- Album name: Stephen Stills
- Artist name: Stephen Stills
- Year: 1970
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Atlantic Records
- Collection: Brenner / Gessner
- Distinguishing characteristics: My parents each had a copy of this record. My father’s copy had a “G” written on the upper left corner of the album, and my mother’s copy had “Brenner” written on the back of the album and on the LP.
- Buy it on Amazon: $12.00
Level of familiarity before listening
I don’t have any particular memory of listening to this record, though I might have heard it at some point. I do recognize one song by name, Love the One You’re With, and I’ve reviewed a wide variety of Stephen Stills’ work:
- Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield (1969): 5/5
- Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969): 5/5
- Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1970): 5/5
- Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More (1970): 4/5
- 4 Way Street by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (1971): 5/5
- Stephen Stills 2 (1971): 2/5
- So Far by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1974): 4/5
- CSN by Crosby, Stills & Nash (1977): 2/5
- Daylight Again by Crosby, Stills & Nash (1982): 1/5
What I expected
This is Stephen Stills’ first solo record. I’ve already listened to his second, and thought that it was not good.
What it was actually like
This was nowhere near as bad as Stills’ second solo record, so that was a relief.
Love the One You’re With is a truly great pop song – fun and catchy, rich and complex, memorable, rhythmic and melodic, and I even didn’t mind the soul style backing vocals. The steel drums were maybe the only part of it that I would have cut.
For whatever reason that I was unable to determine, he then took those soul style backing vocals and made an entire song around them, Church (Part of Someone), which was terrible (and also too slow). Sit Yourself Down was similar, but not as bad.
To a Flame was easy listening, and also quite bad. I had a difficult time picking the worst song between that one and Cherokee, which was a weird grab bag of lots of different sounds, with an atrocious horns part, but decided that the latter was the worst because of its abysmal and nauseating saxophone solo.
The most pleasant surprise on the record was two songs at the end of the first side, Old Times Good Times, a great rock song with pretty strong wailing guitar, and Go Back Home and excellent blues rock song. I was really impressed with Stills when I heard how great those two songs were, and then I checked the back of the album to read the credits… and who was it that played the guitar on those songs? Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. So, yeah.
3/5: interesting, but not for me