- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
|Stephen Stills||Indexed Contributor|
|Stephen Stills||Composer, Producer, Liner Notes|
|Howard Albert||Producer, Engineer|
|Bill DeYoung||Liner Notes|
Posted October 1, 2010
I Also Recommend:
Stephen Stills has often said that Manassass was the best band he played in.
Pretty strong stuff coming from the architect of the Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills and Nash, and CSN&Y, but arguably its true. Disllusioned by the inner turmoil of the CSN experience and just turned on to Country music - funny, since he grew up around it in Texas and in Florida, Stills turned to another former Byrd, (and a more disciplined one than Crosby) Chris Hillman, who was practically burned out on the Burrito experience, to form an eclectic band that could cover and smoke on practically all kinds of popular music, Rock, Country, Folk, R&B, Latin and the result was Manassas
In its three-year career Manassas recorded two albums, the first, a self-titled four-lp monster that was received with critical acclaim and which the band was able to present entirely live in concert. By the time that they recorded their second album "Down the Road" several of the members of the band had been too abusive with their drug use, and one could hear the sad results in "Down the Road" despite some highlights from both Stills and Hillman. Lured by record company execs to reform CSN, Stills lost interest, Hillman joined J.D. Souther and Richie Furay (ironically another Buffalo Springfield alumni), and Manassas folded.
Flash forward 36 years after the demise of Manassas. Stephen Stills has generously opened his vaults and released "Pieces" which by any stretch of the imagination should have been the album released after that four-record set. Not only does it contain re-worked (at the time) versions of Hillman's "Lies" featuring Joe Walsh on smoking slide, but also a couple of Byron Berline fiddle-flavored Stills meets Burritos outtakes, and a subdued but very effective Hillman-sung version of the Country Classic and Burritos favorite "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, and Loud, Loud Music". There's also an early version of "Love and Satisfy" a song Hillman later released on the second Souther-Hillman-Furay album.
Stills also brings to the table the Manassas version of "Sugar Babe",steel-flavored, courtesy of Al Perkins which is incredibly better than the original version, and the original version was great. He also shines on the Blues numbers, and on an very intriguing Country-flavored "Fox On The Run" with Bonnie Raitt and Hillman contributing backing vocals accompanied by Perkins on Steel (one wonders if this song was a derivative of Manfred Mann's pop hit in England, "Fox on the Run" three years earlier - and probably brought to Stills attention by Graham Nash). Also not to be missed is another re-worked or demo song that later appeared on "Down the Road" - "Do You Remember the Americans" which is sadly missing the harmony vocals on the "Down the Road" version.
After listening to these never-before-released tracks one wishes - and hopes that there are more Manassas tracks in the home vaults of Stephen Stills, and that one day he will released them, along with a Manassas Live album one keeps hearing rumors about.
* a historical note is appropriate here: the name Manassas came from Stills's interest in the Civil War and a visit by the band to the Manassas (Bull Run) railroad station in Virginia. The station, which is close to the actual battlefields, was an assembly point for Confederate reinforcements in the First Bull Run battle; later
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.