Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Graham Nash 2: Wild Tales

Graham Nash’s first solo album, Songs For Beginners, was a pleasant slice of sensitive pop, and worth going back to, or at least alternating with the album he split a year later with Crosby. That’s a good thing, because Wild Tales, his second solo effort, is pretty dull. Some of the songs are allegedly includes refugees from some recent aborted CSNY sessions, but taken together, they don’t really amount to anything. It’s also painfully short.
The title track has a decent groove, introducing David Lindley’s distinctive slide guitar. But it speeds through two verses, and is done. The wheeze of his harmonica ushers in “Hey You (Looking At The Moon)”, and will be heard again on “Prison Song”, a topical attempt designed to rally pot smokers. “You’ll Never Be The Same” lopes along, like it’s trying to be a kiss-off, but we’re guessing the object of the song is glad to be rid of him and his nagging. (Unless that’s the point, which would be kinda clever.) “And So It Goes” is too close to the arrangement of “Southern Man” to rise above the chorus, which is pretty good for four bars.
“Grave Concern” picks up the pace a bit (thanks to the same rhythm section anchoring Neil Young’s Time Fades Away). The lyrics aren’t much, but probably relate to what sounds like a Nixon soundbite bubbling underneath the solo. American war crimes in Vietnam are the subject of “Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier)”, delivered in the protest style of Dylan filtered through Donovan. It’s surprising that this one hasn’t been revived, but perhaps rhyming “Camil” with “how do you feel” wasn’t the wisest choice for an opening couplet. “I Miss You” is a showcase for his plodding piano, but “On The Line” is successful despite himself. “Another Sleep Song” isn’t really a sequel, but his discomfort is getting tough to sit through.
Wild Tales proves the assertion that as a songwriter, Graham Nash was a terrific high harmony singer. Then again, the activities around this time of the members of CSNY who weren’t Neil suggested that maybe they’d shot their loads early on, each coming up with sub-standard material, or none at all, in Crosby’s case. This album fails to make much of an impression, and it also doesn’t help that the back cover and sleeve use that typeface that’s the ‘70s equivalent of Comic Sans.

Graham Nash Wild Tales (1973)—2

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