Songs for Beginners [CD/DVD]

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's solo debut apart from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Released in 1971, it is a collection of songs that reflect change, transition, and starting over. The set was recorded in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the immediate aftermath of Nash's traumatic breakup with Joni Mitchell. Unlike the colorful dynamism of Stephen Stills' eponymous debut recording, or the acid-drenched cosmic cowboy spaciness of David Crosby'sIf I Could Only Remember My Name, Nash's album is by contrast a much more humble and direct offering. It is a true, mostly introspective songwriter's album full of beautifully performed and wonderfully recorded songs ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's solo debut apart from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Released in 1971, it is a collection of songs that reflect change, transition, and starting over. The set was recorded in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the immediate aftermath of Nash's traumatic breakup with Joni Mitchell. Unlike the colorful dynamism of Stephen Stills' eponymous debut recording, or the acid-drenched cosmic cowboy spaciness of David Crosby'sIf I Could Only Remember My Name, Nash's album is by contrast a much more humble and direct offering. It is a true, mostly introspective songwriter's album full of beautifully performed and wonderfully recorded songs that reflect transition, movement, the desire to look backward and forward simultaneously. Like the aforementioned offering, this one is star-studded in its choice of players and singers: Crosby, Chris Ethridge, Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King, Venetta Fields, Dave Mason, Neil Young (under the pseudonym "Joe Yankee"), David Lindley, Bobby Keys, Phil Lesh, Dallas Taylor, and drummer John Barbata reflect some of the personnel on this heady yet humble session. The album is bookended by two of Nash's best-known tunes, the anthemic "Military Madness" that remains timeless in the 21st century, and "Chicago," that doesn't. That said, they are among the weakest songs here -- which reveals what a solid collection it is. Unlike many recordings birthed from personal angst, Nash's engages in no self pity; instead, he focuses on the craft of songwriting itself. Despite its personal darkness, "Better Days," with its swirling piano and pronounced bassline, is also an actual paean to self-determination and perseverance, the logic being that there were better days in the past, so there must be better ones in the future as well. "I Used to Be a King," with Garcia on a gorgeous pedal steel and Lesh on bass, is a direct, mature response to "King Midas in Reverse," a song Nash wrote and recorded with the Hollies. "Simple Man," with its sparse melody and strings and a fine backing vocal from Coolidge, was written on the afternoon of the breakup with Mitchell. The violin-cello backdrop to Nash's piano is particularly effective and makes this one of his most memorable songs. The parlor room country waltz that commences "Man in the Mirror," features Garcia's steel, Young's piano, ex-Flying Burrito Brother Ethridge, and drummer Barbata; it shifts keys, tempo, and feel about a third of the way in with a very long bridge that transforms the song's sentiment as well. Ultimately, Songs for Beginners is the strongest of Nash's solo efforts (outside of his work with Crosby). The 2008 Rhino edition is completely remastered; it also contains a DVD that features the album in DVD Audio with a 5.1 mix, as well as photos and an interview with Nash.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/23/2008
  • Label: Atlantic
  • UPC: 081227994938
  • Catalog Number: 352572
  • Sales rank: 68,266

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Military Madness (3:30)
  2. 2 Better Days (3:52)
  3. 3 Wounded Bird (2:11)
  4. 4 I Used to Be a King (4:45)
  5. 5 Be Yourself (3:11)
  6. 6 Simple Man (2:21)
  7. 7 Man in the Mirror (2:41)
  8. 8 There's Only One (3:57)
  9. 9 Sleep Song (3:03)
  10. 10 Chicago (2:54)
  11. 11 We Can Change the World (1:17)
Disc 2
  1. 1 I Used to Be a King
  2. 2 Be Yourself
  3. 3 Simple Man
  4. 4 Man in the Mirror
  5. 5 There's Only One
  6. 6 Sleep Song
  7. 7 Chicago
  8. 8 We Can Change the World [DVD
  9. 9 [Bonus Material]
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Graham Nash Primary Artist, Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Tambourine, Vocals, Background Vocals
Rita Coolidge Piano, Electric Piano, Background Vocals
Crosby & Nash Electric Guitar
Jerry Garcia Steel Guitar
David Lindley Fiddle
Clydie King Background Vocals
P.P. Arnold Background Vocals
John Barbata Drums, Tambourine
Joel Bernstein Piano
Chris Ethridge Bass
Bobby Keys Saxophone, Soloist
Phil Lesh Bass
Shirley Matthews Background Vocals
Dorothy Morrison Background Vocals
Dorian Rudnytsky Celli
Dallas Taylor Drums
Joe Yankee Piano
Calvin Samuels Bass
Sermon Posthumas Bass Clarinet, Soloist
David Mason Electric Guitar
Technical Credits
Graham Nash Composer, Producer, Cover Photo
Terry Reid Composer
Stephen Barncard Engineer
Gary Burden Art Direction
Larry Cox Engineer, Contributor
Russ Gary Engineer
Glyn Johns Remixing
Bill Halverson Engineer
Nathaniel Kunkel Remixing
Doug Sax Mastering
Sanwook "Sunny" Nam Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An album full of songs most still mistakenly think are CSN&Y tunes.

    This is a wonderful album full of familiar tunes that far too many forget belong to this solo effort by Graham Nash. Great songs that are made even better when heard in the context of all the songs on this album.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews