Déjà Vu by Crosby Stills Nash and Young is a brilliant album for its time.
It is a collection of brilliant songs and beautiful harmonies and I still have the original hard copy album from its release in 1970.
It has an amazing version of Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock” and taught me to be a proud freak and to carry my freak flag high.
Just about everyone from my generation would be familiar with the songs “Our House” and “Teach Your Children Well”, but I think the opening track “Carry On”, “Almost Cut My Hair”, “Deja Vu” and “Everybody I Love You” are the more stand out tracks.
To me Déjà Vu is an album that captured the vibe and idealism of the sixties and early seventies and is something all parents should share with their children as a part of musical history.
Déjà Vu is the first album by rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, although Crosby, Stills, and Nash had recorded one earlier album. It was released on March 11, 1970 and was greatly anticipated after the popularity of the first CSN album, as well as due to the addition of Neil Young.
It hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and generated three Top 40 singles: “Teach Your Children,” “Our House,” and “Woodstock.”
Neil Young does not appear on all of the tracks, and drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves are also credited on the cover (their names in slightly smaller typeface). Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel on “Teach Your Children” and John Sebastian plays mouth-harp on the title track.
When the band decided initially to hire a keyboard player, Stills at one point approached Steve Winwood, who was already occupied with a newly formed group Blind Faith. Atlantic label head Ahmet Ertegün suggested Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young, also managed by Elliot Roberts, as a fairly obvious choice. Initial reservations were held by Stills and Nash, Stills owing to his history with Young in Buffalo Springfield, and Nash, due to his personal unfamiliarity with Young. But after several meetings, the trio expanded to a quartet with Young a full partner. The terms of the contract allowed Young full freedom to maintain a parallel career with his new back-up band, Crazy Horse.
With Young on board, the restructured group went on tour in the late summer of 1969 through the following January. Their second gig was a baptism-by-fire at the Woodstock Festival; CSNY’s recording of the Joni Mitchell song memorializing Woodstock would later become a hit and the recording most associated with the festival. By contrast, little mention is made of the group’s subsequent appearance at Altamont, CSNY having escaped mostly unscathed from the fallout of that debacle.
Stills estimates that the album took somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 hours of studio time to record; this figure may be exaggerated, even though the individual tracks display meticulous attention to detail.
The album was done as individual sessions by each of the members when they turned up, apart from the quartet’s version of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”, contributing whatever was needed that could be agreed upon.
In May 1970, two months after the album was released, the group recorded Neil Young’s quickly penned response to the Kent State shootings, “Ohio.” That single, backed with Stephen Stills’ “Find the Cost of Freedom,” was released in late June of the same year, making it to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, notwithstanding its accusatory sentiment.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 147 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album ranked at #14 for the Top 100 Albums of 1970.
1. “Carry On” (Stills)
2. “Teach Your Children” (Graham Nash)
3. “Almost Cut My Hair” (David Crosby)
4. “Helpless” (Young)
5. “Woodstock” (Joni Mitchell)
1. “Déjà Vu” (Crosby)
2. “Our House” (Nash)
3. “4 + 20″ (Stills)
4. “Country Girl” (Young)
* “Whiskey Boot Hill”
* “Down, Down, Down”
* Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty)
5. “Everybody I Love You” (Stills, Young)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
* David Crosby : Guitars, vocals.
* Stephen Stills : Guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, vocals.
* Graham Nash: Guitars, keyboards, vocals.
* Neil Young: Guitars, keyboards, harmonica, vocals.
* Greg Reeves: Bass guitar, percussion.
* Dallas Taylor: Drums, Percussion.
* Jerry Garcia: Pedal steel guitar on “Teach Your Children” and “Helpless”
* John Sebastian: Harmonica on “Déjà vu”
(once more I thank the wonderful resource of Wikipedia for the information about the album and band)