4 Way Street (Live)

4 Way Street (Live)

CSN&Y were four distinct performers who somehow struck a tentative balance between ambition and ego to record some of the most definitive music of the hippie era. This ‘double live’ album (expanded in its 1992 edition) is a sloppy, sprawling epic with stage patter and loose jamming that dates it accordingly. Its lack of studio perfectionism actually becomes its chief asset. There is undeniable musical firepower driving the album’s finest tunes. Neil Young, in particular, sharpens his pen and attack with “Southern Man,” “Ohio” and “Cowgirl in the Sand.” The guitar exchanges between Young and Stephen Stills have their ragged and glorious moments among the self-indulgent asides. The off-time clapping that trails “Teach Your Children” makes for a chuckle and an honest snapshot of the experience, while “Carry On” does exactly that. The reissue adds much welcomed tracks such as Graham Nash’s Hollies’ “King Midas in Reverse,” Stephen Stills’ “Black Queen” and Young’s “The Loner / Cinnamon Girl / Down By the River” medley. A true documentary for the times.

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