Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s Demos — released June 2nd — is their attempt at releasing unreleased material in the vein of Neil Young's Archives, but I'd much prefer that there was one complete "lost album" from their first period instead.
This is still a great project, though, and at least it arrived when the guys said it would (hint-hint, Neil). Almost everyone’s songs here ultimately surfaced on their own solo works, except for David Crosby's, as three out of his four tracks are from the CSNY album, Déjà vu. Overall, it’s interesting to hear how all of these songs evolved — even if they’re not in best form here.
Nash's "Marrakesh Express" is one of the finest songs on the whole album, resembling more of the Crosby/Nash live version. Actually, most of Nash’s songs here are some of the set's best. Next is Crosby’s "Almost Cut My Hair," and similarly his best song from the whole disc. After that comes Stephen Stills’ 1:30-minute demo of "You Don’t Have to Cry;" it’s gone before you know it, and it made me long for much, much more.
Even on a better song, Crosby still manages to drone on a bit, like during "Déjà vu," which is a little too long for an acoustic demo; it's striking how close to the final version it sounds, nevertheless. Culled from his solo debut, Songs For Beginners, Nash offers up the rarity,"Sleep Song." It's a perfect example of what he's known for — nothing deep or powerful — but rather just a pleasant and thoroughly enjoyable song. "My Love is a Gentle Thing" is his best song here by Stills, which goes to show why he has a demos album all his own, 2007's Just Roll Tape. Clocking at just under two minutes — still a tad short, or at least short compared to Crosby’s six-minute epics — one could only wish the rest of his tracks here were this good. Also from Nash's debut comes another quality song, "Be Yourself," which, by this point, strikes me as a little fishy given that his demos are the best here overall — especially since Nash personally assembled this set. I wonder if there remains a rivalry among these men after all these years.