Friday, March 2, 2012

Circa '69

I'm listening to a lot of CSN(Y). I know they all came from other groups and the fact that they came together should be attributed to Cass Elliot. If I'm not mistaken, they first sang together in her home. Here is what is amazing to me: normally I can listen to music and hear what is happening with vocal and instrumental parts, and separate them in my head--this is this and that is that. When these three (sometimes four) men sing together, I can not pick apart the harmony. I simply can not do it. I imagine to see it written on a staff would be just as blinding--a big mish mash of chords. Of course the melody lines are easily picked out. All of that rich, in-between development is what I can't find. And it's great. Soothing. Definitive.

I'll be honest. I don't know the deep cuts, or much solo work from any of the men, aside from Neil Young. Various problems aside, they put together some amazing music. The version of "Woodstock" they recorded is flat out one of my favorites (written by Joni Mitchell). And who doesn't need a good protest song every now and then? Young's "Ohio" (written in about 10 minutes) fills the need. "Helpless" is probably my favorite of all of their tracks. "Wooden Ships" is such a groove. Literally.

I also like Crosby's "Hero" done with Phil Collins (this makes me sounds just like everything Collins puts out). I think it is about Lancelot and Guinevere. Crosby is such an oddball, and he looks like a carnie. His life struggles are something to behold and it makes me sad reading about them (though how long can one feel sorry for self-inflicted wounds?). The lyrics of "Hero" move me "So we sort through the pieces, my friends and I, searching through the darkness to find the breaks in the sky."

Maybe my connection reminds me a lot of my Dad. I like to think I'd be drawn to CSN(Y) on my own. He was the first to introduce them to me. I'm hanging in there with them since that time in High School. I don't think I could exactly define the group as timeless, because they are so connected with the San Francisco summer of love folkie/rock yaddayadda. But I would say wonderful.


K Cummings Pipes said...

I so enjoy your posts re. music. You understand the music of my youth better than I do.