Music » Livewire

Stephen Stills

Sunday, June 17, at House of Blues.


For most of us who didn't grow up in the early '70s, Neil Young is the only redeeming member of the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Of course, David Crosby used to be cool back in the '60s, when he was a Byrd. And the same goes for Stephen "Buffalo Springfield" Stills -- and, yes, even Graham Nash, who contributed some fine vocals to the Hollies, one of the British Invasion's better bands. But the post-punk mind generally views CS&N as the beginning of the end for these guys -- and there's some truth to that. The sheer number of bad records they released, either as an ensemble or solo, is staggering. I count at least 20 since 1974, and Stills' latest, 2005's Man Alive! -- which sounds as if the poor bastard is going for some kind of Petty/Mellencamp/ frat-reggae fusion -- is no exception.

However, these dudes did drop some boss jams, including Stills' Manassas double LP from '72, a project during which he surrounded himself with high-profile rockers like ex-Byrd Chris Hillman and session drummer Dallas Taylor. Boasting organ, pedal steel, twin guitars, fiddle, two percussionists, and a Moog synthesizer, Manassas is the epic country/folk/rock album so many modern roots-rockers can only dream of making. So snag a used copy for a buck or two, grab a six-pack, and realize there's no reason to sit around waiting for the new Ryan Adams disc.

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