Friday, 18 May 2018

Crosby & Nash “Wind On The Water” 1975 US Folk Rock Country Rock


Crosby & Nash “Wind On The Water” 1975 US Folk Rock Country Rock
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As two of the most distinctive artists from the ‘60s and '70s given their work in CSNY, Crosby & Nash also did great work as a duo act. Wind on the Water was released in 1975 after the previous year’s CSNY reunion tour and the dissolution of their contract at Atlantic. In many respects, this alliance made perfect sense. When it was just the two of them, they were often more likable. Crosby wasn’t as much of a blowhard and Nash became more pragmatic. Wind on the Water’s virtues are apparent with the first song, the warm and pensive single “Carry Me.” “Homeward Through the Haze,” “Low Down Payment,” and “Naked in the Rain” are gems that all but sum up their complicated harmonic and melodic style. Besides Crosby & Nash being on their game, the studio players here are impeccable. Lovers of '70s pop/rock will love to hear players like Danny Kortchmar and David Lindley effortlessly doing their identifiable riffs. James Taylor, Carole King, and Jackson Browne also showed up for these sessions, but do not intrude or overshadow Crosby & Nash. Without a doubt, despite the strong production, the stars of the show here are Crosby & Nash. The album concludes with “To the Last Whale…: Critical Mass/Wind on the Water.” The song is not only a testament to the album’s skill at making the complex seem effortless, but it also gets its point across without being mushy. Wind on the Water has an instant classic, lived-in sound and is a definite must-have…..by Jason Elias….~


In 1975 this was a very good album with some great harmonies and guest musicianship. This album reflects the times (mid 70’s) with the songs having that soft rock sound that a lot of other groups in those days had (Seals and Crofts, Loggins and Messina, Steely Dan, Jackson Browne). For me Nash’s songs have aged better than Crosby’s, but despite the sometimes weak songwriting the two often do sound really sweet together. 
However, what really makes this album worth getting and still listening to is David Lindley who plays electric and acoustic slide and fiddle on 7 out of the 11 tracks, and in his usual understated way really tears it up. His playing is always just so tasteful, and I have to chuckle when I think it took me 20 years to discover just how good he is on his own after unconsciously getting a taste of him here. On this recording his contributions ….~


We’ve heard CSN, CSN&Y, and now we have just C/N. David and Graham’s vocals and harmonies are amazing. Their selection of tunes are so varied that you can listen to it while in a kick-back mood, or driving down the highway. From “Critical Mass” to “Take the Money and Run,” from “Carry Me” to “Love Work Out,” the myriad of songs they sing on this introspective record keep you in touch with what these guys were feeling and experiencing when they wrote them: death of a family member, a plea for love to finally come to fruition, greed, etc. The clincher, however, is the title song, “Wind on the Water,” a depiction of the merciless killing of whales just for the sake of their by-products (read = make-up products industry). The harmony and orchestration of this song could make even the most jaded person shed a tear. And speaking of orchestration, this particular record had the good fortune of the mightiest of the mighty when it came to its backing band. Nicknamed The Session (other monikers were bestowed, but we’ll skip them for now), Danny Kortchmar, Craig Doerge, Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkle, Tim Drummond, were, and still are, plainly and simply, the best in the business. Still playing gigs today (they recently performed with James Taylor and Carole King on a PBS special touting Taylor and King’s Troubadour Tour), and they haven’t lost (pardon the pun) a beat. If I had to come back to life as any musician, playing any instrument (sorry all you guitar fanatics), I would become Craig Doerge. This keyboardist is a genius. If any of you are interested in hearing how great these musicians are, pick up a copy of Jackson Browne’s “The Pretender” CD. Listen carefully to the piano performances on “The Fuse” and The Pretender.“ Not only is this CD one of Jackson’s finest productions as a phenomenal artist in his own right, but the combination of his heart-felt lyrics, singing, and The Session as his back-up band, make this record, in my opinion, his best (and I have them all). Back to C/N. Buy the CD. I’m sorry if you don’t enjoy it, but I think it’s very much worth the purchase….by….Browne-Eyed Girl…..~


