Eat A Peach! (Godfather Records GR521/522)
Civic Center, Providence, RI – July 7th, 1976
Disc 1 (77:47): Electric Set; Love The One You’re With, The Loner, Helpless, For What It’s Worth, Long May You Run, Black Queen, Southern Man. Acoustic Set; Sugar Mountain, Midnight On The Bay, After The Goldrush, Word Game, 49 Bye-Byes, Circling, 49 Bye-Byes, Treetop Flyer
Disc 2 (57:04): Blackbird, Heart Of Gold, Ohio. Electric Set; band introductions, Buyin’ Time, Let It Shine, Make Love To You, Cowgirl In The Sand, Mr. Soul, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
One of the strangest and misconceived permutations of the Crosby, Still, Nash and Young community was the Steven Stills and Neil Young pairing in 1976. On the surface it seemed to be a good idea to see the two old Buffalo Springfield members playing together and making music. If Crosby and Nash could find success as duo, then perhaps the other two CSNY members could as well.
However, Stills and Young were the more stubborn of the two and this project seemed doomed from the start. The liner notes for Eat A Peach! give a good summary of the events when it states: “1976 is the year when Young undertakes a majestic tour with Crazy Horse; guests at The Band’s all-star farewell concerts; and acquires a reputation for utter unpredictability by preparing a three-album retrospective of his career, and then cancelling the project just before the proposed release date.
“But one event -or rather non-event- dominated the year, and comes close to undercutting Young’s improved media profile since 1973. As promised, he teams up with Stephen Stills for an album, and then a tour. But both ventures end in farce. Midway through the sessions for Long May You Run, Young invites David Crosby & Graham Nash to add vocals and songs: the second CSNY studio album was, it seemed, a reality.
“Instead, Crosby & Nash have some unfinished duet business of their own to complete. During what is supposed to be an absence of days rather than months, Stills & Young elect to wipe their friends’ contributions from the tapes, and revert to their original concept. This single action splits CSNY down the middle, to the point that the four men don’t record again as a unit for more than a decade.
“Worse still, the Stills/Young Band’s album is a stale, lacklustre affair, easily outclassed by the Crosby/Nash record issued at the same time. A few sparks of the old Buffalo Springfield/CSNY fire are rekindled when Stills & Young go out on the road. But Young is still suffering with his throat and, more vitally, with his spirit. Midway through the schedule, he drives home rather than to the next gig, abandoning Stills without a hint of apology.”
Young left a note for Stills which read: “Dear Stephen, funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat A Peach. Neil.”
Godfather utilize an excellent sounding audience recording of the show. Like all other Lampinski tapes, this captures the warmth and dynamics of the perfectly. There is a very small cut at 4:50 in “Sugar Mountain” but otherwise is complete. Providence is the longest show on this tour and this tape comes close to being its definitive statement.
The show is structured to emphasize their solo songs, CSNY hits and a few of the new songs written for Long May You Run, their project together. The begins with one of their most recognizable CSNY era songs “Love The One You’re With” followed by “The Loner” with Young and Stills trading both verses and guitar solos. The signature Buffalo Springfield tune “For What It’s Worth” is given a mid-seventies Neil Young overhaul with distorted feedback in the guitar passages.
Young introduces “Long May You Run,” the title track from the unreleased new album, as about his car. The opening electric set closes with a nine minute run-through of “Southern Man.” Young’s vocals have never sounded so screechy. Young begins the acoustic set with several tunes. “Sugar Mountain” is marred by very loud firecrackers. The new song “Midnight On The Bay” is also interrupted by firecrackers. “Please don’t do that … I didn’t hear any firecrackers that night” Young jokes. “Let’s try to turn off the explosions for the next hundred years. Meanwhile, back at the bay.”
There is quite a bit of commotion when Stills begins his acoustic set. There is a large hue and cry causing him to stop playing “Word Game” and say: “when you are through, I will play.” The rest goes without a hitch. The audience beg for “49 Bye-Byes” and get an arrangement that segues into “Circling.” He sings The Beatles “BlackBird,” saying it is a song “I wish I’d written. It’s okay cause I get to sing it.” Young comes onstage and they sing “Heart Of Gold” and an acoustic arrangement of “Ohio.”
The final electric set is somewhat of a letdown after the emotional high. They play “Let It Shine” from the new album Long May You Run but Young is dismissive of it, saying afterwards “if you like that then you like a different kind of music than I like. That was alright but we don’t hit it every time.” Closing the set are an eleven minute “Cowgirl In The Sand” and the goldie but moldy “Mr. Soul.”
The only encore is a fast, electric arrangement of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” the signature CSNY song from early in their career. Long May You Run was an Stills – Young project but was close to becoming a CSNY when the others participated in the recording. It didn’t and their contributions were erased from the tape, but the encore is a reminder of what could have been. Nevertheless this is a fertile period for both musicians and Eat A Peach! is a fantastic sounding and packaged document of the turbulent era.