Songs for Beginners
The depth and intensity of Graham Nash's 1971 solo debut reflect the change that was coming at him from all angles, especially his break-up with Joni Mitchell — the muse of "Wounded Bird." But opening with "Military Madness" sets the tone with some politically charged sentiment seeping in from his earthy recordings with CSN&Y, though it also bounces on a catchier pop sensibility culled from Nash's tenure with the Hollies. "Chicago" reveals Nash's penchant for pulling a pop song out of subject matter as dark as the Chicago Eight's trial and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in much the same way that Neil Young did with the Kent State Massacre in CSN&Y's "Ohio." Young plays piano on the twangy "Man In the Mirror" and on "Better Days," a triumphant tune that celebrates finding one's confidence in desperate times. Other notable guests include Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, David Crosby, Phil Lesh and some of the era's A-list studio guns. Nearly four decades after its release, this album is still so influential that artists like Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Vetiver, Brendan Benson and others have recorded covers for Be Yourself, a tribute to Songs For Beginners.