Top positive review
11 people found this helpful
Still got it
on 10 May 2006
After the 2005 release "Man Alive" brought Stephen Stills some unexpectedly good reviews, perhaps a few people are going back over his solo career to revisit some of his earlier work. Of all the albums he released after "Down The Road" with Manassas, this is in my opinion his strongest, most cohesive set and evidence that in 1975, he could still be at the top of his game.
"Stills" is a confident, mature offering showcasing the diverse range of styles he has always called upon and which give his best albums such richness and interest."First Things First" and "Turn Back The Pages" have the infectious latin beats that lit up so many of his, and CSN's past hits. "As I Come Of Age" sounds as though it would have fit nicely on his first solo album with great harmony vocals from Crosby and Nash and "My Favorite Changes" and "Shuffle Just As Bad" feature some easy, relaxed playing from Stills and his then right hand man, Donnie Dacus. "My Angel" is a nice, funky workout with a bluesy vocal from Stills and the kind of song that would never make it into a CSN show but adds pace and variety to this set. I think this may also be the first time that Stills included a Neil Young cover on one of his solo albums - something he did with less success on future albums. His reworking of "New Mama", previously an acoustic number from "Tonight's The Night" gives it a tougher edge, which again brings a slightly different dimension to the album. However, although Stills is well known as a consummate and original guitarist, its for the songwriting and arrangments that this album really garbs my attention. The best example is "Myth of Sisyphus" which is a dreamlike excursion with confessional lyrics over a piano lead. Songs of this quality became rare from Stills over the coming decades, until "Spanish Suite" from "Man Alive".
As always with a Stephen Stills release, the quality of musicians and singers is first class and the production is first class. His second and third albums with Columbia pale in comparison to the consistent quality of this album so if you are catching up on past glories, this is the album (after Manassas) that I would recommend to you. It would make a wonderful companion to "Man Alive" and may just cause you to re-evaluate a musician who has frequently suffered poor reviews and unfavourable comparisons with Neil Young.