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4.6 out of 5 stars99
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on 16 December 2002
I first head CSN when Woodstock has aired on terrestrial tv about 15 or so years ago. The hippy images stuck in my young 12 year old mind and I could never shake them. It wasn't until I saw the film again about 7 years ago that it registered that the thing I spent my teens and early twenties looking for was right under my nose. Trying to find an album that you can connect with emotionally can take years, this is my album. Everything on it reminds me of something, without even understanding the songs fully. You can get everything out of this LP without realising you've connected with it, its practically impossible to listen to Suite Judy without giving in to Marrakesh Express and so and so on.
I'm unsure of the length of the album but it goes by in a blink. Perfect for daydreaming to, it conjures up fantastic images of love, lonliness, drugs, drink, old relationships, one night stands, summer evenings and cold winter mornings.
Without this LP I would be without Richie Havens, The Band and Neil Young. Just writing about it at my work desk makes me feel a little more inspired than usual. I'm leaving work early now to go home and listen to it.
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VINE VOICEon 13 February 2007
In my humble opinion we have yet another example of a debut being a groups finest hour. This album is classic in so many ways, too many to list here. From the gin clear and crystal vocal virtuosity that just rings out of every track to the stunning compositional skills of these three masters of what used to be called rather derogatively 'Soft Rock'. There is nothing soft about the performances that fill this seminal album from the multi layering of Still's Suite Judy Blue Eyes through the rather jolly (did I just say jolly?) and upbeat Marakesh Express to the simply gorgeous (did I just say Gorgeous?) Lady of the Island and Guinevere. There is not a weak moment on this album. Buy it and judge why this is considered by all those with taste to be a classic.
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on 6 June 2003
30 plus years on and, stripped of all the hype that surrounded it’s release, one thing puts Crosby Stills & Nash’s first album totally above the pack… it is, quite simply, harmonically brilliant. David Crosby’s recollection that, when they first got together, the injection of Graham Nash’s high pitched vocals on top of his & Stephen Stills’ West Coast honed harmonies produced something quite “electric” totally underpins its enduring power. Forget the post-hippie drenched lyrics of most of the songs, file Crosby’s solo, “Guinnevere”, under a quite different category (“brilliantly reflective personal outing”), and consign Nash’s solo “Lady of the Island” to “possibly self indulgent” and… you’re left with eight quite superb explorations into three part harmony. Nothing before or since soars quite like these guys at their peak and, on this record, they were at the very peak of their skills.
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on 21 June 2010
What an album; I still can't listen to this without thinking of warm summer days, and particularly as a 16 year old, still at school, not starting work for another year. In '69 I knew it all, I would be conquering the world, but first I would listen again to the blissful harmonies and fantastic instrumentation of two Americans and a lad from Manchester. When I closed my eyes I was transported to California (from the East End of London !!!); lying in my local park that summer, I imagined that the world was a fine place, and it was a much better place because of these 10 songs.

Any review must surely be superfluous; who doesn't recognise the opening half dozen or so notes played in quick succession by Stephen Stills on acoustic guitar (or one note played several times !!). Can anyone not recognise 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes' as the work of genius that it is ? One of my all time favourite songs, a real 'suite' in musical terms, with different passages, time signatures and themes.

The album almost maintains that high, high standard with the bouncy pop of Nash's 'Marrakesh Express', I would have loved to have worn a 'striped djellaba' but think I would have gotten my head beaten in during that Summer of Love !! That's assuming I knew what a striped djellaba was and where I could get one. And of course ignoring the fact that I would have looked a total prat !!

The gorgeous beauty that is Crosby's 'Guinnevere' follows, how lovely it still sounds; again great, sparse instrumentation, and beautiful harmonies, the lyrics ? no idea what half of them mean, but that didn't/doesn't matter.

The album sits back a bit until 'Wooden Ships', Crosby and Stills interplay is a wonder to behold.

Then 'Lady of the Island' provides more gorgeousness from Nash !!

The clever alliteration of Stills' 'Helplessly Hoping' right up until the run out of '49 Bye Byes' means not a duff track, really a timeless classic.

