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Graham Nash - Songs For Beginners

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Songs For Beginners

Graham Nash

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Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's solo debut apart from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Released in 1971, it is a collection of songs that reflect change, transition, and starting over. The set was recorded in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the immediate aftermath of Nash's traumatic breakup with Joni Mitchell. Unlike the colorful dynamism of Stephen Stills' eponymous debut recording, or the acid-drenched cosmic cowboy spaciness of David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, Nash's album is by contrast a much more humble and direct offering. It is a true, mostly introspective songwriter's album full of beautifully performed and wonderfully recorded songs that reflect transition, movement, the desire to look backward and forward simultaneously. Like the aforementioned offering, this one is star-studded in its choice of players and singers: Crosby, Chris Ethridge, Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King, Venetta Fields, Dave Mason, Neil Young (under the pseudonym "Joe Yankee"), David Lindley, Bobby Keys, Phil Lesh, Dallas Taylor, and drummer John Barbata reflect some of the personnel on this heady yet humble session. The album is bookended by two of Nash's best-known tunes, the anthemic "Military Madness" that remains timeless in the 21st century, and "Chicago," that doesn't. That said, they are among the weakest songs here -- which reveals what a solid collection it is. Unlike many recordings birthed from personal angst, Nash's engages in no self pity; instead, he focuses on the craft of songwriting itself. Despite its personal darkness, "Better Days," with its swirling piano and pronounced bassline, is also an actual paean to self-determination and perseverance, the logic being that there were better days in the past, so there must be better ones in the future as well. "I Used to Be a King," with Garcia on a gorgeous pedal steel and Lesh on bass, is a direct, mature response to "King Midas in Reverse," a song Nash wrote and recorded with the Hollies. "Simple Man," with its sparse melody and strings and a fine backing vocal from Coolidge, was written on the afternoon of the breakup with Mitchell. The violin-cello backdrop to Nash's piano is particularly effective and makes this one of his most memorable songs. The parlor room country waltz that commences "Man in the Mirror," features Garcia's steel, Young's piano, ex-Flying Burrito Brother Ethridge, and drummer Barbata; it shifts keys, tempo, and feel about a third of the way in with a very long bridge that transforms the song's sentiment as well. Ultimately, Songs for Beginners is the strongest of Nash's solo efforts (outside of his work with Crosby).
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Songs For Beginners

Graham Nash

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1
Military Madness LP Version
00:02:55

Dave Mason, Guitar - Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Joel Bernstein, Piano - Rita Coolidge, Backing Vocals - Pat Arnold, Backing Vocals - Calvin Samuels, Bass Guitar - Johnny Barbata, Drums

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

2
Better Days LP Version
00:03:49

Dallas Taylor, Drums - Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Rita Coolidge, Backing Vocals - Calvin Samuels, Piano - Larry Cox, Clarinet - Seemon Posthuma, Clarinet - Joe Yankee, Acoustic Guitar, Organ

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

3
Wounded Bird LP Version
00:02:13

Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

4
I Used to Be a King LP Version
00:04:40

David Crosby, Electric Guitar - Phil Lesh, Bass Guitar - NEIL YOUNG, Piano - Jerry Garcia, Guitar - Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Johnny Barbata, Drums

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

5
Be Yourself LP Version
00:03:08

Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Rita Coolidge, Electric Piano - Calvin Samuels, Bass Guitar - Johnny Barbata, Drums

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

6
Simple Man LP Version
00:02:16

Graham nash, Piano, Backing Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - David Lindley, Violin - Rita Coolidge, Vibraphone, Backing Vocals - Stephen Barncard, Producer - Dorian Rudnytsky, Cello

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

7
Man in the Mirror LP Version
00:02:47

David Crosby, Producer, Vocals - NEIL YOUNG, Producer, Guitar, Vocals - Stephen Stills, Producer - Graham nash, Producer, Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

8
There's Only One LP Version
00:04:00

Chris Ethridge, Bass Guitar - Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Rita Coolidge, Piano, Backing Vocals - Bobby Keys, Saxophone - Shirley Matthews, Backing Vocals - Clydie King, Backing Vocals - Johnny Barbata, Drums - Vanetta Fields, Backing Vocals - Larry Cox, Organ - Dorothy Morrison, Backing Vocals

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

9
Sleep Song LP Version
00:02:58

Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Dorian Rudnytsky, Cello

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

10
Chicago LP Version
00:02:51

Chris Ethridge, Bass Guitar - Graham nash, Producer, Band Member, Writer, MainArtist - Johnny Barbata, Drums

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

11
We Can Change the World LP Version
00:01:06

Chris Ethridge, Bass Guitar - Graham nash, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Rita Coolidge, Piano, Backing Vocals - Bobby Keys, Saxophone - Shirley Matthews, Backing Vocals - Clydie King, Backing Vocals - Johnny Barbata, Drums - Vanetta Fields, Backing Vocals - Larry Cox, Organ - Dorothy Morrison, Backing Vocals

2004 Atlantic Recording Corp. Manufactured & Marketed by Warner Strategic Marketing 1971 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.

Descripción del álbum

Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's solo debut apart from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Released in 1971, it is a collection of songs that reflect change, transition, and starting over. The set was recorded in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the immediate aftermath of Nash's traumatic breakup with Joni Mitchell. Unlike the colorful dynamism of Stephen Stills' eponymous debut recording, or the acid-drenched cosmic cowboy spaciness of David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, Nash's album is by contrast a much more humble and direct offering. It is a true, mostly introspective songwriter's album full of beautifully performed and wonderfully recorded songs that reflect transition, movement, the desire to look backward and forward simultaneously. Like the aforementioned offering, this one is star-studded in its choice of players and singers: Crosby, Chris Ethridge, Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King, Venetta Fields, Dave Mason, Neil Young (under the pseudonym "Joe Yankee"), David Lindley, Bobby Keys, Phil Lesh, Dallas Taylor, and drummer John Barbata reflect some of the personnel on this heady yet humble session. The album is bookended by two of Nash's best-known tunes, the anthemic "Military Madness" that remains timeless in the 21st century, and "Chicago," that doesn't. That said, they are among the weakest songs here -- which reveals what a solid collection it is. Unlike many recordings birthed from personal angst, Nash's engages in no self pity; instead, he focuses on the craft of songwriting itself. Despite its personal darkness, "Better Days," with its swirling piano and pronounced bassline, is also an actual paean to self-determination and perseverance, the logic being that there were better days in the past, so there must be better ones in the future as well. "I Used to Be a King," with Garcia on a gorgeous pedal steel and Lesh on bass, is a direct, mature response to "King Midas in Reverse," a song Nash wrote and recorded with the Hollies. "Simple Man," with its sparse melody and strings and a fine backing vocal from Coolidge, was written on the afternoon of the breakup with Mitchell. The violin-cello backdrop to Nash's piano is particularly effective and makes this one of his most memorable songs. The parlor room country waltz that commences "Man in the Mirror," features Garcia's steel, Young's piano, ex-Flying Burrito Brother Ethridge, and drummer Barbata; it shifts keys, tempo, and feel about a third of the way in with a very long bridge that transforms the song's sentiment as well. Ultimately, Songs for Beginners is the strongest of Nash's solo efforts (outside of his work with Crosby).
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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