Rolling Stone - 5/25/72, p.62
"...a substantial, honest sound...the familiar, inviting flavor of the bands that Manassas' principal members have been involved with (The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Flying Burrito Brothers, CSN&Y)..."
Q - 7/93, p.1143 Stars
- Good - "...Touching on straight rock, Cuban rhythms, acoustic blues, synthesizer workouts and grounded in fine ensemble performances, MANASSAS is just about a forgotten classic...it's easy to see what the fuss was all about..."
Manassas/Stephen Stills: Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, bottleneck guitar, piano, electric piano, Clavinet, organ, Moog synthesizer); Al Perkins (vocals, guitar, steel guitar); Chris Hillman (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Joe Lala (vocals, congas, timbales, percussion); Paul Harris (piano, tack piano, electric piano, Clavinet, organ); Fuzzy Samuels (bass instrument); Dallas Taylor (drums).
Personnel: Stephen Stills (keyboards); Byron Berline (violin, fiddle); Sydney George (flute, harmonica); Jerry Aiello (piano, electric piano, Clavinet, organ); Paul Harris (keyboards); Bill Wyman (bass instrument); Roger Bush (acoustic bass, acoustic bass guitar); Malcolm Cecil (programming).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Gastwirt.
Recording information: Criteria Sound Studios, Miami, FL (1972).
Photographer: Ira H. Wexler.
Unknown Contributor Role: Sydney George.
Between 1970 and 1972, Stephen Stills was busy playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and working on a series of solo albums. In addition to all this activity he led the supergroup that appears on this stunning release. Originally a double album of four distinct sides, MANASSAS finds Stills and company (which includes friends and session musicians Chris Hillman, Dallas Taylor, and Al Perkins, among others) at the intersection of rock, folk, country, blues, and Latin flavors. Distinctive styles are noticeable song by song, yet the whole is a hodge-podge, and it is the strength and credibility of the mixture that makes MANASSAS such a great experience.
The first fourth of the album focuses on '60s rock with Afro-Cuban overtones (imagine Buffalo Springfield sitting in with Santana), followed by a batch of country and bluegrass-oriented material (with Chris Hillman's influence more strongly felt). The dreamy, swaying "It Doesn't Matter" kicks off the third section, which has a folk-rock feel, replete with multi-part harmonies and chiming guitars. The final section brings things back to amped-up rock, wrapping up the set with the rootsy groove of "Blues Man," a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. A rich and varied collection that is as sophisticated and complex as it is earthy and easy to listen to, MANASSAS is considered by many to be one of the great overlooked gems of the '70s rock.