dinsdag 14 november 2017

Sky Trails. David Crosby

David Crosby does a Steely Dan was my first thought when listening to 'She's Got To Be Somewhere'. The electric piano, the singing, the rhythm and jazzy atmosphere, everything spells Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.

This is far from strange. David Crosby always has more jazz than pop in his songs. The reason why his music can turn me off just as easily as it can please me. The music reminds me also of what he did in the band CPR around the turn of the century.

David Crosby turned 76 this summer. Decades older than some may have predicted decades ago. He seems on a mission as Sky Trails follows 'Lighthouse' within the year. (Read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2016/12/lighthouse-david-crosby.html.) Crosby has something to say before he goes. Perhaps not being distracted by his old pals SN&Y accounts for his creativity as well. The burden of the quality rests totally on his own shoulders as well.

David Crosby does not make music that I listen to often. When it comes down to it, ever since I heard 'Triad', his song that got him kicked out of The Byrds and was recorded by Jefferson Airplane instead, I sort of have heard it all. 'Triad' is the blueprint for his career. Sung beautifully by Grace Slick by the way.

At the same time I find myself emerging in a song like 'Sell Me A Diamond'. The song is beautiful. Despite the fact that I can hear David Crosby coming up for air here and there, his voice does everything it needs to do, to cut this track perfectly.

His son James Raymond produced the album and is musically all over the place. The P in CPR, Jeff Pevar, plays guitar. For the rest there's a long list of session musicians and David Crosby, to my great surprise, on drums, though not exclusively. So it is no surprise that the album sounds familiar. It could have been a CPR album too. I remember my surprise when I ran into a live show of CPR on TV by chance.

If you love David Crosby, Sky Trails can do no wrong. The man is in great form. I find myself liking this album better than Lighthouse easily. There is more to discover here. The arrangements are of a subtle lushness. Take the flugelhorn(?) in 'Here It's Almost Sunset'. Flying over the bare guitar notes the instrument adds something near magical to the elementary song structure.

His ageing voice shows in a song like 'Capitol'. At the same time he is still able to show his indignation and protest against things he thinks are not right. Politicians "filling up their pockets from here". Again a horn fills up the song, battling it out in a decent way with a jazzy electric guitar in the best Steely Dan tradition. The arrangement just did not take six years to refine -and yes, that shows too.

Neil Young will forever be my favourite of the four individuals making up that great collective in 1969 and 1970. David Crosby beyond doubt is my #2. The other two just don't come close in my universe. The future is uncertain but if David Crosby releases a further record I have no doubt it will be one of substantial quality.


You can listen to 'Sell Me A Diamond' here:


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