"Songs For Beginners" by Graham Nash
Originally released in the spring of 1971, Graham Nash's emotionally charged solo debut, Songs For Beginners, followed in the wake of Nash's 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 reissue that features 5.1 Surround Sound and High Resolution mixes of the original, along with a 2008 interview with Nash, photos and lyrics. Songs For Beginners will be available on September 23, 2008.
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.”
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.” Not only do many of these songs capture specific events of Nash's life up to this point, they are also telling as to what was happening in the world.
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.
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