If you like clever harmonies, great instrumentation and very well written songs, you can do no better than buy this album.
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on 11 May 2000
Dave Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash late of The Byrds, Buffallo Springfield and The Hollies respectively got together in 1969 to record this wonderful masterpiece. Although there are echoes of their previous music in this album the sound is very much their own. From poppy bob-along tunes ( Marrakesh Express, Suite/Judy Blue Eyes ) to brilliant vocal harmonies ( Forty nine bye byes ) with a side-helping of hippy-dippery thrown in ( Guinnevere, Lady Of The Island ) there isn't a bad track on the album. Listen to it when you feel sad and it'll make you feel happy. Listen to it when you're happy and you'll feel happier.
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on 27 February 2011
I bought this album last week and had resisted buying it for years because I mistakenly thought (based on the footage of CSN doing Judy Blue Eyes at Woodstock) that it might be too sickly for my slightly more rough hewn musical palette. This was despite the fact that I have always been a huge Byrds/Crosby, Buffalo Springfield (Stills) and Neil Young fan. (The Hollies, from whence Nash emanates, I am rather less keen on (apart from their 1967 output, e.g. King Midas In Reverse).

I could not have been more wrong in sustaining my resistance for so long. This album is a stone cold classic and an utter joy to listen to. Aural Prozac, if you like. There's not a weak track on it. And it ranges across so many moods and musical styles: from the raga inflected Judy Blue Eyes on to the wonderfully jaunty Marrakesh Express and then to the doleful introspection of Lady Of the Island which sounds (in terms of the vocal and sparse acoustic accompaniment) as if it is an outtake from Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends. And then of course there is the zeitgeisty sublime Long Time Gone - which obliquely refers to Robert Kennedy and the entire ethos of the late-sixties boundary shattering counterculture. No wonder it was played over the opening credits of the Woodstock movie. Harmonically and in terms of the musicianship this is all note-perfect: perhaps one of the most beautifully honed, textured and constructed albums ever. It gives the likes of Pet Sounds, Rubber Soul and Highway 61 Revisited a run for their money.

As a document of an era it may seem outdated to some. One reviewer (on another blog) derisively referred to it as 'bubblegum for hippies'(!?). Well, 'man' I ain't no hippy (at 37 I was four years from being born when this Crosby, Stills and Nash was released) and if you think this is bubblegum you clearly haven't heard Justin Beiber! But as a work of musical craftsmanship and beauty put those historical associations to one side and simply lie back and listen. This is a timeless classic and its musical joys and lyrical sentiments resonate down the years. Crosby Stills & Nash
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on 6 October 2011
CSN were the quintessential band of the alternative culture to me when I lived and breathed the heady idealism and hope of that era. Thankfully this and their other early albums (inc. the CSN&Y album) still inspire that sense of hope and that anything is possible if you really want it to happen. The quality of the music hasn't been overshadowed by the passage of time and if anything the message and the sentiments are truer and more imperative today than they were back in the days of hash 'n acid. A truly great album and there were some other truly great creations from this era for them to compete with. So if you have a heart and are a seeker of truth buy this album, it won't bring you truth but it will show you that creativity is something exceptionally present on this and their other albums.
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on 2 February 2006
I guess if you're reading this you already know this is a great album - the CSN high watermark - harmonies, songs, guitars, peace and love.
This is my third purchase of this particular collection on differing format - I passed on the previous remastered CD version - as most of the tracks were on the then recently issued box set - but this is probably my favourite album of theirs in any group line up - that includes anything Neil conjured in his early career.
Question - Is the HDCD remastering and the extra songs worth the purchase ?
I have HDCD on my player and I reckon there is a marginal sound improvement. But it's not that apparent.
It's the bonus tracks which are the killer - honest simple versions of 'Do for the Others' and 'Everybody's talking' are thrilling - with Stills leading.
'Song with No Words' - I believe is the one guitar Crosby/Nash take from the box set.
'Teach Your Children' - is another Crosby/Nash demo, Nash strumming an altered tuning guitar, with a small variation in the chorus which I like. Cros's harmony is just great.
All leads to the question- how come these tracks didn't see the light of day on the box set ? What treasure is going to turn up on 'Deja Vu' when that gets the revamp ?
Also - what's happened to Dallas Taylor ? - he's been shadowed out of the back door photo ?
My one cynical thought is why is this being released so soon after their recent Greatest Hits collection ? Many of the tracks being duplicated ?

