Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stephen Stills - Selftitled (1970)

(U.S 1962 - Present)

Born in Dallas, Texas, Jan 3, 1945, Stephen Stills is a singer and something of a multi-instrumentalist - guitar, keyboards, drums. Back in the 60's, he played local folk-clubs, before dropping out of university to go to New York. There he performed with various groups, including Au Go Go Singers with Richie Furay, but was eventually lured to Los Angeles by what he felt was more creative musical environment.
He made abortive attempt to form a band with Van Dyke Parks, auditioned unsuccessfully for membership with the Monkees, and finally called the aforementioned Furay from New York to assist him in assembling a new band which became the legendary Buffalo Springfield. It was Stills who wrote Springfield's first U.S. hit in early 1967, the politically-conscious "For What It's Worth", plus other group stand-outs "Bluebird" and "Rock And Roll Woman".

When this group split in May 1968, Stills worked on a variety of projects: he turned down an offer to replace Al Kooper in Blood Sweat & Tears but he did cut a Super-session jam album, August 1968, with Kooper and Mike Bloomfield; and also played guitar for his girlfriend Judy Collins on her Who Knows Where The Time Goes? album (Nov 1968); and bass on Joni Mitchell's debut album (July 1968). He is also said during this period to have taken guitar lessons from Jimi Hendrix and cut a number of unreleased tracks with drummer Dallas Taylor.

Then in December 1968, Stills announced the team-up of Crosby Stills & Nash, which would produce an astonishing eponymous debut album evidencing Stills at peak of creativity. His epic-length Suite: "Judy Blue Eyes", written for Judy Collins, was that outfit's first U.S. hit (CSN&Y). Stills recorded his first solo album during latter days of this colossally-successful aggregation's traumatic life-span. When CSN&Y ended world tour at London's Royal Albeit Hall, February 1970, Stills stayed in England purchasing Ringo Stair's Surrey mansion for some £90,000. Employing a variety of stellar musicians - Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Sebastian, Crosby, Nash, Booker T., Cass Elliott, etc. - his selftitled solo album was cut at Island Studios, London, and Wally Heider's and Record Plant in Los Angeles and was an impressive solo debut. Hendrix had O.D.'d between recording and release in November 1970, and the set was dedicated to "James Marshall Hendrix".

Stills returned to CSN&Y for last few months of band's existence, then formed first own group line-ups using Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels (bass), Dallas Taylor (drums), both ex CSN&Y side-men, plus Paul Harris (keyboards), Stephen Fromhob (guitar) and Memphis Horns brass section for tour purposes. Nucleus of band came together at Stills' Surrey home and he embarked on 52-date U.S. tour to promote second album, the somewhat less assured Stephen Stills II (July 1971).

This band metamorphosed into Manassas in October 1971 via Miami recording sessions on which Stills used services of singer/ guitarist Chris Hillman (ex Byrds, Flying Burritos) and Al Perkins (pedal steel). Hillman was virtual second-in-command to Stills' often outstanding and widely-acclaimed outfit; other members being Samuels, Taylor and Harris, and newcomer Joe Lala. Samuels later replaced by Kenny Passarelli.
The   band   toured   extensively and recorded two albums, including the classic double-set Manassas (May 1972) and Down The Road (January 1973).

However, in September 1973, Hillman, Perkins and Harris split to form Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Stills, who had married French singer Veronique Sanson in spring 1973 and was by then living in Colorado, formed a second version of Stephen Stills Band retaining Lala, Passarelli, and bringing in guitarist Donnie Dacus, keyboardsman Jerry Aiello and noted session-drummer Russ Kunkel (James Taylor, etc.). This was only short-lived aggregation, however, because in May 1974 occurred the much-rumoured reunion of Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Lala and, briefly, Kunkel joined CSN&Y back-up squad for highly lucrative, widely-publicised one-off world tour ending in London February 1975.

By this time Stills had severed long-standing contract with Atlantic and signed to Columbia, who released Stills in June 1975. Something of a hotch-potch of material dating over previous five years, this failed to halt widespread opinion that Stills' talents were on decline - although the album was notable for record debut of aforementioned Donnie Dacus. Dacus, a young protege of Stills, co-wrote a number of tracks, and was important fixture in third incarnation of Steve Stills Band formed March 1975. Other personnel were Lala and Aiello, plus Ronald Ziegler (drums) and George Perry (bass).

Second Columbia album Illegal Stills (May 1976) was more spirited attempt to recapture former glory; later in '76 he teamed with Neil Young for a tour and album, and in 1977 recorded a reunion set with Crosby and Nash. [extract from The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock, by Nick Logan and Bob Woffindon, Salamander Books Limited, 1977 p225]

Album Review
Stephen Stills had nothing to prove, but he still did it anyway. A superstar of late Sixties California soft rock, Stills was already familiar with success by the time his first solo album came out. While in Buffalo Springfield he wrote the classic counterculture anthem "For What is Worth"; by 1970 he was a million-seller. At 25, the Texas-born musician had enjoyed a golden age few could touch.

