Rhino Records has announced plans to release a remastered CD/DVD-A version of Graham Nash’s 1971 solo debut Songs For Beginners on September 23rd. The album was largely written about his break up with Joni Mitchell, as well as his split with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. The latter would turn out to be temporary.
In addition to remastered stereo, High Resolution 5.1 Surround Sound and mixes of the original album, the re-release will include a 2008 interview with Nash, photos and lyrics. Rhino plans to continue their treatment of Nash with a 3-CD retrospective box set in early 2009. No word yet on contents for the box set.
Full press release follows:
Graham Nash Songs For Beginners Due 9/23
|Released in the spring of 1971, Graham Nash’s emotionally charged solo debut followed in the wake of a temporary split with his bandmates, David Crosby and Stephen Stills, and a permanent break with his love, Joni Mitchell. The album was a decisive hit, peaking at #15 on Billboard and spawning the Top 40 hit “Chicago.” Rhino remasters this legendary musician’s first album for a landmark CD/DVD-A reissue that features remastered stereo, plus High Resolution 5.1 Surround Sound and mixes of the original, along with a 2008 interview with Nash, photos and lyrics. SONGS FOR BEGINNERS will be available on September 23 from Rhino Records at all physical and digital outlets.
With no plans to record an album, Nash says his debut was an unexpected gift. After writing several poignant songs about his break-up with Mitchell (“Better Days,” “Simple Man” and “I Used To Be King”) and Stills’ rocky relationship with Judy Collins (“Wounded Bird”), Nash was inspired to keep writing. “I realized I could craft something special that you could listen to and could help you in your own life,” he says. “At the time I wrote those songs, they were very hopeful. There was bleakness, but I tried to put an opening of light at the end.”
The story behind “Simple Man” is a classic. Nash wrote the song about the dissolution of his affair with Mitchell in June 1970, just a few hours before he was to take to the stage with Crosby, Stills and Young for the group’s opening-night show at the Fillmore East in New York. That evening, Nash debuted the song alone at the piano with Mitchell sitting in front of him in the audience.
Despite the gentle tone, SONGS FOR BEGINNERS is book ended by two protest songs, the opening memoir “Military Madness” and “Chicago,” a piano- driven march on behalf of the Chicago 7, then on trial for conspiracy and inciting to riot during the violent protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Recorded in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Nash made SONGS FOR BEGINNERS with a combination of kindred souls from both cities, including Crosby, CSNY touring drummer Johnny Barbata, original Flying Burrito Brothers bassist Chris Ethridge, singer Rita Coolidge, fiddler David Lindley, the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, and Neil Young, who is credited on the album as “Joe Yankee.”
SONGS FOR BEGINNERS is written and performed in a conversational tone of voice, often just above a whisper. It is tender in its honesty, warm and calm in its pace and determination. “Yes, it was quiet,” Nash admits. “But I wanted it to be straight from my heart to whoever listened to it. What I’m saying has survived pretty well.”
In early 2009, Rhino Records will also release a 3-CD retrospective boxed set spotlighting Graham Nash’s career. Currently, Nash has just wrapped a summer tour with Crosby, Stills & Nash. In late September, immediately following the release of SONGS FOR BEGINNERS, Nash returns to the road for a fall tour as “two together” with David Crosby. The first stop on the itinerary is as part of an all-star line-up for the Northern California-based Seva Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Benefit concert on September 27; the Crosby & Nash dates then officially kick off on October 4 in Wilmington, DE.
Onscreen, Nash can currently be seen in CSNY/Déjà Vu, a film by Neil Young, in which the war in Iraq is the backdrop as the CSNY “Freedom of Speech Tour” crisscrosses North America in 2006. The film examines the band’s connection to its audience in both political and musical terms, and examines the relationship between Vietnam-era anti-war sentiment and today’s post-9/11 environment.
SONGS FOR BEGINNERS
1. “Military Madness”