I enter my share of contests and never win. This time I entered an online contest for a CSNY box set and won something I wouldn't have otherwise bought. It's a 3-CD, 1-DVD set documenting their 1974 tour. It was an odd tour for its day. Bands made their money off publishing and record sales back then and CSNY wasn't promoting a new band LP. The music world has flipped and now the money is in playing live. The music is pretty darn good, better than I remembered. I saw them at the Oakland Coliseum and got into trouble with some Neil Young fangirls by loudly declaring that The Band had blown CSNY off the stage. They did but I got in deep shit for stirring the pot. Very little has changed.
Onward and upward to CSNY's 1970 smash hit LP, Deja Vu. This was one of the albums that *everyone* had. I listened to it for the first time in eons and most of it holds up quite well, especially Carry On and Helpless. Of course, Young and Stills were the heavyweights although Graham Nash's Our House and Teach Your Children are still charming excursions into hippie/Beatles/Holliesville. I think you take the Marrakesh Express to get there, man. David Crosby's ode to paranoia Almost Cut My Hair has become rather campy. I halfway expect some hipster to rewrite it as Almost Shaved My Beard. It happened just the other day, man and it gave me deja vu, man…
The packaging and design by Gary Burden is classic. The LP had an aged, fake leather thing going on, and the lettering was embossed. Fake but not cheap. Henry Wiltz's faux daguerreotype cover picture depicts CSNY as rock and roll's answer to the Hole in the Wall gang or the Wild Bunch. Given David Crosby's later brushes with THE MAN, it's fitting that he's cradling a shot gun in his lap.
It's appropriate to have the gatefold after the break. It was the inside of the packaging and was used by the kids as a surface to roll their reefers and such:
Here's some classic hippie dippy folk rock, man: