Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Graham Nash 8: Over The Years

For no reason we can fathom, except maybe that the oldest song was turning fifty, Graham Nash decided to put together an anthology of his work. Over The Years… consisted of two discs—one of the album tracks we all know, and the other with demo versions of eight of the songs, plus seven others.

The first disc is enjoyable by itself. Most of it features Crosby, Stills, and sometimes Young, and from the fertile four-year period that straddled the turn of the ‘70s. Starting with “Marrakesh Express”, there are no real surprises or eye-raisers. Two of the five Songs For Beginners tracks are “previously unreleased mixes” for those who notice such things. Just one song comes from the ‘80s, and the disc ends with “Myself At Last” from his most recent album.

The demos disc is mostly previously unreleased, and provides an alternative view of most of the same period. These aren’t the lo-fi cassette variety we often get with demos, but studio-quality recordings. Beginning again with “Marrakesh Express”, it continues chronologically but still doesn’t get past 1972 until the last three songs. Each track is denoted with not only the year, but the city where it was recorded. Generally the demos aren’t too different from the final product, but there are some rarities. There’s “Horses Through A Rainstorm”, recorded by both the Hollies and CSNY but not released until decades later by either of them. The intricacies of “Pre-Road Downs” turn out to be built-in, which is unexpected, just as the piano on “Wind On The Water” is better than we thought him capable. (“Just A Song Before I Go” is another surprise on piano.) “Man In The Mirror” sports an almost jaunty intro that went unused, and “I Miss You” and “You’ll Never Be The Same”—both from Wild Tales—actually work better here. “Wasted On The Way” features Stephen Stills and Timothy B. Schmit, just like the album version would.

But for the repetition, Over The Years… nicely recaps what people like about Graham Nash. It also says something about his output that he seems to have very little that hasn’t been heard, nor does he put much stock into much over the last three decades.

Graham Nash Over The Years… (2018)—3

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