Remembering David Crosby’s Name CONTENTS
- INTRO: Crosby’s Legacy
- PLAYLIST: The wide-ranging 17-song playlist on Spotify and YouTube. From The Byrds in 1964 to current material, the playlist covers Crosby’s solo work and collaborations with Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Neil Young and more. His first solo album, 1971’s If I Could Only Remember My Name, includes an array of musicians from the Grateful Dead to Joni Mitchell.
- BOOTLEG: David and the Dorks : with a backing band featuring Jerry Garcia and members of the Grateful Dead
- CONCERT: Crosby and The Lighthouse Band play NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert
- CONCERT: Crosby and The Lighthouse Band play live at The Capitol Theatre, December, 2018
- FILM TRAILER: 2019 Remember My Name
DESPITE HIMSELF, DAVID CROSBY IS WORTH REMEMBERING
Aging and flawed, he’s in fine voice and having a moment
If you made a list of top musicians from the 60s and 70s chances are David Crosby wouldn’t come to mind. A founding member of three of the era’s most musically innovative and popular groups –the Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash –eventually adding Young – Crosby wrote himself out of the scene in which he’d been a star player. He careened into epic self destruction earning notoriety throughout the 80s for his drug abuse, jail time and life-threatening health issues.
When Crosby underwent a liver transplant in 1994, talk show host David Letterman famously quipped that the damaged organ had a street value of $20 thousand dollars. Crosby had become better known as a joke than for his fine musicianship and deeply expressive voice.
However, he’s back and having “a moment”. David Crosby turned 78 earlier this month and his profile is trending upwards thanks to a recently released documentary film–the Cameron Crowe-produced Remember My Name– and a fresh gig as Rolling Stone magazine’s resident advice columnist.
Importantly, he’s riding something of a creative revival. Since 2014 he’s released four well-received albums with a variety of collaborators. They include a bunch of younger players who make up The Lighthouse Band featured on 2018’s Here If You Listen. It’s not vintage work but there are a few gems in the new recordings.
Remarkably, Crosby’s voice remains beautifully intact. While he abused his being, the man kept his vocal chords supple and active. He may be the Tony Bennett of the stoner generation.
The Remember My Name Documentary
Seeing the film a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of the important cultural and political role Crosby, Stills and Nash played in the late 60s and early 70s. If they weren’t the house band for the anti-war movement, they were certainly one of its headline acts. From their appearance at 1969’s Woodstock Festival (“this is our second gig and we’re scared shitless”) to their anti-nuclear and save-the-whales activism in the 70s, CSN (and Y) blended progressive politics with soaring harmonies and musically astute compositions.
The 85-minute documentary has candid moments. But it’s ultimately a too generous look at an ego-driven character – one who expresses guarded remorse for his misdeeds and those he hurt. While revealing, Crosby’s contrition fails to communicate much wisdom or knowing. This from a man whose nuanced lyrical observations were among some of the best of their time.
It’s telling too that none of the musicians he counted as best friends in his heyday agreed to be interviewed for the film. Crosby is no longer on speaking terms with most of them.
David Crosby’s legacy is mixed. He’s a flawed human and lucky to be alive. His musical contributions over a 50-year career, however, are decidedly worth listening to and remembering.
• A special thank you to my friend and Kurated reader Michael Jenner for his excellent contributions to this column especially for the Byrds-era Crosby information.
Orleans: David Crosby solo 1971 and with Graham Nash 1998
• Crosby and Nash recorded four studio albums as well as several live collections
Music Is Love: David Crosby 1971
Deja Vu: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
It Happens Each Day: The Byrds 1964
Eight Miles High: The Byrds 1966
Too Young To Die: David Crosby singing a Jimmy Webb cover 1993
Balanced on a Pin: Crosby with the Lighthouse Band 2018
I’d Swear There Was Somebody Here: Crosby 1971
Guinevere: CSN 1969
Wooden Ships: CSN 1969
Long Time Gone: Crosby, Stills and Nash 1969
Laughing: David Crosby 1971
Carry Me: Crosby Nash 1975
Set That Baggage Down: Crosby 2014
Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves): Crosby 1971
Lady Friend: The Byrds 1967
What’s Happening?: The Byrds 1967
NPR Tiny Desk ConcertKurated shares music old and new.
If you’re receiving this edition of and you’re not a subscriber, it’s because I thought you might be interested in this week’s topic.
24 August 2019