Just buy it. You know you need it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 September 2012
I revisited this superb album on CD some 40 years after first hearing the LP and loving it. It was like meeting an old friend, but this friend had worked out the secret of not ageing. It is as fresh today as it was when first released.

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes is a tour de forced in close harmony singing, Marrakesh Express is light and enjoyable ... and the album progressses from there. The three voices go together so naturally that they make difficult arrangements sound easy. The CS&N sound is instantly recognisable and their musicianship is of the highest order.

Crosby Stills and Nash had the huge advantage of containing three members capable of singing lead and three members capable of writing classics. That leads to an album of variety and different styles that ensures that every track is able to command attention and each is different to the one that went before.

CS&N was a supergroup worthy of the name and this album is a classic, well worth investment in CD form. Five stars
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The liner notes to this 2006 'Expanded & Remastered HDCD Edition' of CSN's monumental 1969 debut album opens with an Introduction from Ahmet Ertegun – founder and owner of the mighty Atlantic Records. It describes the first time he heard the tapes by ex Hollies man Graham Nash who had linked up with ex Byrd's tunesmith David Crosby and Buffalo Springfield's guitarist and songwriter Stephen Stills. The canny Record Man was stunned and knew something huge was happening. He quotes "Crosby, Stills & Nash immediately became my No. 1 project..." And even now - in the twilight months of 2015 – a full 46 years after the event – their opening salvo is 'so' damn good – a melodious masterpiece still casting a harmony-vocal shadow over today's myriad musical landscape. Here are the helplessly hoping details of three men on a sofa...

UK released January 2006 – "Crosby, Stills & Young: Expanded & Remastered HDCD Edition" by CROSBY, STILLS & NASH on Atlantic/Rhino-8122-73290-2 (Barcode 081227329020) offers you the 10-track album newly remastered and with 4 bonus tracks. It pans out as follows (53:17 minutes):

1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
2. Marrakesh Express
3. Guinnevere
4. You Don't Have To Cry
5. Pre-Road Downs
6. Wooden Ships [Side 2]
7. Lady Of The Island
8. Helplessly Hoping
9. Long Time Gone
10. 49 Bye-Byes
Tracks 1 to 10 are their debut studio album "Crosby, Stills & Nash" – released June 1969 in the USA on Atlantic SD-8229 and in the UK on Atlantic 588 189. It rose to No. 6 and No. 25 on the US and UK charts. David Crosby wrote 3 and 9 - Stephen Stills wrote 1, 4, 8, and 10 – Graham Nash wrote 2, 5 and 7. "Wooden Ships" is a co-write between David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Paul Kantner (of Jefferson Airplane).

11. Do For The Others [Stephen Stills song]
12. Song With No Words (New Remix) [David Crosby song]
13. Everybody's Talkin' [cover version of a Fred Neil song]
14. Teach Your Children [Graham Nash song]

The 16-page booklet is tastefully substantial – the gatefold lyric insert that came with original 1969 vinyl albums has been fully reproduced, there’s a detailed and informed essay on the album by DAVID WILD which includes quotes from the trio and reissue credits. They’ve even included the lyrics to the four bonuses. The centre pages have a gorgeous colour photo the harmonious trio wrapped up in furs. But the big news is the fantastic new Remaster. JOHN NOWLAND (who was involved in the highly praised first four Neil Young remasters) has used the original 2-and-8 track analogue master tapes and transferred them to HDCD (High Density Compatible Digital). It’s a better form of Remaster and HDCD do not require any kind of special player. STANLEY JOHNSON and GREG HAYES were also involved in the transfers with the Mastering done by the vastly experienced BERNIE GRUNDMAN. The results are the best I’ve ever heard this album sound (odd they haven’t followed this release up with a similar HDCD version of "Déjà Vu"?)

