Hot off the press from Pat MacPherson...
Artist: Stephen Stills/Manassas
Release Date: 04/12/1972
Recorded Date: November 1971 - Feb. 1972
Producer: Stephen Stills, Chris Hillman, Dallas Taylor Engineer: Ronnie Albert & Howard Albert Studio: Criteria Studios in Miami
Stephen Stills (Vocals,Guitar,Moog) Chris Hillman (Vocals, Guitar,Mandolin) Al Perkins (Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals) Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels (Bass) Paul Harris (Keyboards) Dallas Taylor (Drums) Joe Lala (Congas, Percussion, Vocals) Byron Berline (Fiddle) Sydney George (Harmonica)
Album Review: Coming off 2 solo albums and a world tour with CSN&Y, Stills decided to form Manassas with Chris Hillman, recently departed from the Flying Burrito Brothers. This first release was a hodgepodge of country, bluegrass, folk, and all out rockers which covered over two albums. Dedicated to Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, and Al Wilson (of Canned Heat fame), this album featured great guitar playing and versatility. Most followers of Stephen Stills have recognized this album as a true landmark that other artists such as Gram Parsons and Roger McGuinn were trying to capture. Although not as commercial as his projects with CSN&Y, Stills stretches himself further than anything he had and would ever do (21 self-composed songs). The album itself was divided into four sections each taking an album side.
The Raven (side 1) takes you into a journey through familiar territory.....somewhat to remind the listener who it is you’re listening to with each song segueing into the next without a break.
The Wilderness (side 2) takes a pleasant detour into bluegrass, gospel, folk, and honky tonk reminiscent to side 2 of Exile on Main Street (which was released one month later).
Consider (side 3) is a spiritual crossroads where the music and lyrics try to unravel what has just happened in the past 5 years with Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y, Woodstock, Altamonte, and going solo.
Rock & Roll is Here to Stay (side 4) forges ahead with what rock and roll is all about. Paying homage to the 3 guitar virtuosos whom the album is dedicated as well as tipping his hat to Neil Young who shared a lead guitar role with him over the past 5 years.
If you haven’t heard this record and you have an appreciation for CSN&Y, Flying Burrito Brothers, or Gram Parsons then please treat yourself and hear Stephen Stills at his best (now remastered on Atlantic).....you might also hear the real influence heard on Anodyne. Be aware that this Atlantic remastered offers nothing more than a cleaner sound.....no extra tracks or information on the recording in the liner notes.
# Time Song Title (author) Song Review
1- (3:27) Song of Love- A great rockin’ protest song with good slide guitar which leaves the listener wondering if a Song of Love is even useful anymore.
2- (3:32) Rock & Roll Crazies/ Cuban Bluegrass- This song starts off with lots of slide guitar and ends with a dose of percussion.
3- (4:23) Jet Set- A slow blues meltdown with dueling lead guitar, the song changes direction midway through to a funky groove similar to what McCartney’s Wings were famous for doing.
4- (3:19) Anyway- A rocker with both Chris and Stephen sharing lead vocals.
5- (3:02) Both of Us (Bound to Lose)- A folky Byrds like song with Stephen and Chris again trading off on vocals.
6- (2:05) Fallen Eagle- Great protest song done in the style of a buck dancing fiddle tune. This song warns of the dangers and fears of war even encouraging his comrades “to fly on up to Canada, this country isn’t safe anymore, that’s for sure.”
7- (3:01) Jesus Gave Love Away For Free- Great pedal steel sound with a great reminder.....as Steve Earle would say “Nuf Said”.
8- (2:53) Colorado- Folky song describing the healing powers that the Colorado mountains can provide.
9- (3:59) So Begins The Task*- Facing the task of moving on after a failed relationship, Stephen begins the task by using his soulful voice displayed with great splendor in this song.
10- (2:47) Hide It So Deep- Slow country number about an aching heart which displays great pedal steel, mandolin, and fiddle interplay.
11- (2:30) Don’t Look At My Shadow- A fast honky tonk in which he reminds his audience where he’s been but at the same time reminding them not to focus on his past accomplishments.....his best is right here and right now…..as the lyrics suggest, “California Dreaming about put me down for good, Colorado Rocky Mountains saved my senses.” Great harmony with Hillman on the chorus and great steel and fiddle interplay.
12- (2:30) It Doesn’t Matter*- Slow tempo song looking at the past 5 years “falling and spinning, losing and winning, keeping my head”.....and wondering what’s it all about.
13- (2:46) Johnny’s Garden- Folk number about a refuge.
14- (1:53) Bound To Fall- Acoustic number with great harmonies.
15- (2:52) How Far- Funky blues number wondering “how far” he'll go for his woman.
16- (4:15) Move Around- Another acoustic number and singing about the changes life brings.
17- (2:52) The Love Gangster- A funky number with lots of wah-wah and a rock and roll theme.
Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay
18- (4:44) What to Do- A rocker with plenty of slide with Stephen reminding us how hard some relationships can be.
19- (2:59) Right Now- Another rocker to remind the listener that “the past isn’t anymore, the future only has in store....what is happening right now.”
20- (8:05) The Treasure (Take One)*- One of my favorites. This long jamming rocker displays some of the best qualities in Stephen’s voice as well as his guitar. If anyone has these lyrics please forward them to me.
21- (4:04) Blues Man- What other way to close this album than with Stephen doing a solo blues number?
Check out these.......
Home- Grass Roots Entertainment
Grass Roots Lawnchair Review
Lycos - Search the Web
Dawn at Cubist Castle- Olivia Tremor Control