Though it only lasted 18 months, Manassas proved to be one of the best musical vehicles ever assembled by leader Stephen Stills. The odds and ends collected on Pieces show how consistently eclectic and interesting this genre-busting septet could be. These early ‘70s recordings — mostly alternate studio tracks and rehearsal tapes — find Stills in revitalized form, singing with a smoky, evocative edge and laying down incisive lead guitar. The simmering “Witching Hour,” the gospel-infused “Like a Fox” and the self-revelatory “I Am My Brother” are worthy additions to his song catalogue. Also strong are band mate Chris Hillman’s driving country-rocker “Lies” and the surprisingly funky “Love and Satisfy.” Al Perkins’s pedal steel work is particularly impressive, especially when he adds his swooning licks to the Latin tune “Tan Sola Y Triste.” A spirited romp through “Panhandle Rag” and “Uncle Pen” (taken from a Stills/Flying Burrito Brothers studio jam) reveals Manassas’s traditional country underpinnings. Pieces gathers valuable fragments of the band’s brief history.

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