Genre: Pop Rock
Label: Rhino
Format: 33RPM,
Size: 12"


Stephen Stills Manassas 180g 2LP

Stephen Stills

Availability: Discontinued
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After stops in The Buffalo Springfield, CSN(&Y) and a few solo albums for the Atlantic label, Stills recruited musical kindred-spirits including the likes of Chris Hillman (The Byrds) to form Manassas. The resulting debut, a 2-LP set from 1972, has been a perennial favorite since its' release. It's a big bubbling cauldron of country-rock-blue(s)-grass with blue eyed soul mixings plus Stills' penchant for Latin riffs (Suite: Judy Blue Eyes) thrown in for flavor. This collection not only showcases Stills' trademark voice and song writing, but finally lets his fiery guitar playing blaze through.

A sprawling masterpiece, akin to the Beatles' White Album, the Stones' Exile on Main St., or Wilco's Being There in its makeup, if not its sound. Rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass have all been styles touched on in Stephen Stills' career, and the skilled, energetic musicians he had gathered in Manassas played them all on this album. What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement. The songs are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl release) is titled "The Raven," and is a composite of rock and Latin sounds that the group would often perform in full live. "The Wilderness" mainly centers on country and bluegrass (Chris Hillman's and Al Perkins' talents coming to the forefront), with the track "So Begins the Task" later covered by Stills' old flame Judy Collins. Part three, "Consider" is largely folk and folk-rock. "Johnny's Garden," reportedly for the caretaker at Stills' English manor house and not for John Lennon as is often thought, is a particular highlight. Two other notables from the "Consider" section are "It Doesn't Matter" (later redone with different lyrics by the song's uncredited co-writer Rick Roberts on the first Firefall album) and "Move Around," which features some of the first synthesizer used in a rock context. The closing section, titled "Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay," is a rock and blues set with one of the landmarks of Manassas' short life, the epic "The Treasure." A sort of Zen-like meditation on love and "oneness," enlivened by the band's most inspired recorded playing it evolves into a bluesy groove washed in Stills' fierce electric slide playing. The delineation lines of the four themed song groupings aren't cut in stone, though, and one of the strengths of the album is that there is a lot of overlap in styles throughout. Unfortunately, the album has been somewhat overlooked over the years, even though Stills considers it some of the best work he has done. Bill Wyman (who guested on "The Love Gangster") has said he would have quit the Rolling Stones to join Manassas.

• Double LP
• Rhino Remastered from the Original Master Tape
• Cut by Bernie Grundman
• 180g Audiophile Vinyl
• Gatefold jacket

1. Song of Love
2. Rock and Roll Crazies
3. Cuban Bluegrass
4. Jet Set (Sigh)
5. Anyway
6. Both of Us (Bound to Lose)
7. Fallen Eagle
8. Jesus Gave Love Away for Free
9. Colorado
10. So Begins the Task
11. Hide It So Deep
12. Don't Look at My Shadow
13. It Doesn't Matter
14. Johnny's Garden
15. Bound To Fall
16. How Far
17. Move Around
18. The Love Gangster
19. What To Do
20. Right Now
21. The Treasure
22. Blues Man

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