Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – CSNY 1974 (2014)

FrontCover1.jpgCSNY 1974 is the nineteenth album by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, their seventh in the quartet configuration, and their fifth live album, the third as a foursome. Issued on Rhino Records in 2014, it consists of concert material recorded in 1974 on the band’s tour during the summer of that year. It was issued in several formats: a standard compact disc box set consisting of three audio discs and a standard DVD; as one pure audio Blu-ray disc and a Blu-ray DVD; and a more expensively packaged limited deluxe edition consisting of the material on six vinyl records along with the Blu-ray discs and a coffee table book. Two single disc samplers were also issued, one of the acoustic material exclusively available at Starbucks in the United States and Canada, and another at normal retail outlets. Each of the non-sampler sets also contained a 188-page booklet, and all formats were released the same day. The three-disc and DVD package peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200, while the Starbucks sampler peaked at #37 and the selections sampler at #81.

After the split of CSNY in the summer of 1970, through 1971 David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Neil Young released solo albums, while Stephen Stills issued two. All were gold records, as were the three issued in early 1972 by the quartet: Harvest; Graham Nash David Crosby; and Manassas; proving the group to be appealing commercially apart as well as together. Indicative of this commercial clout, only the separated Beatles as a group also achieved gold records with regularity during the same time period, reinforcing the notion of CSNY as the American Beatles. The foursome showed little interest in regrouping given their individual success, but with the real Beatles defunct and Bob Dylan not touring, public enthusiasm remained unabated for CSNY as the new counterculture leaders to record and/or do concerts together, acknowledged by manager Elliot Roberts with his ‘pissing in the wind’ quote.

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Young toured solo in late 1970 and early 1971, Stills undertook his first solo headlining tour with a new band in the summer of 1971, about the same time that Crosby and Nash toured ‘unplugged’, for the first time as a duo. Crosby and Nash toured by themselves again in 1972, while Stills assembled his Manassas band to tour after their Album. There had been sporadic reunions, with Young showing up to Crosby and Nash shows, Young recording a one-off single “War Song” with Nash, and CSN in three different pairs providing backing vocals on Young’s Harvest album.

In 1973, their individual fortunes began to falter. Stills toured again with Manassas, but their second album did not do as well in the marketplace. Young undertook two tours colored by the death of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten; the album from the first tour (with Crosby and Nash on a couple of tracks) Time Fades Away falling well short of the previous year’s Harvest sales-wise. Crosby’s reunion with the Byrds and Nash’s second solo album also did not do very well critically or commercially. An attempt to make the second CSNY studio album in the summer of 1973 after a reunion in Hawaii fell apart.

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Crosby and Nash put together their first electric band tour in late 1973, and Stills continued to tour with Manassas into 1974, but the seed had been planted.[15] In January and February 1974, impresario Bill Graham successfully directed the return of Bob Dylan to the concert stage with a winter tour of basketball and hockey arenas. Manager Roberts proposed to CSNY something more ambitious: a summer tour of baseball and football Stadiums. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young agreed, Graham signed on as tour director, and the tour was set to begin in July. Rehearsals took place at Young’s ranch in La Honda in May and June.

Besides the four principals on guitars and keyboards, supporting musicians had previously worked with different members. Tim Drummond had been the bassist for Young’s Stray Gators band and had recently played on Wild Tales by Nash and On the Beach by Young. Drummer Russ Kunkel appeared on the debut album by Crosby & Nash, and percussionist Joe Lala was part of Stills’ Manassas band.

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The tour commenced on July 9 at the Seattle Center Coliseum and played 30 dates in 23 locations, ending the North American tour proper at the Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, New York on September 8. A 31st and final show took place on September 14 at Wembley Stadium, with opening acts including The Band and Joni Mitchell.[20] The Beach Boys, Santana, Joe Walsh, and Jesse Colin Young also appeared as support acts during the tour.

