A celebration of the LP, the long-player, the album music format. Reviews, recommendations and discussion.

Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills (1970)


Sometimes a record sits on the list for a long time before being selected. So long in fact that when it finally gets it’s chance as album of the week I cannot remember why it was added to the list in the first place. There’s always a reason, a friend may recommend it, or I might hear a little of it on the radio and want to hear more, or maybe I’ve read good things about it. But sometimes this reason eludes me when it’s name comes out the hat.

Usually once the record has finished all those reasons come flooding back, after 45 minutes or so of aural pleasure (that’s aural with an au-……behave yourselves) my life feels that little bit better for having another great album in it.

Sometimes though I feel just as bemused as to how this record ending up on my to-be-listened-to list as when I started. And I’m afraid this weeks offering, the debut solo album from Stephen Stills, falls into the latter category.

I’ve never listened to Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills and Nash have never really appealed (though I give Neil Young a go now and again). So how this record came to be my album of the week I’m not sure and, to be blunt, I wish it hadn’t.

I’m not going to damn the whole thing and say it was bad from start to finish, in fact none of it was bad, it’s just that I didn’t think any of it was particularly good. A couple of tracks are quite enjoyable; To A Flame, Sit Yourself Down and We Are Not Helpless are all pretty good although I find the backing choir on the last two a little over the top.

But for me there is just too much of the unexceptional. When the record finished very little of it remained in my memory, and even by the end of the week after repeated listens I couldn’t hum a single one, the possible exception being the opener Love The One You’re With, a no doubt catchy tune but I found it lyrically to be a thoroughly depressing experience (….you can’t be with who you really want so just put up with whoever will have you……thanks Stephen, makes me feel all warm inside).

The LP has an exceptional line-up of guest artists on it (which, going back to earlier is the only reason I can think of why it made the list in the first place). Jimi Hendrix, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Rita Coolidge, Mama Cass as well as his old mates Crosby and Nash, but still I find the finished product rather dull.

I think part of the reason for this may be my lack of musicianship. As previously mentioned in earlier posts I have no musical skill whatsoever but I do have a keen pair of ears, perhaps if I were a guitar player I would appreciate this record more. It is certainly not lacking in guitar solos (Black Queen being the obvious example), fun for the musicians, and probably a treat for those of a musical bent, but for me it just sounds like one long, rather dull session of guitar wankery where each player tries to impress the rest in their fret-bothering, string-strumming circle jerk.

Ok maybe that’s being a bit harsh but I often find musical solos to be self-indulgent borefests, there are of course exceptions but that’s a discussion for another day perhaps.

So anyway, back to Stephen Stills…..not for me I’m afraid. I don’t think I’ll be adding any of his further solo records to my list, and I might give Buffalo Springfield a miss too, unless of course anyone can persuade me otherwise.

Ah well, you can’t like them all.

Love The One You’re With
Do For The Others
Church (Part Of Someone)
Old Time Good Times
Go Back Home
Sit Yourself Down
To A Flame
Black Queen
We Are Not Helpless

No standout tracks on this one


8 comments on “Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills (1970)

  1. angrickerson
    January 20, 2013

    Love me some Neil Young. CSNY might be an aquired taste…. I think you should give it another shot though.

    • allaboutthealbum
      January 20, 2013

      I’m always happy to give someone another go. Which CSNY record would you recommend?

      (Nice blog by the way)

      • angrickerson
        January 20, 2013

        Deja Vu is a classic for me. Do you have it? I think it was on the Rolling Stone top 500 records of all time awhile ago. Your blog is great btw. You’re a good writer (which is hard to come by strangely enough). You should pick up Barbara Streisand’s Superman. The record is almost as entertaining as the cover.

      • angrickerson
        January 20, 2013

        Stills track #3 “….and you know that the self made man, babe, is truely shallow” how can you not love this?!

  2. angrickerson
    January 20, 2013

    sorry, but this Still record is awesome. Standout tracks: Side A:2,3 Side B:3 “Love the one you’re with” probably sticks in your head cause it’s the single they played on the radio. So you’re probably more familiar with it.

    • allaboutthealbum
      January 20, 2013

      Haha, glad to see such enthusiasm for the album but I still remain unconvinced. I’ve checked out some bits of Deja Vu and it was quite interesting, I’d quite like to hear the whole thing so I’m adding it to the list. Thanks for the tip!

  3. MPR
    May 27, 2013

    “I do have a keen pair of ears” – no you don’t. This record sounds just as fresh as it did on release, fast going on half a century ago. angrickerson knows what he/she is talking about; you don’t – with all due respect 🙂

    • allaboutthealbum
      May 27, 2013

      Well I don’t know how I can disagree with such a reasoned argument.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 19, 2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: