3D Great Rock Bible
Graham Nash iTunes Tracks Graham Nash Official Website

Graham Nash

Judging by his gloriously-packaged, career-retrospective boxed-set, “Reflections”, singer-songwriter/guitarist GRAHAM NASH was no slouch in sitting alongside the likes of long-time compadres DAVID CROSBY and STEPHEN STILLS. Time spent as 60s idol as founder member of Manchester’s The HOLLIES, Graham was almost a veteran pop campaigner when he upped sticks to help form CSN. While both David and Stephen had been eclipsed by their dual frontmen, ROGER McGUINN and NEIL YOUNG, in their respective mid-60s chart combos, The BYRDS and BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD, Graham, too, wondered if he’d ever come out of the CROSBY, STILLS shadows.
Born 2nd February 1942, Blackpool in Lancashire, he and school-friend Allan Clarke, formed The HOLLIES, one of the successes of the post-BEATLES British invasion boom that took America by storm in the mid-60s. But after supplying the harmony-driven pop group with hit songs; among them, `Carrie Anne’ and `King Midas In Reverse’, Graham left the group (after exactly six years) for American pastures in December 1968; but a brief HOLLIES reunion in 1983/84, he’s remained in residence there ever since.
When one thinks of the great CSN/CSNY songs penned by NASH (`Marrakesh Express’, `Teach Your Children’ and `Our House’, all major hits around the turn of the 70s), it’s quite clear what a solo prospect he would’ve become anyway. This was reflected on the man’s debut, SONGS FOR BEGINNERS (1971) {*8}, written after his “Wounded Bird” break-up with folk-rock songbird, JONI MITCHELL. Breaking into the both the US and the UK Top 20, the stellar cast of musos in the studio (DAVE MASON, JERRY GARCIA, DAVID CROSBY, CHRIS ETHERIDGE, RITA COOLIDGE, PHIL LESH, DAVID LINDLEY, NEIL YOUNG as Joe Yankee. et al), combined to make one hell of a soft-rock set. `Better Days’, `Simple Man’ and `Be Yourself’ (penned with TERRY REID) were yearning from an introspective and sentimental point of view, while `Military Madness’ (were OASIS listening?) and the equally freewheeling `Chicago’ bookended the record.
On the back of his first “Graham Nash / David Crosby” collaboration in ’72; there were a handful of further dual albums in the mid-70s and beyond, his sophomore solo set WILD TALES (1973) {*6}, emerged without much fuss. Featuring the pedal steel attributes from NEIL YOUNG’s “Harvest” exile, Ben Keith, there was a certain degree of country twangs hanging around; examples “You’ll Never Be The Same’ and the GILBERT O’SULLIVAN-like `On The Line’. If one preferred protest to pop compositions, the political `Prison Song’ and the DYLAN-esque `Oh! Camil (The Winter Soldier)’, held the keys to your door.
1975’s “Wind On The Water” and the following year’s disappointing “Whistling Down The Wire”, took CROSBY & NASH to the point of no return, although the evitable “CSN” reunion set in ’77, poured out some soft-rock sentiments at a time when musical climes went haywire.
EARTH & SKY (1980) {*6} maintained some stalwart support from previous CSN backing alumni, Danny Kortchmar (guitars), David Lindley (guitar, etc.), Craig Doerge (keyboards), Tim Drummond (bass) and Russ Kunkel (drums), but it oh-so West Coast ‘cept for the JOE WALSH’s guest spot on the opening title track.
Further CSN world tours and sessions, together with a HOLLIES reunion album (“What Goes Around”) in ’83, yielded nice returns at the box office for NASH. But rather out of sync to modern-day trends and opinions, solo album number four INNOCENT EYES (1986) {*4} was lost in the quagmire of the synth-driven decade. A million miles from anything CSN, it sounded like a PHIL COLLINS or POLICE album, using as it did outside contributors such as Richie Zito & Davitt Siegerson (`See You In Prague’), Paul Bliss (the title track), Tom Fedora (`Chippin’ Away’) and John Palermo (`Don’t Listen To The Rumours’).
Foregoing the sheen and synthetic sophistication of its predecessor, and, on the back of a handful of respective CSN/CSNY albums (1994’s “After The Storm” and 1999’s “Looking Forward”, among them), the long-awaited if not anticipated solo comeback, SONGS FOR SURVIVORS (2002) {*5}, was released without much fanfare. Unassuming and largely acoustic, the record showcased a voice which has weathered nicely with the years, furnishing the harmonies with a warm, burnished veneer. CROSBY supplied guest vocals while veteran drummer Kunkel played, co-produced and co-wrote opener `Dirty Little Secret’.
Graham once again worked within the musical confines of CROSBY & NASH (on an eponymous 2004 album), and CSN (on both “Déjà vu Live” documentary in ’08 and “CSN 2012”); looking likely that his solo career was put to bed. He was now 70 and reeling-in some of his best-known tunes on stage.
Re-routing his remarkable career by way of another solo comeback set, the long-awaited THIS PATH TONIGHT (2016) {*6} was welcomed with warmth and fervour from his (& CSN’s) loyal fanbase. Returning a Top 100 place (Top 50 in his old homeland), the amiable GRAHAM NASH played it Sunday-morning safe and sentimental on several of the songs on board. On closer inspection, the lightly-strummed passages revealed something about how he felt about the break-up of his 38-year marriage to former actress Susan Sennett. Not your typical textbook d.i.v.o.r.c.e. album, despite titles such as `Another Broken Heart’, `Cracks In The City’, `Back Home’, `Myself At Last’ and `Target’, NASH was looking forward for answers.
© MC Strong/MCS Jan2013-Apr2016

Share this Project

Leave a Comment