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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Crosby � If I Could Only Remember My Name
This was released in February 1971 and probably means more to me than almost any other record. I like it so much I write sad liner notes for people.
It was Crosby's first solo album, although "solo" is a bit of a misnomer since almost all the musical alumni of California appeared on it - Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia and Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Kantner, Slick...
Published on 16 April 2003 by Peter Loosley

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Crosby's highly regarded album
More erudite Crosby fans and critics have written reviews on this album. Although I have albums by the Byrds, Crosby and Nash, CSNY but this album was one of the links in Crosby's music journey I did not have - it does not disappoint yet to me does not quite match the level of critical appreciation it has been given - I may alter this opinion after more plays however
Published 4 months ago by ROBERT PAUL HINXMAN


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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Crosby � If I Could Only Remember My Name, 16 April 2003
This review is from: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Audio CD)
This was released in February 1971 and probably means more to me than almost any other record. I like it so much I write sad liner notes for people.
It was Crosby's first solo album, although "solo" is a bit of a misnomer since almost all the musical alumni of California appeared on it - Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia and Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Kantner, Slick and Cassady from the Airplane and, of course, Stills, Nash and Young.
It was reviewed at the time by Richard Williams in the MM who said it was dull, boring and unimaginative. He is now a sports feature writer for the Times.
Some notes on the tracks:-
1. Music is Love
Basic track was laid down by Crosby messing about in the studio. Nash and Young stole the tape and over-dubbed harmonies and additional instruments.
2. Cowboy Movie
This is a sort of Chanson a Clef. All the characters in the song refer to real people. Crosby is "Fat Albert", Stills is "Eli", Young is "the Duke" and Nash is "Young Billy". Rita Coolidge is the "Indian Girl". Route one bass from Phil Lesh and good old-fashioned jamming from Garcia, Young and Kaukonen.
3. Tamalpais High (at about 3 in the afternoon)
You'd be forgiven for thinking that this relates to some area of outstanding natural beauty. It actual refers to being outside a girls high-school at going-home time. But a beautiful "song".
4. Laughing
My favourite and a 1st choice Desert Island Disc. Shows off Crosby's voice. Great pedal steel from Garcia and bass from Phil Lesh. Garcia has said that his own playing on this album was some of his finest work. Brilliant accoustic guitar sound.
5. What are their Names?
Song speaks for itself - quite relevant today I suppose. Done "live "in the studio. Great build-up and guitars from the same three as above.
6. Traction in the Rain
Possibly the least gripping song on the album, but pleasant enough.
7. Song with no Words - Tree with No Leaves
Nash added the tree with no leaves bit. Apparently the guitars have slightly different tuning to normal - A's tuned to B and other stuff that I don't understand. Nice electric guitar from Garcia
8. Orleans
Re-arrangement of a traditional French Song with lots of guitar harmonics etc
9. I'd Swear There was Somebody Here
Crosby's girlfriend had just been killed in a crash taking their cats to the Vet in Crosby's VW bus. He did this as a requiem. Six overdubbed a capella tracks with echo, improvised in the studio. Slightly creepy, but he had a voice.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool, Calm & Collected Dream!, 13 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Audio CD)
Of all the CSNY related solo albums, this one conjures up a mood of relaxing bliss. Crosby surrounded himself with some of the best talent available to him, e.g. Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Jerry Garcia, Greg Rollie, Graham Nash & more - and recored an album that sought inspiration from his late love, Christine Hinton. Songs Like 'Talampis High' & 'Song With No Words' are beautiful chants set to music which spawned later works on albums like 'Wind On The Water.' Equally, the accoustic matra-like 'Music Is Love' balances it well, together with the electric guitar epic 'Cowboy Movie.' The chilled out 'Laughing' and 'Traction In The Rain' are pieces which bring create a quiet & gentle atmosphere. Along with the built up mass chorus of 'What Are Their Names,' the harmonies of 'Orleans' and the stunning wordless singing employed on the album's finale 'I'd Swear There Was Someone Here' shows an amazing album which offers so much more then is at first realised.
Crosby's solo sucess is a discovery into a forgotten paradise.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it again, 29 Dec 2006
By 
I reviewed this a good while ago (still there - see the older version of the disc) and I stand by everything I said then about this marvellous rag-bag of an album except for three things:-

1. Jerry Garcia apparently played both lead parts on Cowboy movie - Crosby says so and he was there (well,sort of)

2. Stills wasn't on it at all of course &

3. Richard Williams worked for the Grauniad and not the Times.

But the point of this is to say that however many previous versions of this you may have, do buy this one. The HDCD re-mastering provides staggering levels of resolution, detail and feel that I wouldn't have thought possible. Listening to this on a really good system is about as good as it gets. Anybody know why the pictures of Jorma Kaukonen and Grace Slick have been changed in the new booklet by the way?

Peter Loosley
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Crosby, 15 Sep 2005
By 
Gill (Cheshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Audio CD)
I've read all the reviews here and I can't match them for their musical expertise, all I can offer is my emotional reaction to this album - you won't get better classic Crosby than this, quirky, brilliant, varied, takes a couple of plays to really get into it and after that it will be one of your favourite albums. Buy it!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Only David Crosby had kept away from drugs, 17 Nov 2006
By 
Mr. A. W. Riggs "bernard shakey" (Wallington, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Virtually ignored on its release 30 odd years ago, and now widely recognised as one of the very best solo releases from the CSNY wagon.

Joined by a host of guests, Crosby is at his innovative best - he never reached these peaks again but at least he and his voice are still with us.

An essential purchase, this expanded version serves to highlight this lost masterpiece.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, 15 Aug 2006
This review is from: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Audio CD)
Had this album for years and cant explain why its considered obscure, it should be well known. One of the most beautiful albums I've heard, above anything CSN/+Y have done, together or solo. Just the tune 'Laughing' is enough in itself.

And the guest list on this is huge! N.Young,Stills,Mitchell, JackCassidy,Slick, JerryGarcia, it goes on!!

You cant say you're into west coast if you aint got it.

Its up there alongside the greats!

Geddit!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked, 7 Nov 2003
This review is from: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Audio CD)
This record is in my opinion, one of the most under-rated records made during the Golden Age of the 1960/70's. Together with Gerry Garcia/Joni Mitchell (her vocals on 'Laughing are unreal) Neil Young amongst others, Crosby swoons with an authenticity not heard from many since. Not long after it all went wrong, but for now, it was just fine.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of the post-hippie era, 3 Sep 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Audio CD)
David Crosby, The former member of the Byrds, can claim to be inventor of acid-rock, raga-rock and space-rock. 'If I Could Only Remember My Name' (1971), is an album that spiritually and physically evokes the resigned naturalist idyll of the Bay Area where Crosby and many other like-minded musician's spent much of their time.

The musician's who worked on the album included Kaukonen, Slick, Casady and Kantner of Jefferson Airplane, Garcia, Leisha, Kreutzmann and Hart of Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash and many others.
The creative influence of these brilliant musician's is tangible, but the sound created is nevertheless 'neutral' and not comparable to any other kind in the bay area during the period when it was recorded.

The album is a sad and dreamy lament that is overlayed by a philosophical resignation and existentialism. It is as if Crosby is in some kind of mystical psychedelic trance communicating with mirages and ghosts. The album opens with the slow progression 'Music Is Love', consisting of a mantra of a single verse ('everyone says that music is love') which is endlessly repeated by Crosby and choir in a trance like way.

'Laughing' is one long note as if suspended between earth and heaven before returning to a resonating echo before it gradually fades into the silence of 'What Are Their Names'. The whispered tinkling guitar and harp strings of 'Traction In The Rain', evoke crystalline waterfalls, whilst 'Song With No Words' is like an intense extraordinary opera which is evocative of a subdued and poignant prayer in which the singing soars in a sublime flight.

With the closing hallucinatory 'I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here', a cry of joy and despair is exuded which is a kind of corrective to the ambiguous dream and mystical states that preceded it. The album is a tonal, harmonic almost baroque masterpiece; a rhetoric that exudes a unique ecstasy and aestheticism that is reminiscent of impressionist paintings.

'If I Could Only Remember My Name' is an absorbing experience that remains one of the Most touching documents of the post-hippie era.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody's sayin' that music is love...well love is all you need., 13 Dec 2006
By 
Junglies (Morrisville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This is the second album to have been remastered and re-released which not only is of the age of aquarius but typifies the best of the spirit of that age. Taken together with Paul Kantner's masterful Blows Against the Empire, this album transcends much of the music which has been made since.

I may be biased but the care which has gone into making this possible is there for all to hear. Both in the CD as well as the DVD is love and devotion to the sound and general ambience. I am sure that Crosby's colleague Neil Young would be proud of the quality, timbre and life that comes from these discs.