However, critics underrated Stills in comparison with comrades Neil Young, David Crosby, and David Nash. With this album, he shut them all up.

Backed by an all-star lineup—including Jimi Hendrix (to whom the album is dedicated), Eric Clapton, BookerT, Crosby, Rita Coolidge, Nash, John Sebastian, and Cass Elliot—Stills' raspy voice and strumming guitar injects the standard singer-songwriter formula with his idiosyncratic combination of grit and melancholy. The album fuses CSN&Y high harmonies ("Do for The Others"), gospel-soaked R&B in the Leon Russell / Joe Cocker school (the splendorous "Church"), Latin rhythms (the passionately driven single "Love The One You're With," a radio favorite), folk blues (electric in "Go Back Home," acoustic in the live track "Black Queen"), and hard rock (funky, driven "Old Times Good Times"). A reflective quality is never far below the surface, though.

The song "We Are Not Helpless" was written in response to Neil Young's song "Helpless" from the Déjà Vu album and the song and "Black Queen" have remained in the performing repertoire of both Stills and CSN. "Love the One You're With," Stills' biggest solo hit single, peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 on December 19, 1970, and another single pulled from the album, "Sit Yourself Down," went to #37 on March 27, 1971.

The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in the week of December 5, 1970. It was reissued by WEA after being digitally remastered using the HDCD process on December 5, 1995. "We Are Not Helpless" and "Love the One You're With" were first performed in concert on May 12, 1970 during Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Déjà Vu tour.

Ten superb songs sketch a soulful journey through a deeply personal Ecclesiastes of love, and the lack of it. With his debut album, Stephen Stills manages to imprint his own strong and lyrical signature on a vibrant mosaic of American music.

This album has been listed in Michael Lydon's well known book '1001 Albums you Must Hear Before You Die'

This post consists of FLACS and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my shrink wrapped vinyl which I purchased from Reading Records in Carlton back in 1978, for the pricely sum of $12.99 (US Print / Import) . As a poor Uni Student this was a considerable outlay, but my key objective was to own anything that was associated with Hendrix - in this case the track "Old Times Good Times" features him on guitar.  Full album artwork for both LP and CD are included along with several single picture covers for his infamous "Love The One You're With" .
So, this is one album you can strike off the list - only 1,000 to go.....
Track Listing
01. "Love the One You're With" – 3:04

02. "Do for the Others" – 2:52
03. "Church (Part of Someone) – 4:05
04. "Old Times Good Times"** – 3:39
05. "Go Back Home" – 5:54
06. "Sit Yourself Down" – 3:05
07. "To a Flame" – 3:08
08. "Black Queen" – 5:26
09. "Cherokee" – 3:23
10. "We Are Not Helpless" – 4:20
** Features Jimi Hendrix on guitar

Stephen Stills — vocals, guitars, bass, piano, organ, steel drum, percussion; horn and string arrangements on "Church," "To a Flame," and "Cherokee"
Jimi Hendrix — electric guitar on "Old Times Good Times"
Eric Clapton — electric guitar on "Go Back Home"
Booker T. Jones — organ on "Cherokee"; backing vocal on "We Are Not Helpless"
Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuel — bass on "Love the One You're With," "Church," "Old Times Good Times," "Go Back Home," and "Sit Yourself Down"
Conrad Isedor — drums on "Church" and "Old Times Good Times"
Johnny Barbata — drums on "Go Back Home" and "Sit Yourself Down"
Ringo Starr — drums on "To a Flame" and "We Are Not Helpless"
Dallas Taylor — drums on "Cherokee"
Jeff Whittaker — congas on "Love the One You're With" and "Old Times Good Times"
Sidney George — flute, alto saxophone on "Cherokee"
Rita Coolidge, David Crosby, Priscilla Jones, John Sebastian — backing vocals on "Love the One You're With," "Go Back Home," "Sit Yourself Down," and "We Are Not Helpless"

Graham Nash — backing vocals on "Love the One You're With," "Sit Yourself Down," and "We Are Not Helpless"
Stephen Stills MP3 Link (103Mb) New Link 25/08/2017

Stephen Stills FLACs Link (243Mb)


  1. Replies
    1. Gidday David
      Refreshed the MP3 link to another host. Enjoy this great album

  2. I love this album. I bought a lot of other Steve Stills albums but none of them impressed me as much. Highlights include the wah wah guitar on "Go Back Home", the acoustic guitar on "Black Queen", Jimi's solo. I just bought the "new" Jimi Hendrix cd "Both Sides Of The Sky" and there are two Steve Stills tracks on there - one is his own composition "$20 Fine" and the other is a cover of "Woodstock". Stills plays organ and sings lead on both. Stills sounds great but it's a slightly disappointing cd with a definite bottom of the barrel feel about it. Yet another version of "Hear My Train A Comin'", "Lover Man' and "Stepping Stone"

    1. Thanks for the quick review of the new Hendrix release Ed. I'll be picking up a copy when it's in the shops for sure. Interesting to hear that there is a Stephen Stills connection as well.