Most times I can pretty much tell if I am really going to like an album, after the first few seconds of the first track. This method of assessing a record did not work with David Crosby‘s latest release Croz. The first time I listened to the album, I was not impressed by the opening track, so I really didn’t continue to listen. If today August 14th was not the 73rd anniversary of David’s Los Angeles birth, I may not have listened to the album again, and have missed out on a pretty damn good album!! I have followed David’s career since it began with the Byrds in the early 60s. But like most of my music listening, I became a real fan in the late 60s and early 70s after he left the Byrds and teamed with Graham Nash and Steven Still to form Crosby, Stills, Nash. I can still remember when I purchased the album Deja Vu in the Moorestown Mall, being told by the clerk that I was the first one to purchase the album!! Crosby was born and raised in Los Angeles, California the son of Aliph Van Cortland Whitehead and Bing Crosby, Bob? no, Floyd Crosby, who appears to have no close relationship to the other Crosby’s. Although, Floyd did make a name for himself in Hollywood, as an academy award-winning cinematographer. Both his parents have genealogical roots going back to early New York. His mom is a descendent of the Van Cortland family and Floyd was a descendent of the Van Rensselear family. After an undistinguished academic career, Crosby moved to New York to make his way in the music business. Arriving in Greenwich Village in and around 1963 David joined Les Baxter’s Balladeers a group in which Bob Dylan was also a member. Fred Neil who was already a friend and mentor to Dylan also took Crosby under his wing. Now since I don’t know or remember as much about The Byrds as I do his later bands, here is a little info from Wikipedia….
Crosby joined Jim McGuinn (who later changed his name to Roger) and Gene Clark, who were then named the Jet Set. They were augmented by drummer Michael Clarke, at which point Crosby attempted, unsuccessfully, to play bass. Late in 1964, Chris Hillman joined as bassist, and Crosby relieved Gene Clark of rhythm guitar duties. Through connections that Jim Dickson (The Byrds’ manager) had with Bob Dylan’s publisher, the band obtained a demo acetate disc of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and recorded a cover version of the song, featuring McGuinn’s 12-string guitar as well as McGuinn, Crosby, and Clark’s vocal harmonizing. The song turned into a massive hit, soaring to number 1 in the charts in the U.S. and the U.K. during 1965. While Roger McGuinn originated The Byrds’ trademark 12-string guitar sound, Crosby was responsible for the soaring harmonies and often unusual phrasing on their songs. Read More
After leaving The Byrds, Crosby joined with Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of the Hollies to form Crosby, Stills, Nash and eventually sometimes Young, whenever Neil joined them. They played together live for the first time at Woodstock and of course as they say – the rest is history. CSN became a radio band for me, after the release of Deja Vu. I followed the solo career of Stephen Stills though his solos albums and his albums with Manassas, of which the first is a real favorite! I also bought and wore out Crosby’s 1971 album If I Could Only Remember My Name, which features contributions by Nash, Young, Joni Mitchell, and members of Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Santana! Because the album was panned when it came out, I’ve been surprised that it’s still around and was released on CD. I read today, at Wikipedia, that the emergence of the freak folk and New Weird America movements have helped the album to remain in print! In the late 1990’s or early 2000s, after years of nor following Crosby’s career that closely, I discovered CPR, the group that Crosby founded with his son James Raymond and session guitarist Jeff Pevar, Two of their albums CPR and Live at the Wiltern are both in my music library. and are really good. The vocal harmonies are as good as CSN and the songwriting is good, too. Which brings us to David’s current release Croz. Like I said on the first quick listen, I wasn’t impressed, but then I listened today beyond the first track, and well that’s a different story. After the first track or so the album, becomes the vintage David Crosby, who is a favorite!! So check it out and Happy Birthday, David!! Here’s a teaser video for the album followed by the track “What’s Broken” from Croz