When the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young compilation SO FAR was released in 1974, Neil Young had already been gone from the group for two years and wouldn't return for another 14. Although the collection bears the quartet's name, material is also included from Crosby, Stills & Nash's self-titled debut album. The quartet had only released one studio album, DEJA VU, but the music they made was monumental and--in keeping with the times--was both deeply personal and overtly political. However, as a compilation of some of the group's finer moments, it is a satisfying listen, and proved a huge commercial success.
Songs such as the gently romantic "Our House" and stylistically shifting "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" sidled up beside more topical fare like Neil Young's "Ohio" (written about the National Guard's shooting of protesters at Kent State) and Graham Nash's socially conscious "Teach Your Children." The quartet's most distinguishing characteristic was their crystalline harmonies, brimming over in all their compositions--particularly on the lovely "Helplessly Hoping" and the brief a cappella tune "Find The Cost Of Freedom," while the group's musical ambition shines through on the complex arrangements of "D?j? vu." While fans who own the original albums will find nothing new here, SO FAR is an excellent introduction to one of the highest profile groups of the late '60s.