David Crosby - guitar, vocals
Stephen Stills - guitar, vocals
Graham Nash - guitar, vocals
This recording of Crosby, Stills & Nash was captured for the King Biscuit Flower Hour on September 23rd, 1979 at Battery Park in New York City. The concert sees the group well in their prime, gliding through four songs from their early LPs. Though Neil Young isn't present, the group's core members give a fantastic account of their prodigious musical talent and vocal ability.
The trio open up the set with the Stills' penned "Helplessly Hoping" from their 1969 self-titled debut album. Though it clocks in at less than three minutes, the song demonstrates what made the group so special. Their famous harmonies are on full display, as they share lead vocal duties on this folk classic. They quickly move onto another Stills song, "Change Partners," which was featured on the 1971 album Stephen Stills 2.
From there they move onto two Nash classics: "Teach Your Children" and "Chicago." The two songs show Nash's earnest lyrics and deep optimism, especially in the iconic refrain of the closer where Nash belts "We can change the world / Rearrange the world / It's dying — to get better."
Though the set is short, it is a testament to the impact of the music of CSN, which has had a profound influence on music lovers since the group's inception. From the time they hit the stage, the crowd is plugged in and enthralled, singing along with almost every word from the set. Especially in terms of folk music, CSN have crafted some of the most powerful, delicate harmonies of all-time, and this recording shows that they could replicate them with no trouble in a live setting.
There were no "newbies" in CSN. Formed in 1968, Stephen Stills came from Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds gave up David Crosby, and Graham Nash was a Hollies transplant. The trio had a smooth, folk-rock sound that preached, lamented, and promised social activism via Crosby's thought-provoking lyrics. They are one of the first musical acts to come to mind when the '60s and California are linked in a word-association game.
Crosby was the muse whose message was too often clouded by addictions, and his condition plus the occasional addition of Neil Young, also from Buffalo Springfield, beginning in 1969 led to some of the sweetest ballads, love songs, and introspective plaints of the rock era. Their first album, Crosby, Stills & Nash, in 1969, launched the band into an orbit that rivaled the effect of the Beatles. Still playing, the trio, plus the occasional Young, reunites and tours as one of the world's most popular acts.