Right from opening Acoustic Guitars of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" (written about Judy Collins) and when those magical three voices blend – you realise you’re in the presence of something very special. Although the song is 7:24 minutes long and even includes a Spanish chant-and-dance break – it never seems to overstay its welcome. Having listening to this opener for over four and half decades on various vinyl originals (UK plum labels included) – the Audio achieved here is truly breathtaking. Graham Nash's chipper "Marrakesh Express" was the first 45 off the album coupled with "Helplessly Hoping" on both sides of the pond in July 1969 (Atlantic 584 283 in the UK, Atlantic 2652 in the USA) - it hit 28 in the USA and 17 in the UK. It's followed by the stunning ethereal beauty of "Guinnevere" sashaying into your living room with a softly plucked Acoustic. Then you get hit with the full harmonious power and beauty of those three voices as a wall of one. When the trio first got together in Joni Mitchell's house – they noticed the 'timber' of the combo – and this song more than any highlights that magic. As if that's not good enough - you get the 'life on the road' cautionary tale of "You Don't Have To Cry" where that Stephen Stills tuneful song magic kicks you in the nuts. Fabulous guitar pings, their voices and those words – " are living a reality I left years quite nearly killed me..." Side 1 ends with Graham Nash's "Pre-Road Downs" – a treated guitar gives us another touring-is-miserable song about missing the touch and presence of his ladylove.

"Wooden Ships" would turn up on the Jefferson Airplane album "Volunteers" in November of 1969 (it was a co-write with Paul Kantner) and I’ve always loved both versions – a strange hybrid of Soulful Rock that seemed to belong to California in 1969. CSN's original take is shorter and amps up the Guitar and Organ and once again the Remaster is gorgeous. The bass and rhythm section is so warm and sweet but it’s the Stills vocal followed by Crosby and back again that impresses – beautifully handled in the transfer. "Lady Of The Island" is tender and quiet and Nash's vocals almost aching with his love (written for Joni Mitchell). "...Letting myself wander through the world in your eyes..." he sings – and it's beautifully poignant. That harmony magic comes marauding through your speakers once again (but in the best possible way) with "Helplessly Hoping" – a stunning three-part harmony and probably the best Audio on the disc. Although from the pen of David Crosby - the slinky "Long Time Gone" nonetheless has Still's arrangement and production magic all over it – lifting the song into a CSN recording rather than a solo stab. It ends on "49 Bye-Byes" which always seems to get overlooked – but it has magic in it too – especially in that centre passage where all those melodies on the guitars and vocals build up.

The album was recorded straight (what you see is what you get) so technically there are no outtakes from the sessions per say - but the group continued recording that year and the four bonus tracks come from those sessions. "Do For The Others" would eventually show on "Stephen Stills" - his debut solo album from late 1970. The second it opens – you can hear why its been included on this Expanded CD Edition – not only is this song gorgeous to listen too – it’s beautifully recorded – essentially a Demo with Stills on Lead Guitar while the other two harmonise. It’s a genuine wow. Second up is another harmony winner in "Song With No Words" where they "dah dah" the melody that would eventually appear on David Crosby's magnificent "If I Could Only Remember My Name" debut solo album in 1971. Truly beautiful is the only way to describe the Trio doing Fred Neil's classic "Everybody's Talkin'" made famous by Nilsson's cover as used in the movie "Midnight Cowboy". Crosby describes it in the liner notes as "Stills at his best..." There's a demo of the "Déjà Vu" classic "Teach Your Children" which is nice but nothing as good as the magical trio that preceded it. Fans will know that there are five other 'outtakes' from the period on the "Carry On" 4CD Box Set (1991) - one day we might get a Deluxe Edition 2CD set covering the event in its entirety...helplessly hoping...

So there you have – an established 60ts nugget – cool and beautiful like a summer breeze and given a truly beautiful audio makeover. It’s even furnished and burnished in Aldershot Sun with Bonus Tracks actually worthy of the moniker.

"...Going to where the sun keeps shining... " – Stephen Stills sings on their gorgeous harmony vocal cover of "Everybody's Talkin'". I'd gravitate towards this ray of California gold if I were you...warm on your soul and on your mind...and then some...
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