• Robert Scovill

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young "4 Way Street"

An album that marks time like few others.

"These recordings were compiled from shows at the Fillmore East in New York, the Auditorium Theater in Chicago and the Forum in Los Angeles."

December 14th, Welcome to “Fan-Freakin-Tastic-Fridays” where we shed some light on the best of the best of Live Vinyl Love Fest. In the spirit of gift giving, today I give you the monumental Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “4 Way Street”

This was the first live album by CSNY and it made an immediate impact zooming to #1 on the Billboard 200 in 1971. These recordings were compiled from shows at the Fillmore East in New York, the Auditorium Theater in Chicago and the Forum in Los Angeles. The only production info I’ve been able to find is a credit for Bill Halverson as engineer.

And as is often the case with a spark of energy, beauty and creativity that burns as hot and bright as CSNY, this record actually marked the beginning of the end. They would gather again as a group for a stadium tour in 1974 but not release another album as CSNY.

This record has a lot of special moments on it to be certain. Of note, there are a number of songs on this album that are exclusive to this record. Songs that were slated for future studio recordings by CSNY that never saw the light of day because of the breakup of the band. Some went on to appear on the member's solo records, notably Southern Man on Young’s “After the Gold Rush” of which there is an amazing rendition of that song on this record.

As time goes on my reverence continues it’s steady climb for what CSNY pulled off in a very short period of time in music history. To my ear drums, and for my brain cells, even though it was released in 1970, I will always associate the “sound” of the 60s with CSNY and the album Deja Vu. That record is simply astounding in it’s depth and reach. My reverence grows with every playing for it’s ability to remain relevant and fresh every single time I listen to it. I think it is one of the greatest records all time and of any genre. And in the weirdest of ways — not meant as a knock here in any way — to hear them perform songs from that record live, simply solidifies my belief in the singularity of the studio recordings and what an incredible capture of performance and vibe that record gave to us. It is a gift that is simply unrepeatable and for that we should all be very thankful.

I’ve always believed that context is vital when looking back in time to evaluate and judge anything, and most especially music. It marks time like no other. By 1970 American society was just catching it’s breath from one of the most turbulent periods in American history and in so doing spawned an incredible burst of creativity and activism from the music community as the 60’s came to a close. History is steadily revealing to us that the 70’s were truly the golden age of, not only music, but of recording as well. 1970 in particular was an incredible year for both. Do yourself a favor, pull up Google and just type in “albums released in 1969" and then 1970. Just simply browse the records that were released in that two year span. Prepare to have your mind blown.

I’ve been fortunate enough in my life and career to have brief interactions with all four members of CSNY at one point or another, all be it at the later stages of their careers. As to be expected, they each left differing and defining imprints on me. But as the collective, they changed my belief in what was actually possible through music. The likes of CSNY don’t happen every day, every decade or every millennia. They are a gift for the ages and one that keeps on giving. Don' miss it, it's never too late.

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