Although large multiple-bill festivals such as Miami Pop, Woodstock, and Watkins Glen had taken place, and CSNY, the Rolling Stones, and others had played infrequent stadium shows, no band except for the Beatles had ever attempted a tour of this Magnitude. Whereas the Beatles had done a series of stadium dates over two weeks in 1966, the scope of this tour and its logistics were unprecedented; as a liminal signpost toward the commercial ascent of stadium rock, the tour itinerary also encompassed a smorgasbord of indoor sports arenas, race tracks, and smaller college stadia, including Chicago Stadium, Nassau Coliseum, Boston Garden, the Capital Centre, Jeppesen Stadium at the University of Houston, and the St. Paul Civic Center. (by wikipedia)

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It was, at the time, one of the highest-grossing rock tours ever, grossing over 11 million dollars in an era when such figures were uncommon. Such success camouflaged the chaos behind the scenes — the bitter fights and feuds, the excess and indulgence that led to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young pocketing about a half million dollars each, when all was said and done. Big bucks were the reason the CSNY 1974 tour even existed. Efforts to record a new album in 1973, their first since 1970’s breakthrough Déjà Vu, collapsed but manager Elliot Roberts and promoter Bill Graham convinced the group to stage the first outdoor stadium tour in the summer of 1974, with the idea that CSNY would test-drive new material in concert, then record a new studio album in the fall, or maybe release a live record from the historic tour. Neither happened. The group cleaved in two upon the tour’s conclusion and the live tapes sat in the vaults until Graham Nash decided to assemble a box set of the tour just in time for its 40th anniversary in 2014.

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Nash and producer Joel Bernstein — the driving forces behind the excellent new millennial archival CSN reissues — culled the best moments from the nine recorded shows, sometimes cobbling together composites, then assembled the whole thing as a three-CD set designed to replicate the mammoth three-hour sets the quartet played in 1974. That very length indicates how there was room on the 1974 tour for every aspect of CSNY, giving space to sensitive folk, woolly electric guitar jams, hits, and unheard songs. Several of those new songs showed up on albums by CSNY in various permutations, while a few — mostly written by Young — never got an airing outside of this tour, so the first official release of “Love Art Blues,” “Pushed It Over the End,” and even the throwaway Nixon jape “Goodbye Dick” is indeed noteworthy. But what makes CSNY 1974 a substantial chapter in their legacy is how it captures the band in full flight just as its moment is starting to slip away. Stills and Young play with the burly force they channeled into Manassas and Crazy Horse, providing a startling contrast to both the sweetness of disc two’s acoustic set and Crosby’s excursions into the haze of If I Could Only Remember My Name. Hearing the band pull apart as its members come together is simultaneously thrilling and enervating because Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young remain locked in a battle to outdo one another; it’s fascinating to hear them spar, but also draining. Nevertheless, that messy competition is why CSNY 1974 is a vital addition to their canon. Tales of CSNY acrimony are legend, but this rancor rarely surfaced on record. Here, those brawling egos are pushed to the forefront, with all the pretty harmonies operating as an accent to the main event. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
David Crosby (vocals, guitars, tambourine)
Graham Nash (vocals, keyboards, guitars, harmonica)
Stephen Stills (vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass)
Neil Young (vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica, banjo guitar)
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Tim Drummond (bass)
Russ Kunkel (drums)
Joe Lala (percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Love the One You’re With (Stills) 6.02
02. Wooden Ships (Crosby/Kantner/Stills) 6.20
03. Immigration Man (Nash) 3.45
04. Helpless (Young) 4.33
05. Johnny’s Garden (Stills) 5.09
06. The Lee Shore (Crosby) 4.47
07. Change Partners (Stills) 3.24
08. Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Young) 3.28
09. Our House (Nash) 3.20
10. Guinevere (Crosby) 5.51
11. Old Man (Young) 3.57
12. Teach Your Children (Nash) 3.09
13. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Stills) 8.33
14. Long Time Gone (Crosby) 5.44
15. Chicago (Nash) 4.46
16. Ohio (Young) 5.37

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Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Tour Of America (2002)

FrontCover1With an average age of 58 for the four members of this band, you’d expect them to take it easy. That’s not so. The show started just after 8pm and ended three hours later. You don’t get much more classic than this stuff. Add in legendary players Booker T. Jones on keyboards and Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass and you’re already batting a thousand. Starting the show with an almost ragged “Carry On,” CSNY’s set list spanned thirty-four years. No less than four songs from Neil Young’s brand new Are You Passionate album were interspersed with a ton of radio staples like “Wooden Ships” and “Old Man.” Crosby was clearly not feeling well this evening and yet his duet with Graham Nash on “Guinnevere” was as haunting and smooth as ever. Everyone in the band definitely had roles. While Crosby was featured on more of the down tempo tunes, Stephen Stills was the bluesy rocker. His gritty, over the top vocal on Booker T.’s “Ole Man Trouble” was a highlight of the night. Graham Nash was the polished guy. “Our House” was a pristine little pop classic that could have been co-written by McCartney. As always, Neil Young is the wildcard in CSNY. One minute he’d be tearing out a chill inducing “Southern Man” and then you’d find him gently crooning “Harvest Moon” in a sweet falsetto.

