Various Artists – Music is Love (A Tribute to CSN&Y)

Various Artists
Music is Love (A Tribute to CSN&Y)

For what it’s worth; long may they run.

Crosby, Still, Nash and Young have been a part of my musical life since my early teenage years with my brother wearing out his first copy of DÉJÀ VU on the family radiogram. Subsequently I’ve become a tireless fan of Mr. Young and adding tracks from the others to VA recordings for sunny days in the garden. So; it was with some trepidation when I agreed to review this tribute album; as I know CSN&Y fans can be a picky bunch.

On opening the padded envelope I was immediately impressed by the artwork and the excellent booklet that details why each artist agreed to take part. Oh – each disc is an homage to both Reprise Records and Atlantic Records, which is a nice touch. If I’d been browsing in a record shop I’d definitely have picked it up; and when I saw the list of singer-songwriters involved I’m pretty sure I would have bought MUSIC IS LOVE; even without hearing a track, as I own albums by 10 of the 27 people who have especially recorded songs for this Charitable venture.

As I was listening to the opening track, For What It’s Worth by Ron LaSalle who I’d not heard of, but has a delightfully rich voice, I recognised about 20 of the song titles that chart the bands history, as well as solo projects, which was a good start.

Some songs work better than others, but there are a helluva lot more hits than misses, with Judy Collins giving a beautiful rendition of Stephen Stills’ Helplessly Hoping and Carrie Rodriguez finding a whole new meaning in her insightful rendition of Cortez The Killer; but I shouldn’t have been surprised when New Yorker Willie Nile spits new life and bile intoKeep On Rocking In The Free World or by the way Mary Lee’s Corvette sensitively handles Crosby’s Tracks in the Dust; but I was.

One of the joys of Various Artist albums like this is discovering new singers, and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Jenai Huff after hearing her sing I’ll Be There For You and the Italian Bocephus King, whose arrangement of Down By The River, from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is worth the entrance fee alone.

Other tracks to look out for; and this isn’t meant to take anything away from other singers, are Out On The Weekend by Clarence Bucaro, which made me hunt out an album of his that I dismissed last year and Love the One You’re With by Jennifer Stills, who proves the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.

On a personal level; and I know it won’t appeal to everyone, but I absolutely adore The Coal Porters’ Bluegrass version of the Stephen Still’s Manassas song Fallen Eagle, which stands out like a sore thumb; but there you go.

The album ends with the title track, MUSIC IS LOVE by another favourite singer of mine; Ian McNabb from Liverpool who turns the droll David Crosby song into a mystical opus and I can’t think of a finer way to end such a wonderful mix of songs.


#All Profits go to the Equestrian Therapy Co-op Charity so; if you download this from ‘one of those’ sites have the good grace to pass on a couple of pounds/dollars to the Charity. You know it’s the right thing to do.

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