9 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Although it has long been overshadowed by works from his better-known bandmates Neil Young and Stephen Stills, David Crosby’s 1971 solo debut is beginning to receive its due as a vivid portrayal of post-hippie malaise. The sublimely sedated grooves of “Cowboy Movie” and “Laughing” are a clear continuation of the patented CSNY vibe, but with Crosby as ringleader the proceedings become hazier and hazier until we are left with the hypnotic wordless incantations of “Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves).” At the time of its release the album was dismissed as aimless and pretentious, and those claims are not entirely unfounded. But over the years Crosby’s lone solo statement (he wouldn’t make another solo album until 1989) came to signify something more than marijuana ramblings. Like John Phillip’s Wolfking of L.A. and Gene Clark’s No Other, If I Could Only Remember My Name doesn’t sound so much like the party as the morning after. This is the sound of all those Woodstock vibes evaporating in a warm California breeze. It’s not “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” but it is, in its own sad way, just as sweet.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Although it has long been overshadowed by works from his better-known bandmates Neil Young and Stephen Stills, David Crosby’s 1971 solo debut is beginning to receive its due as a vivid portrayal of post-hippie malaise. The sublimely sedated grooves of “Cowboy Movie” and “Laughing” are a clear continuation of the patented CSNY vibe, but with Crosby as ringleader the proceedings become hazier and hazier until we are left with the hypnotic wordless incantations of “Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves).” At the time of its release the album was dismissed as aimless and pretentious, and those claims are not entirely unfounded. But over the years Crosby’s lone solo statement (he wouldn’t make another solo album until 1989) came to signify something more than marijuana ramblings. Like John Phillip’s Wolfking of L.A. and Gene Clark’s No Other, If I Could Only Remember My Name doesn’t sound so much like the party as the morning after. This is the sound of all those Woodstock vibes evaporating in a warm California breeze. It’s not “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” but it is, in its own sad way, just as sweet.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
116 Ratings

116 Ratings

Hank Harrison ,

If I Could Only Remember My Name

Most of the other reviews miss the point of this album, so I will tell you the secret right out....I was in the studio when this thing was cut back in 1971-72, at least the parts that were cut at Wally Heiders in San Francisco. This is Volumn #1 in the evolution of the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra, that means that everybody on the album had equal star status in the eyes of the others, a total peer review album. The tune "What are their Names," was sung while the entire vocal ensemble formed a circle, somewhat like a Quaker or Native American sing-song. Call it political witchcraft if you wish.

Thus, while the younger reviewers seem to have discovered the music, they need to know about the emotional levels found on the album. Try to visualize Phil Lesh and Grace Slick, Paul Kanter, Crosby, Grahm Nash, and Davids' favorite Back up singer, Joni Mitchell, plus a few others ...holding hands in a circle singing, loud, focused hexing chants. This is probably the best folk rock album ever produced. All contributors were at the top of thier form.

philm ,

If I Could Only Remember My Name

I bought this album when it was first released in 1971. I lived in San Francisco and couldn't pass up David Crosby's album. He recorded this when he lived across the Golden Gate bridge in Marin County California. It has musicans from the Grateful Dead, Santana, the Jefferson Airlane, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Graham Nash during the peak of their creative" juices" . Don't miss Tamalpais High, Song With NO Words, and especially Cowboy Movie which is a tongue and cheek discription of band memebers fighting over Rita Coolidge.

Garrett Deane ,

This album is a hidden treasure

Just about perfect. Not exactly CSN, although just as good. Somehow, with the help of a small city of musician friends, Crosby cleaned up enough to release an album you can easily play from start to finish. Too often Crosby's other material (as well as Nash and Stills') can be cheezy at times. Not here at all. Except for the second rate cover art. Couldn't Joni have painted a picture or something? The only question is, if he got sober earlier on and released more solo albums back then, would they all have been so good?

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