Space, the final frontier...I remember the first CD I ever heard, Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms, and I was in sheer awe of the degree of separation and the quality of the music which shone through. After hearing both of these discs I am once more overawed, not just with the sound, the singing, the playing...OMG Jerry Garcia on the pedal steel, an instrument he had just taken up and did not know how to play and yet some of the most cosmic sounds you have ever heard man, come through from his heart. Sheer Bliss.

However I digress. There is not one song on this beautiful album that would get less than five stars. Every breath that comes from David Crosby shimmers and stirs the soul. His singing contribution as well as his writing collaborations are inspiring, almost spiritual in a hippie sort of way and I am positive that this album was the backdrop of much chemical imbibing when it first came out but it is almost like a form of chanting and reaching out into the listeners souls. Oh, what are their names, the men who really run this land, could be part of an Airplane bombing run on Washington but sung by Crosby with the biggest supergroup on earth at the time, they are transformed into a campaign anthem for direct action. Laughing had me in tears at the sound of Jerry's spacey pedal steel which will never grace the sweet earth again and Crosby's lyrics, laid back and giving new meaning to the innocence of childhood.

The album starts off with Music is Love which becomes a completely improvisational pice with intertwining voices blending together and flowing apart almost in a scat like way but with so much harmony.

My other favourite song is the translucent like production of Song Without Words (Tree With No Leaves), just voices and instruments. Masterful licks from Jerry who is not the only awesome guitarist on this album, and those harmonies...like being in a church with choir and all the while in such harmony with the electric instruments.

The first time I went to San Francisco, I went to get the spiritual calling of the Grateful Dead from my system which I did, discovering my spiritual home at the same time, but I was also able to visit some of the places which played a part in the making of this marvel. Mount Tamalpais, Sausalito were two of the places I was fortunate to see and the evidence of the parts they played in Crosby's compositions are clearly evident. Throughout the quality of the musicianship is without doubt and there are no redundant or surplus players anywhere to be found. Only in the Bay Area could so many top notch musicians come together without disharmony and personalities clashing.

I'd Swear That There Was Somebody Here is a revelation under remastering. Clearly somewhat of an improvisational piece which developed. I am reminded in parts of the soundtrack to Zabriskie Point which Garcia had participated in, as well as some of the musical idioms Garcia would return to later in the seventies as he foreswore his journey into the nether regions of psychedalia and turned back into the roots of American music. It is a suite in effect of musics that bring out the blue sky searching of Crosby and his willingness to experiment, searching for the sound, following his muse.

Sadly, for us, there is only one bonus track, Kids and Dogs, which may be a throwaway title but it is not a throaway piece of music. It begins as if the musicians are hanging out on a porch and just playing for each other until the Crosby vocals insert themselves in the same inimatable style which characterises the whole album and the voices and players become as one heading into a different, heavenly dimension. Garcia provides the perfect foil to Crosby's vocals (it had been he after all who had shunted them in the direction of The Workingman's Dead and the sublime American Beauty)but there is no pressure, it is not competitive, it is just heading out there, boldly going where no-one had gone before and few have ventured since especially in our post-modern drab north american "musical" world. And then we are back on the porch on a sunny San Francisco day or maybe in the Japanese tea garden, just as they say in the venacular, chillin'.

I wanted to give kantner's album six and I wish I could give this six too. This has to be one of the albums of the century and every home should have one.

Shameless plug time. If you are forty five years old or older, you should definitely conside giving this as a great holiday gift.

Marvellous, bloody marvellous!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How come this is so good?, 25 Sep 2011
By 
os - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: If I Could Only Remember My Name (Audio CD)
While many listeners might not be terribly interested in Mr Crosby's thoughts on the law, the desirability of chemically induced mood adjustment or the machinations of the politico-corporate world, they might still find as I did, that 'If Only I could..' is a great piece of work. Essentially the album is a , beautifully constructed and played series of dreamily impressionistic soundscapes. The craft is in the playing and creation of mood rather then usually understood notions of songcraft. In fact tunes tend to drift in and out, nothing very much seems to happen, but still the music has an impact that is hard to shake off. Dave has members of the Grateful dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, CSNY and Joni Mitchell to contribute, so dearth of talent was never going to be a problem. But what could have been a real mess turns out to be a real pleasure as the assembled greats get behind Crosby and his vision to produce a work that has depth as well as beauty.

Favourite tracks include 'Laughing' and 'Traction in the Rain' Recommended.
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