Rolling Stone - 12/11/03, p.131Ranked #148
in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "Young's vision and guitar transformed the earlier folk-rock CSN into a rock & roll powerhouse."
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: David Crosby, Graham Nash, Neil Young, Stephen Stills (various instruments).
Personnel: Neil Young (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, keyboards); Graham Nash, Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar, keyboards); David Crosby (vocals, guitar); Jerry Garcia (slide guitar, steel guitar); John Sebastian (autoharp, harmonica); Gregory Reeves (bass instrument); Dallas Taylor (drums, percussion); Greg Reeves (percussion).
Recording information: Wally Heiders Studio III, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Henry Diltz; Tom Gundelfinger.
Crosby, Still, and Nash topped their enormously popular self-titled 1969 debut by adding Neil Young to their ranks and expanding their stylistic and sonic range. The result, released in 1970, was an artistic and commercial success, representing the talents of the four primary players to excellent effect. More ambitious and incisive than its CSN predecessor, DEJA VU brings together folk, psychedelia, jazz, African, and Middle Eastern flavors, Tin Pan Alley, and hard rock in a manner that captures the tenor of the era's counterculture without sounding dated.
The group's distinctively lush harmonies are spread across the album, notably on the record's two centerpieces--"Carry On," which segues into a chugging, percussion-fueled groove halfway through, and "Woodstock," the band's hard rock re-working of the Joni Mitchell tune. Elsewhere, the songs are stamped by individual personalities, as on David Crosby's driving "Almost Cut My Hair," Graham Nash's quaint "Our House," and Stephen Stills dark, folky "4+20." Young's aching, plaintive "Helpless" is one of the highlights here, as is Crosby's complex title cut (with its intricate rhythms and vocal arrangements). Though their time together was tumultuous and short-lived, CSNY were one of the most successful acts of the era, and DEJA VU finds them at their peak.