that’s just Neil being Neil ..  

“And So It Goes” – Winterland, San Fransisco, CA, October 4, 1973 – A Graham Nash penned song which, again, sounds like only he could have written it. The lyrics veer towards a british style of writing ( No one in American rock would use the word ‘seaside’. ) The ponderous guitar & piano lines are grooveable enough but the chorus is magnificently singable ( If only Stephen can lean it before the end! )  

“Time After Time” – Recorded live at Roosevelt Raceway, Westbury, NY, September 8, 1974 – A David Crosby track that’s described as a “new love song” that “we don’t have any choice about (singing ) new songs, they just bubble to the top”. Slowly dreamy & spare the track has a lot of breathing space & although David sounds like he’s having a high old time then he’s perfectly coordinated when delivering & allows his voice to glide along the air above.  

“Love Art Blues” recorded live at Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA, July 9, 1974 – Another, still unreleased, Neil Young composition. Following the feel of the “Harvest” album ( indeed as this was Neil prolific era then it could be a remnant from that album polished off for the hell of it. ) This country styled tune could have slotted right in to any of Neil’s country output with no problems. Now that the Buffalo Springfield reunion has been stoked then could a CSNY re commencement be next?   

“Pushed It Over The End” – Recorded live at Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA, July 9, 1974 – Harder sounding including one of Neil’s scruffy, latent solos. This track, the longest on the CD at over 8 minutes, plods along but never meanders. It’s concrete strong chorus could be the only thing that falters as it’s not quite made for harmonies but by some divine twist it’s pulled back from messy dredge. 

“My Favorite Changes” – Recorded live at Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA, July 9, 1974 – A Stephen Stills track that would appear a year after this performance on the ‘Stills’ album is another electric rocker & highly energetic with a strong Beatles influence. The lyrics seem to be about Stephen’s favorite chord changes but then seem to change more towards the romantic & Stephen sings about the woman that he left at home.  

“Home Fires” – Stadium, Tampa, FL, August 23, 1974 – Follows the part of “Love Art Blues” – Another country styled, plodding track. It would appear to be unfinished hence it’s scarcely-over-two-minutes running time but it wouldn’t be unlike Neil to throw something in that he had roundly finished before until deciding that he wanted to play something else instead.   

“Human Highway” – Recorded live at Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA, July 9, 1974 – A live version of the track from the beginning. Roughly recorded with a variable amount of crowd noise but with bigger, bolder, more swooning harmonies. After finishing the rendition Neil announces “We’re going to move a little closer here .. Because we’re going to be here for a while, y’know .. ” before David Crosby goes on to announce they have a new song written after receiving a letter from someone who was given 10 years for smoking pot. We never quite hear the resulting ‘Prison Song’ in question ( Not in it’s live incarnation anyway .. ) so it’s a mystery as to why the tape wasn’t faded right down after Neil’s comment ( Retrospectively, the band wouldn’t be sticking around for much long afterwards & would end up in rupture. ) but it’s a small niggle for an otherwise intelligently & diligently put together compilation. 

The trifold sleeve is another beautiful production. Guy Peellaert’s artwork adorns the cover which has the look of a frayed & torn picture taped to a wooden wall ( A theme that continues throughout. ) The rest of the package features Rolling Stone magazine covers, tickets & stage shots & also includes a 4 page booklet with a fully annotated tracklist including recording dates & the subsequent album that the track appeared on ( If it ever did. )  

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