Crosby & Nash’s first album together in more than three years represents their best studio work since CSN&Y’s Deja Vu. While it exhibited a refreshing spareness of texture, Crosby & Nash’s other dual effort suffered from a lack of strong material, with the notable exception of Nash’s haunting "Southbound Train.” Crosby’s and Nash’s solo albums have also emphasized each artist’s weaknesses – in Crosby’s case, spiritless lack of direction; in Nash’s, simplicity verging on the simplistic. Though neither artist can be counted a great writer or singer, together on Wind on the Water their strengths are abundantly in evidence. An impressive coproduction, Wind features many well-known guest musicians, the most important contributions those of guitarist Danny Kortchmar and David Lindley, keyboardist Craig Doerge and drummer Russ Kunkel. 
These talents mesh with astonishing force on the album’s rock centerpiece, Nash’s “Love Work Out.” A harmonized chant, performed in the style of Neil Young’s “Ohio,” the song concludes with an extended arrangement for four guitars that keeps accumulating intensity before being faded. Two other rockers, Crosby’s “Low Down Payment” and Nash’s “Take the Money and Run,” both bitterly cynical commentaries on success, also evidence a resurgence of energy and emotion. 
Several songs feature the acoustically textured lyricism with multiple vocals that Crosby & Nash pioneered so successfully with “Guinnevere” and “Lady of the Islands.” The loveliest are the joint compositions, “Naked in the Rain,” a philosophical mood piece, and “To the Last Whale,” a song in two segments. The first part, written by Crosby, is called “A Critical Mass” and consists of beautiful, fugal part singing without words or instrumentation. The second part, Nash’s “Wind on the Water,” must rank with “Lady of the Islands” and “Southbound Train” as one of his three finest songs; it also boasts the only one of Nash’s politically motivated lyrics whose imagery sustains its rhetoric: 
Over the years you have been hunted 
By the men who threw harpoons 
And in the long run he will kill you 
Just to feed the pets we raise, 
Put the flowers in your vase 
And make the lipstick for your face. 
If Wind on the Water shows Crosby & Nash at the height of their musical powers, it is also suffused with melancholy, resignation and anger. In Crosby’s “Carry Me,” he pictures his dying mother; in “Bittersweet,” he communicates a feeling of being cold, confused and near middle age. Nash’s surrealistic “Cowboy of Dreams” faces the fear of death, and “Love Work Out” violently asserts the need for a lasting personal relationship. Wind on the Water is not an album made by, for or about kids, but the work of men who face being beached like whales on a sandbar by the youth culture and who are determined to survive. They will….. Stephen Holden, Rolling Stone, 12/4/75…….~


After a 1974 tour with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, it only made sense that David Crosby and Graham Nash carry on and make their second album as a duo. Just because the members of CSN&Y rarely got along didn’t mean that the rich blending of Crosby and Nash’s voices should go to waste. This was 1975, and the two gents were now a little older. The music reflected that; it’s an album as gentle as its title. The songs play off a dynamic of Nash’s sing-along pop (listen to “Love Work Out” and “Cowboy of Dreams”) and Crosby’s more figurative turns. It’s rich with themes of death (the beautiful “Carry Me” about the passing of Crosby’s mother), music-biz thievery (“Take the Money and Run,” which features David Lindley’s wonderful violin), the fruitless search for emotional security (the slow-rising “Homeward Through the Haze,” complete with references to Samson and Caesar), and the environment (“To the Last Whale: I. Critical Mass: II. Wind on the Water”). Guests include Jackson Browne, James Taylor, and Carole King, as well as unheralded pedal steel player Ben Keith and The Band’s Levon Helm……~


In my review of Graham Nash – David Crosby, I wrote: 'Now I finally get it. I don’t think David Crosby was an essential musician while I am almost a fan of Graham Nash.’ However, on Wind on the Water the setting amazingly turns upside down! Nash has said that this was a fun album to make; I bet, that was because Crosby was delivering excellent songs and Nash himself took the whole thing lightly and loosely. In most ways, Wind on the Water is a personal triumph of David Crosby – it finds him as powerful as in the best days with The Byrds. 

“Carry Me” (by Crosby), “Bittersweet” (Crosby), “Take the Money and Run” (Nash), “Naked in the Rain” (Crosby), “Low Down Payment” (Crosby) and “To the Last Whale” (Crosby/Nash) are excellent little songs. The rest are not so. “Love Work Out”, featuring Jackson Browne, might be OK but it is overlengthy, while “Homeward Through the Haze” is average despite featuring Carole King. The fact that King, Browne and James Taylor are present unites Wind on the Water with so many singer/songwriter albums of the 1970s. (See: Crosby and Nash were featured on Gorilla by James Taylor and Thoroughbred by Carole King, also featuring Taylor who was featured on some other Carole King albums as well; King was featured on the James Taylor albums One Man Dog and Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, while the latter also featured Joni Mitchell who was featured on Tapestry by Carole King, too, as well as on Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez…) 

The lyric of “Wind on the Water” (the part B of “To the Last Whale”) reminds us that it was the hippies who first had the global ecological consciousness that is going to be required now. There are also socially conscious lyrics on the album. Anyway, Wind on the Water is a good album and actually as close to four star rating as a 3.5 album can be, though it is still a 3.5 album…by…fairyeee ….~




Joel Bernstein, guitar 
Jackson Browne 
David Crosby 
Craig Doerge, keyboards 
Tim Drummond, bass 
Levon Helm, drums 
Ben Keith, guitar 
Carole King, keyboards 
Russ Kunkel, drums 
Danny Kortchmar, bass/guitar 
David Lindley, guitar/violin 
Graham Nash 
Lee Sklar, bass 
Stan Szelest, keyboards 
James “J. T.” Taylor, vocal


Tracklist 
Carry Me 3:34 
Mama Lion 3:15 
Bittersweet 2:37 
Take The Money And Run 3:23 
Naked In The Rain 2:25 
Love Work Out 4:50 
Low Down Payment 4:53 
Cowboy Of Dreams 3:27 
Homeward Through The Haze 4:04 
Fieldworker 2:45 
To The Last Whale… 5:30 
Critical Mass
Wind On The Water 

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