Monday, January 17, 2011

CSNY: The Permutations Compilation

I'm not giving this the full "Compilation!" treatment, but it's an idea that has occurred to me before, and since I'm working (gradually) on a Neil Young "Compilation!", it returned to me, and I'm pleased to say the compilation is not only a great idea but is entirely possible.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are four individuals who have had solo careers but who have also worked together, off and on, down the years. Famously, there are albums as a quartet and, without Neil Young, as a trio. But also there are albums without Stephen Stills as a duo, and there's a Stills-Young Band album too. So I got to wondering whether or not it was possible to assemble a compilation featuring every single permutation of those four individuals (to whit, CSNY, CSN, CSY, CNY, SNY, CS, CN, CY, SN, SY, NY, C, S, N and Y). It turns out that it actually is. I don't have most of these songs, so I haven't actually assembled this album. I don't know what it would sound like or what the best order would be. Still, it's a cool idea for an album, n'est-ce pas?
  1. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Ohio (2:58) from a single, 1970.
  2. Crosby, Stills and Nash - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (7:25) from Crosby, Stills and Nash, 1969.
  3. Crosby, Stills and Young - Alabama (4:02) from Harvest, 1972.
  4. Crosby, Nash and Young - Music is Love (3:16) from If I Could Only Remember My Name, 1971.
  5. Stills, Nash and Young - Words (Between the Lines of Age) (6:40) from Harvest, 1972.
  6. Crosby and Stills - Long Time Gone (4:36) from CSN Demos, recorded 1968.
  7. Crosby and Nash - To the Last Whale: Critical Mass / Wind on the Water (5:33) from Wind on the Water, 1975.
  8. Crosby and Young - Revolution Blues (4:03) from On the Beach, 1974.
  9. Stills and Nash - Southern Cross (4:41) from Daylight Again, 1982.
  10. Stills and Young - Long May You Run (3:53) from Long May You Run, 1976.
  11. Nash and Young - War Song (3:35) from a single, 1972.
  12. Crosby - Orleans (1:56) from If I Could Only Remember My Name, 1971.
  13. Stills - Love the One You're With (3:04) from Stephen Stills, 1970.
  14. Nash - Chicago (2:55) from Songs for Beginners, 1971.
  15. Young - Heart of Gold (3:07) from Harvest, 1972.
All fifteen of these songs genuinely feature the credited members of CSNY and don't feature uncredited members. Some of them do have other vocalists, most of them have other musicians. The biggest cheat was "Revolution Blues", where David Crosby doesn't actually sing but merely plays guitar. The CSNY, CSN, CN, SY and NY permutations, plus the four solo tracks, were actually released under those names, but the CSY, SNY and CY tracks were released on Neil Young albums and the CNY track was released on a David Crosby album. Both the NS and the CS songs came out on albums attributed to Crosby, Stills and Nash.

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