If I Could Only Remember My Name

If I Could Only Remember My Name

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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