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Rob Greaves

The Cream of The Crate - Record #8

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From the Cream of The Crate Series – An album in my collection that is irreplaceable, and simply a classic!

Number eight in the series of albums I’m featuring is a classic from the early 1970’s, and in many ways sums up the feelings that was created by Woodstock, held on August of 1969 not all that long before the release of this album in March 1970.

Déjà vu is the second release with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and the first for the group as a quartet when joined by Neil Young.
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Their individual stories should be well know, with David Crosby joining via The Byrds; Stephen Stills via Buffalo Springfield; Graham Nash recruited from the English hit makers, the Hollies; and finally, the enigmatic Neil Young – the Canadian who helped form Buffalo Springfield.

This album was initially panned by Rolling Stonewho said among many things, “Along with many other people, I had hoped that the addition of Neil Young to Crosby, Stills, and Nash would give their music the guts and substance which the first album lacked…….. Despite Young's formidable job on many of the cuts, the basic sound hasn't changed a whit. It's still too sweet, too soothing, too perfect, and too good to be true……. for me Crosby, Stills and Nash — plus or minus Neil Young — will probably remain the band that asks the question, "What can we do that would be really heavy?" And then answers, "How about something by Joni Mitchell?"
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Interestingly many years later they were to change their tune and rate it as #147 of the top 500 albums of all time, saying, “Neil Young transformed the folk-rock CSN into a powerhouse – offering pop idealism (Graham Nash's "Teach Your Children"), militant blues (David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair") and vocal-choir gallop (Stephen Stills' "Carry On"). The achingly plaintive "Helpless" is prime early Young.

Yet other reviews were glowing. Allmusic wrote, “One of the most hotly awaited second albums in history -- right up there with those by the Beatles and the Band -- Déjà Vu lived up to its expectations and rose to number one on the charts.

When I purchased this album, it grabbed me by my (then) long hair and shook me around. I loved it. Now, over 40 years later I listen back and marvel at the harmonies, at the edge Neil Young gave to an already fantastic singing trio. The compositions are strong, they tell of hope, with ‘Teach Your Children’, concern with ‘Carry On’ and even the militant blues feeling (as identified by Rolling Stone) with, ‘I Nearly Cut My Hair’ - a song of praise with the wonderful ‘Our House’, and the whole thing is neatly tied up with the Anthem of a Generation – ‘Woodstock’.
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I listen back and I truly believe there is not a weak track on this album. It’s a product of four potent musical talents who were all ascending to the top of their game coupled with some very skilled production, engineering, and editing. It represents closeness between them that would not be reproduced again. It was a great moment in recording, and particularly represents a moment in social harmony that would not last long.

Track Listing
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#1 – Howling Wolf: Real Folk Blues

#2 – Otis Redding: Otis Blue/ Otis Redding Sings Soul

#3 – Dr John The Night Tripper: Gris Gris

#4 – Spectrum: ROYGBIV

#5 – Son House: The Real Delta Blues

#6 – Cruisin ‘61

#7 – Live At The Station Hotel

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Updated 8th April 2013 at 09:25 PM by Mick Pacholli

Rob Greaves , The Cream of The Crate