Monday, July 9, 2007

Classic Pick:-->Stills-Young Band - Long May You Run (1976)


"I guess the reason I'm so scared of it is
I stayed there once and I almost fit.
I left before I got out of it."
Stills-Young Band

In 1976, the legendary Stephen Stills and Neil Young decided to go into the studio and cut an album to be known as "Long May You Run". And..."cleverly" calling themselves the Stills-Young Band, expectations from the musical pundits were running high.

Unfortunately, the duo’s album was found to be a great disappointment to the ears of critics and fans, alike...quickly...and unfairly...labeling the music as sloppy and boring. Causing the record to go gentle into that good night.

Even worse, the Stills-Young Band split-up only a few months into their promotional tour (more on this later,)... giving fans another reason to turn their backs.

Giving this thirty year old CD a listen with fresh ears...I found the music to be a surprising collection of fresh, catchy folk-rock with a touch of some jazzy blues. Even more remarkable was neither artist carried any political baggage or agendas into the studio, as each have been want to do... keeping the jams lighter in nature.

“I got religion in the airport, my Lord / They caught me waiting on my baggage when I was bored / Let them chant, let them chant.” (“Let It Shine“) has Stills-Young creating a country boom-chick sing-a-long that has good times written all over it.

And the gentle “Midnight On The Bay” takes the listener on a soft memory with Young adding his trademark harp playing. Nicely done.

“We'll be lost in a corner / That we find in each other / There's so much to share.” (“Ocean Girl”) provides underrated Stills with a nice opportunity to flex his fingers with some tasty guitar sounds.

Even better is the gorgeous barking guitar trade- offs between Stills and Young on the fantastic “Fountainebleau” , a Young composition which recounts the decadence encountered at the famous resort in Miami. This would have been a great number to have seen these rock icons perform on stage.

Stills contributes four of the nine songs...and although they may be a little more challenging for the listener, it is well worth the effort.

The song “Make Love To You” might have sounded like a cheesy sex hound in search of a quick fix in lesser hands. However, Stills, avoids that label by creating a smooth jazzy-blues atmosphere that compliment the lyrics.

“When there’s no more time / And nothing left to do / Who will hear your heart?” (“Guardian Angel”) has Stills giving props to our G.A. by whipping up some funky guitar-keyboard mix with Young adding his high harmonies.

As for the other two offerings from Stills,... “12/8 Blues” and “Black Coral”, the wicked musical interplay between the duo (or whoever was in the studio) is what stands out rather than the lack of clever lyrics.

Of course...it is the title track that has become a staple at Young’s concerts and deservedly so. “Long May You Run” is that rare song that feels just right.
'53 Pontiac Hearse
Simply about a guy who loves and misses his bachelor car, (in this case…a 1953 Pontiac hearse), Young sings “Maybe the Beach Boys have got you now / With those waves singing "Caroline No" / Rollin' down that empty ocean road / Gettin' to the surf on time.” Just hearing Young making his harp moan at the intro can make a heart ache.

This CD is pretty good stuff...with the songs sounding...ageless.

The Stills-Young Tour mentioned earlier, however...was a fluster-cluck from the get go.

Egos, sadly, too heavy for shoulders to carry...infected both of them, with neither able to give more than they got.

Also Stills was making the stereotypical heavy drug use scene on the road... while Young had, for the most part, left that type of recreation behind causing further disharmony.

Of course we all must take these stories with a grain of salt, but suffice it to say that the legendary duo were fire and water at this point.

History shows that by the third month into the tour...Neil Young boogied off on his own...leaving Stephen Stills to continue on the tour alone.

It has been thirty years since just the two of them went into the studio together. Maybe they can both "eat a peach"... and give it another go. Long may they run.

Casey

Stills-Young Band:-->"Fountainbleau" (Long May You Run) (1976) (Own This CD)

1 comment:

Liberty said...

Great great album! This tune you picked and Midnight on the Bay are fantastic. And the title tune aint bad either! Thanks!