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Tonight’s show was broken into 3 sections. First was a mostly muted electric set that contained “Southern Cross,” “Military Madness” (which once again seemed relevant) and a great rendition of Nash’s “Used To Be A King.” After a particularly rocking “Cinnamon Girl” there was a 20-minute intermission. Then, the four of them returned without the extra musicians for almost an hour of acoustic numbers. Beginning with “Helplessly Hoping,” this section of the show was musically the most satisfying even if it was a bit longwinded. With Young offstage, the other 3 climaxed the acoustic set with “Suite Judy Blue Eyes.” This featured a stunning solo from Stephen Stills that had the crowd keeping time with their claps.

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Always a politically motivated band, the events of last year hung literally over the proceedings. A backdrop was covered with flyers from NYC that were posted by relatives and friends in desperate attempts to find their loved ones. Nash and Crosby revived “Half Your Angels” which was written about the Oklahoma City bombing but eerily fit the more recent situation. Of course, the big nod to last September was just after the band re-plugged. Neil Young led the band through the dissonant, powerful “Let’s Roll.” This was inspired by and sung from the point of view of citizens on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. The lyrics were based on cell phone conversations that passengers made to their families explaining that they were about to attempt to regain CSNY3control of the plane. Neil was particularly animated during this one. With lighting effects simulating a thunderstorm,

Young stomped like a Yeti having a seizure as he tortured his guitar. Following a surprisingly loud “Woodstock,” the band ended the show with a slower, rhythmically straighter “Rocking In The Free World” that had everyone up and dancing. As a surprise, Neil and Stephen dug into their Buffalo Springfield catalog and retrieved a slightly reworked “For What It’s Worth” for the first encore. The foursome ended the show with psychedelic swirls of light behind them for the country tinged hippie anthem “Teach Your Children Well.” Over the course of the long show, the band occasionally wandered into self-indulgent, yawn inducing territory, but overall CSNY 2002 was a full night of stellar entertainment that also managed to prove that they’re not merely a nostalgia act.

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Personnel:
David Crosby (vocals, guitar)
Graham Nash (vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica)
Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar, bass)
Neil Young (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
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Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn (bass)
Booker T Jones -(keyboards)
Steve ‘Smokey’ Potts (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Carry On (Stills) 4.20
02. Questions (Stills) 4.24
03. Military Madness (Nash) 3.35
04. Goin’ Home (Young) 6.12
05. Wooden Ships (Crosby/Kantner/Stills) 8.47
06. Feed The People (Stills) 5.59
07. You’re My Girl (Young) 5.37
08. I Used To Be A King (Nash) 6.06
09. Southern Man (Young) 6.15
10. Southern Cross (Stills/R.Curtis/M.Curtis) 5.06
12. Helplessly Hoping (Stills) 4.34
13. Our House (Nash) 3.40
14. Old Man (Young) 4,16
15. Guinnevere (Crosby) 6.20
16. The Lee Shore (Crosby) 6.04
17. Harvest Moon (Young) 6.43
18. Ole Man Trouble (Jones) 5.17
19. Half Your Angels (Nash) 5.33
20. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Stills) 9.26
21. Let’s Roll (Young) 7.13
22. Long Time Gone (Crosby) 7.33
23. Two Old Friends (Young) 6,25
24. Woodstock (Mitchell) 5.44
25. Rockin’ In The Free World (Young) 13,32
26. For What It’s Worth (Stills) 5.07
27. Teach Your Children (Nash) 4.03

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – The Winterland Reunion (1973)

FrontCover1From the time they came together as a trio at the end of 1968, to the fall of 1973 when they turned in this impromptu set at Winterland, the three voices comprising Crosby, Stills and Nash had seen their share of changes: they triumphed with their 1969 self-titled debut, joined forces with Neil Young for the follow-up Déjà Vu in 1970, and took their show on the road; by the end of that run, they’d weathered the kind of wear and tear on their hearts and souls that could throw the average band off course for good. And yet, whether performing songs from those first two albums, Crosby’s If Only I Could Remember My Name, Nash’s Songs for Beginners, Crosby and Nash’s heralded duo album, or Stills’ solo albums and works with Manassas, when the original core CSN trio got together they still made sweet harmony, as they did on this night to remember.

