415. carry on

“The original version of Crosby Stills Nash + Young‘s Carry On is entirely okay. It makes its point. The revolution may have peaked but, man, we’re still on the edge something beautiful, man, so nothing else to do but carry on, man, to peace love and understanding, man. Live however, captured on 1971’s 4 Way Street, you actually believe it. Love is coming for us all. War shall be forever banned. Richard Nixon will not be re-elected in a year’s time by the single biggest landslide in history, America will not keep mucking around in Vietnam for four more bloody years. It’s the jamming, of course. Neil Young and Steve Stills facing off (with rhythm section Fuzzy Samuels and Johnny Barbata in strong support) riding the wave to heaven’s gate itself, leaving the original song far behind for at least ten minutes. Meanwhile in a hotel in Las Vegas, Hunter Thompson is glimpsing through ancient eyes what he’d come to call the high water mark. These things are not unconnected.” (Philip Random)

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458. long dark road

The Hollies were supposed to be finished by the time the 70s hit (Graham Nash had split to California, hooked with Crosby, Stills and eventually Young; their whole sort of sunny pop psychedelia just wasn’t a thing anymore), but, it turns out, they still had a tricks left, including in Long Dark Road, a serious gaze into the shadows. But not without those three-part harmonies, even if some of the names had changed, and would keep changing.

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564. déjà vu

“It’s 1970, there’s a new decade on the world, and with the Beatles officially broken up, there’s no more important band on the planet than Crosby Stills Nash + Young. At least that’s what Rog thought (boyfriend of my best friend’s big sister), who actually read Rolling Stone magazine and stuff like that. Their album of the moment was Déjà Vu and I guess eleven year old me liked some of it (the hits mostly). But the title track eluded me. Too smooth, I guess, and complicated. But jump ahead a few years, maybe halfway through high school, and it finally got me – so much happening in terms of shades and harmonies and changes, the music itself like a restless, living creature. Marijuana was involved.” (Philip Random)

CSNY-1970

778. frozen smiles

The truly astonishing thing is just how many albums Crosby Stills Nash (and sometimes Young) released between 1969 and the end of the 1970s. And bland and self-indulgent and cocaine beleaguered and ultimately forgettable as way too many of them were (particularly when Neil Young was nowhere to be seen), there was usually at least one nugget where the harmonies would hook up, the melody would soar, you couldn’t help but smile. In the case of 1972’s imaginatively titled Graham Nash and David Crosby, that would’ve been Frozen Smiles.

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The 12 MixTapes of Christmas

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The Twelve Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do with Christmas (beyond being a gift to you) and they’re not actually mix tapes, or CDs for that matter – just mixes, each 49-minutes long, one posted to Randophonic’s Mixcloud for each day of Twelvetide (aka the Twelve Days of Christmas).

The mixes are in fact remnants of an unfinished project from a few years back that had something to do with compiling a playlist for an alternative to Alternative Rock (or whatever) radio station. To be honest, we’re not one hundred percent clear about any of it because somebody spilled (what we hope is) red wine on the official transcript, thus rendering key parts illegible.

Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from David Bowie to Bow Wow Wow to Tuxedomoon to Claudine Longet, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Captain Beefheart, Aphrodite’s Child, Tom Jones, Marilyn Manson, Ike + Tina Turner, anything and everything, as long as it’s good.