Saturday, February 1, 2014

David Crosby 4: CPR

In another one of those unlikely stories outside a Lifetime made-for-TV movie, David Crosby needed a liver transplant, and met a kid he likely would have given up for adoption if he hadn’t already ran out on the mother. Not only did young James Raymond bear little resentment towards his deadbeat dad, but he’d spent much of a blissful childhood becoming a rather accomplished musician in his own right. Once this odd couple started spending time together, jam sessions happened, and songs appeared. With the assistance of session rat Jeff Pevar, the easily monikered CPR started playing shows and recording an album.
Even more unlikely, the resultant CPR offers some of Crosby’s best work in literally decades. Relying mostly on Raymond’s musical ideas, which come from places outside his usual toolbox, the lyrics flow without sounding forced or trite. Highlights include “Morrison”, a belated criticism of Oliver Stone’s version of the Doors story. “That House” and “Somehow She Knew” express different kinds of loss and the sorrow they bring. “Rusty And Blue” is fleshed out from his live album, the source of the title “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”. One PR selling point was “Little Blind Fish”, a CSNY leftover that had snuck out on bootlegs; the similarities are minimal. “Time Is The Final Currency” is a wonderfully understated closer.
Raymond sings the main voice on “One For Every Moment”, with percussion that veers a little close to Stills territory, as well as “Someone Else’s Town”, complete with F-bomb. On his own he sounds like Timothy B. Schmit; with Crosby he provides something of a high Nash counterpoint. The moody “Yesterday’s Child” is the best of his offerings. Throughout, Pevar adds guitar touches worth of Danny Kootch and David Lindley, while a variety of supporting players, some familiar, prop up the back end.

A few years later, following a CSNY reunion album and tour, CPR was back in business with Just Like Gravity. Like the debut, it’s on the long side, but it rocks a little harder, overall. It’s still in the slightly jazzier adult contemporary with New Age touches of the debut, but tunes like “Darkness” use sneaky melodies and non-standard chords to skew off the beaten path. The vocals are also shared more, taking turns on verses, and the kid gets more of a spotlight, taking charge on “Eyes Too Blue” and “Jerusalem”. “Angel Dream” lists Graham Nash as a co-writer, and has something of the moving sweep of “Delta”. Crosby’s voice is still up to the task right off the bat in “Map To Buried Treasure” and elsewhere; the title track is just him and an acoustic, and it’s the sound fans have waited to hear since about 1972.

These albums appeared on a tiny independent label, as did two live recordings, and are tough to find today, but they are streaming. Together they help preserve Crosby’s relevancy as the years go by.

CPR CPR (1998)—3
Just Like Gravity (2001)—3

1 comment:

  1. Glad you liked this album too, it's a real lost gem of the csn catalogue!