In the Fall of 1973, Crosby, Stills and Nash were still slightly reeling from a busy period that followed recording in Hawaii with Young and the passing of CSN&Y roadie Bruce Berry (famously eulogized by Young on “Tonight’s the Night”). Stills had been on the road with Manassas, and Crosby and Nash were playing their own shows with an electric band. But when Manassas booked a couple of dates at Winterland on October 4 and 7 of 1973, it was family reunion time when Crosby and Nash pulled a walk-on and the trio appeared onstage together for the first time since 1970.

Informal, joking, and pleasingly loose, the three friends seemed to truly enjoy singing together, despite the occasional onstage bristling and ropy moments. Crosby sarcastically refers to “our usual slick Hollywood show,” explaining away the presentation’s unrehearsed nature as “more fun this way for us.” Stills answered his band mate’s quip drolly with, “Anything you say, David, anything you say.”

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Between the banter and tuning up, the three manage to turn in some prime vocal shots, from a version of the Beatle’s “Blackbird” to a handful of their group’s and solo works. Nash takes the lead on “Southbound Train” and retreats to piano for “Prison Song,” his protest of tough marijuana laws on the poor population. Stills sings Young’s “Human Highway,” which Crosby characterizes as a song by “our skinny friend;” the live version isn’t quite worked out the way we’ve come to know it, but that’s part of the excitement of this off-the-cuff set. “Wooden Ships” is dedicated to Crosby and Stills’ co-writer, the Jefferson Airplane/Starship’s Paul Kantner, before the evening is crowned with the vocal trio tour de force “Helplessly Hoping.”

The two sets from these Winterland shows foreshadowed a proper reunion on the horizon: a couple of months later, Young would join Nash and Crosby at an appearance at the San Francisco Civic and, the following year, CSN&Y would be on the road again, playing to their largest audiences ever. Marking a tentative step toward their mid-’70s triumph, as well as a throwback to their early days when the vocal giants were just a trio, this Winterland night is a historic footprint on CSN’s trail of rock & roll. Long may they continue to run its course. (by concertvault.com)

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Personnel:
David Crosby (guitar, vocals)
Graham Nash (guitar, vocals, piano)
Stephen Stills (guitar, vocals)
Neil Young (guitar, vocals, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Helplessly Hoping (Stills) 4.00
02. Wooden Ships (Crosby/Kantner/Stills) 6.00
03. Blackbird (Lennon/McCartney) 2.56
04. As I Come Of Age (Stills) 5.56
05. Roll Another Number (Young) 4.37
06. Human Highway (Young) 4.07
07. Dreamland (Mitchell) 4.06
08. So It Goes (Nash) 6.40
09. The Prison Song (Nash) 4.18
10. Long Time Gone (Crosby) 7.27
11. Change Partners (Stills) 5.16
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12 Down By The River (ABC TV, 1969) (Young) 4.52

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Alternate front+ back cover

 

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Deja Vu (1970)

