Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stephen Stills 4: Down The Road

The first album under the Manassas name was teeming with music; their follow-up barely cracked a half-hour, putting the eggs-in-one-basket theory to test.
This album has been slammed over the years, and a lot of that has probably been due to Stills being everybody’s least favorite CSNY and the fact that Down The Road wasn’t Manassas (the album, not the band). While Stills continued to be the name on top and the spine, it was still a collaborative effort, with Chris Hillman a key foil.
Brief as it is, they can be commended for restraint, as most of the songs aren’t long enough to wear out any welcome, with the possible exception of the two Latin numbers, “Pensamiento” and “Guaguanc√≥ de Ver√≥”. Stills’ tendency to emote in Spanish reached maximum tolerance back on “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, but he would not be dissuaded.
“Isn’t It About Time” and “Lies” provide a good one-two punch from Stills and Hillman respectively. The first Latin excursion gives way to a nice duet on “So Many Times”, and things don’t come back to that level until “City Junkies” in the middle of side two, despite its misleading title and off-time tambourine near the end.
The best parts of both Manassas albums would easily combine for a solid four-star collection. Instead, Down The Road was a comparative flop and the group split, Hillman taking half the band with him and Stills hovering around the possibility of another CSNY album. Or not.

Stephen Stills — Manassas Down The Road (1973)—3

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