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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sometimes when I tune into The River there is a DJ, which can be a little jarring. He takes some of the shear randomness out of the process, and occasionally it is even possible to discern a theme. It is a mild thrill to realize that this is going on, even though it doesn't really improve what gets played all that much. The guy does pretty much what I'd do, or any of us would do, confronted with what sounds like the entire record collections of everyone in my dorm at Geneseo, circa 1975-79-- he says, "Huh. Haven't heard this in a while," then plays it. Admit it, if you came across "Jessie's Girl" right now, you'd do the same thing. Sometimes he throws in some anodyne fact about the music-- it could be that they have him locked in there with a mildewed stack of old Rolling Stone magazines as well.

Lately it seems he has been on a CSNY kick. He played "Ohio" the other day, and this morning, from David Crosby's stoner classic, "If I Could Only Remember My Name" he played "Traction In The Rain". He prefaced the later by talking about Crosby's drug bust-- a true aficionado would have mentioned that the song features Joni Mitchell on autoharp. I'm not sure when it occurred to me that CSNY really piss me off-- I suspect that I came to the realization much later than I should have. Leaving Neil Young out of it for a moment, what an insufferable bunch. Actually, let's leave Young in it for a minute-- isn't it pretty gross that this bunch of hippies made money on a song about Kent State? Even if it is a song with a great guitar hook, which it is, it's pretty hard to listen to them yelping about it.

Now we can leave Young out. At the time Crosby, Stills and Nash seemed pretty groovy, but with the benefit of hindsight, you just know that who got top billing was a huge fight. And what work did they do that was so worthwhile? Stills' first solo album-- the one with "Love the One You're With" was what we called, back in tenth grade, a pretty good guitar album. It would be, what with featured performances by Eric Clapton, back when he was g-d (and nearly as elusive) and Jimi. You have to be impressed with the ego that would mix g-d and Hendrix under his own guitar-- bravo Steve. I still like "If I Could Only Remember My Name", but you don't see me haunting Championship Vinyl looking for a fresh copy. And, I would put it to you, that's it. Apart from Neil Young, those two sides represent the sum total of the worthwhile music that CSN produced after "Deja Vu". When you consider that the worthwhile music on "Crosby, Stills and Nash" and "Deja Vu" amounts to about 50% of each, that's pretty slim pickings. Damn hippies.

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