frontcover1Déjà Vu is the second album by Crosby, Stills & Nash, and their first in the quartet configuration of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It was released in March 1970 by Atlantic Records, catalogue SD-7200. It topped the pop album chart for one week and generated three Top 40 singles: “Woodstock”, “Teach Your Children”, and “Our House”. It was rereleased in 1977 as SD-19188 and the cover was changed from black to brown. In 2003, the album was ranked #148 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Certified 7x platinum by the RIAA, the album’s sales currently sit at over 8 million copies. It remains the highest selling album of each member’s career to date.
Déjà vu was greatly anticipated after the popularity of the first CSN album and given the addition of Young to the group. Stills estimates that the album took around 800 hours of studio time to record; this figure may be exaggerated, even though the individual tracks display meticulous attention to detail.[5] The songs, except for “Woodstock”, were recorded as individual sessions by each member, with each contributing whatever was needed that could be agreed upon. Young appears on only half of the tracks, and drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves are credited on the cover with their names in slightly smaller typeface. Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel on “Teach Your Children” and John Sebastian plays harmonica on the title track.
Four singles were released from the album with all but the last, “Carry On,” charting on the Billboard Hot 100. The popularity of the album contributed to the success of the four albums released by each of the members in the wake of Déjà vu — Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush, Stephen Stills’ self-titled solo debut, David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, and Graham Nash’s Songs for Beginners.
In 2003, the album was placed at number 148 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The same year, the TV network VH1 named Déjà vu the 61st greatest album of all time. (by Wikipedia)
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CSN & Y with Greg Reeves + Dallas Taylor, 1970
One of the most hotly awaited second albums in history — right up there with those by the Beatles and the Band — Déjà Vu lived up to its expectations and rose to number one on the charts. Those achievements are all the more astonishing given the fact that the group barely held together through the estimated 800 hours it took to record Déjà Vu and scarcely functioned as a group for most of that time. Déjà Vu worked as an album, a product of four potent musical talents who were all ascending to the top of their game coupled with some very skilled production, engineering, and editing. There were also some obvious virtues in evidence — the addition of Neil Young to the Crosby, Stills & Nash lineup added to the level of virtuosity, with Young and Stephen Stills rising to new levels of complexity and volume on their guitars. Young’s presence also ratcheted up the range of available voices one notch and added a uniquely idiosyncratic songwriter to the fold, though most of Young’s contributions in this area were confined to the second side of the LP. Most of the music, apart from the quartet’s version of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” was done as individual sessions by each of the members when they turned up (which was seldom together), contributing whatever was needed that could be agreed upon. “Carry On” worked as the album’s opener when Stills “sacrificed” another copyright, “Questions,” which comprised the second half of the track and made it more substantial. “Woodstock” and “Carry On” represented the group as a whole, while the rest of the record was a showcase for the individual members. David Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” was a piece of high-energy hippie-era paranoia not too far removed in subject from the Byrds’ “Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man,” only angrier in mood and texture (especially amid the pumping organ and slashing guitars); the title track, also by Crosby, took 100 hours to work out and was a better-received successor to such experimental works as “Mind Gardens,” out of his earlier career with the Byrds, showing his occasional abandonment of a rock beat, or any fixed rhythm at all, in favor of washing over the listener with tones and moods.
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“Teach Your Children,” the major hit off the album, was a reflection of the hippie-era idealism that still filled Graham Nash’s life, while “Our House” was his stylistic paean to the late-era Beatles and “4+20” was a gorgeous Stephen Stills blues excursion that was a precursor to the material he would explore on the solo album that followed. And then there were Neil Young’s pieces, the exquisitely harmonized “Helpless” (which took many hours to get to the slow version finally used) and the roaring country-ish rockers that ended side two, which underwent a lot of tinkering by Young — even his seeming throwaway finale, “Everybody I Love You,” was a bone thrown to longtime fans as perhaps the greatest Buffalo Springfield song that they didn’t record. All of this variety made Déjà Vu a rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners, while mass audiences reveled in the glorious harmonies and the thundering electric guitars, which were presented in even more dramatic and expansive fashion on the tour that followed. (by Bruce Eder)
In other words: one of the most important albums in the history of rock music !
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Personnel:
David Crosby (guitar, vocals)
Graham Nash (vocals, guitar, Percussion on 01. + 02.)
Greg Reeves (bass)
Stephen Stills (guitar, vocals, keyboards on 01., bass on 01., 02. + 06., percussion on 01.)
Dallas Taylor (drums, percussion)
Neil Young (guitar, vocals, Keyboards, harmonica on 09.)

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Jerry Garcia (pedal steel guitar on 02.)
John Sebastian (harmonica on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Carry On (Stills) 4.26
02. Teach Your Children  (Nash) 2.53
03. Almost Cut My Hair (Crosby) 4.31
04. Helpless (Young) 3.33
05. Woodstock (Mitchell) 3.54
06. Déjà Vu (Crosby) 4.12
07. Our House (Nash) 2.59
08. 4 + 20  (Stills) 2.04
09. Country Girl
09.1.Whiskey Boot Hill
09.2.Down Down Down
09.3. Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty)) (Young) 5.11
10. Everybody I Love You  (Stills/Young) 2.21
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Many years later ….