Stephen Stills was unarguably at the very pinnacle of his powers in 1971, songs pouring out, his voice powerful, his guitar playing as good as any of his peers – and better than a lot of them. And live – well the record shows how good he was live at that point. Today’s song is Stills’ biggest solo hit recorded Live at Berkley in 1971, and is taken from a new album called, not too surprisingly, ‘Live at Berkley 1971.‘ It’s released on 28th April on double LP, CD, Digital and as a Deluxe package. As well as Stephen Stills it features ncluding Dallas Taylor (drums); Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels (bass); Paul Harris (keyboards); Steve Fromholz (guitar); and Joe Lala (percussion) – and a guest spot from David Crosby on a super renditions of ‘The Lee Shore‘ and ‘You Don’t Have To Cry.‘
Stephen Stills has this to say about the recordings featured on the new release: “The intimacy of the Berkeley Community Theater seemed to serve as a focal point between the audience and the energy surrounding the social climate of the day. It was my first tour as a solo artist and these shows were raucous and unrestrained, captured here in these recordings.”
The Full Track list from the double LP is:
This is a really welcome release from a tour previously only documented in audio form by the very worst quality bootlegs.A top class performance of “Go Back Home” from Madison Square Gardens captured on video (shown on the OGWT back in the day, now available on YouTube) shows what we were missing.
My only gripe with this release is that the press releases show an apparent lack of research, which marks the excercise down in my eyes. They claim a full concert, where I believe it is missing a first set that featured Stills and the band running through various songs without the Memphis Horns (who appear in the third set). Call me pedantic (my wife often does), but I’d rather have some honesty and have them say “look, we know it’s incomplete but this is what we’ve got and we think you’ll enjoy it”. On the upside at least the outlay on this isn’t as great as on box sets, and so the disappointment is less than say with the Little Feat box (where exactly was “Manchester City Hall”?) and the Deja Vu box (devoid of any information about the demos / outtakes). I could, of course, be wrong and find that Stills didn’t perform a first electric set for these shows, in which case I apologise.
Stills once said he played these shows whilst pouring playing sharp and singing flat due to pouring himself into a bottle after losing a woman (presumably Rita Coolidge). On the evidence I’ve heard so far from this show he’d only just unscrewed the top, and for that I’m thankful. Now, what about a proper Manassas live…