Csny Deja Vu full album

“Neil’s a strange energy. He brings a darker edge and a more realistic edge to our music…It did fit, though. Déjà Vu is a pretty fun album.” – Graham Nash, Music Radar

csny

The Players

There was a time when an invitation to a Joni Mitchell or Mama Cass party could be an invitation to make musical history. Graham Nash, David Crosby and Stephen Stills knew each other from ‘the scene’ but it was a party hosted by Mitchell where the three heard their voices harmonise together for the first time and a new band was born out of the ashes of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and The Hollies. However, unlike other super-groups like Cream and Blind Faith, Crosby, Stills and Nash warily used their last names so that the act could not continue if one were to leave.

They quickly recorded their first eponymously titled album which was a major hit but also presented a problem. Multi-instrumentalist Stills had played most of the non-guitar parts in the recording and they now needed to perform these songs live, so Atlantic Records’ founder Ahmet Ertegun suggested Still’s former Buffalo band mate Neil Young participate in their tour. At first Nash didn’t want Young to join the band (as he told Music Radar), but then realised that not only could the band use more of a rock edge, but also “that Stephen needed somebody to spark off of and play the guitar, because that’s who Stephen was. He loves the challenge of two stags facing off.”

Woodstock

The band with the addition of Young debuted live at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater with Joni Mitchell as the opening act. Two days later they performed their second gig at the now legendary Woodstock festival. Joni, who was also in a relationship with Nash, sadly missed the Woodstock event, as their collective managers Elliott Roberts and David Geffen were not sure if she would be able to extricate herself from the 800, 000 amassed throng to make her appearance on The Dick Cavett Show the following night. Instead, she viewed the happening at Yasgur’s farm from her hotel room in New York City and wrote a song dedicated to the gathering.

Her own pensive recording of ‘Woodstock’ was released on her ‘Ladies of the Canyon’ album in March of 1970. That same month, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released their celebratory cover on their ‘Déjà Vu’ LP. Their version became an instant counterculture classic.

Helpless

The mood of their second album (or their first as the new CSN&Y incarnation) was much different than their debut as Graham Nash told Music Radar. “During the first album, we were all in love. David was in love with Christine [Hinton], Stephen was in love with Judy Collins, I was in love with Joni [Mitchell]. Everything was rosy and fantastic. By ‘Déjà Vu’, Joni and I had split up, Stephen and Judy had split up, and Christine had just been killed. It was all dark.” The song ‘Our House’ would have been somewhat bittersweet to record as Nash’s lyrics were centred upon the Laurel Canyon house in which he lived with Mitchell.

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