BMG [Release date 21.07.20]
Guitarist, songwriter and vocalist David Crosby is quite a legend, all historic drug and alcohol issues aside, being a founder member of folk rock/country rock pioneers The Byrds, he has recorded with Crosby & Nash (former Hollies Graham Nash), Crosby Stills & Nash (Stephen Stills ex Buffalo Springfield) and Crosby Stills Nash & Young (Neil Young). Then there’s the solo work to boot.
Then in the mid 90s Crosby formed CPR, with pianist James Raymond (Crosby’s son) and session guitarist Jeff Pevar, and together they recorded two studio albums (reissued here) and two live sets. The music, while reminiscent of folk and country roots, is much more jazz and very easy on the ear.
The eponymous album was released in 1998. Opener Morrison, a song about Jim Morrison’s portrayal in the film about The Doors, has a slight AOR feel, and some vocal harmonies of mid 70s pomp rock bands. There are acoustic ballad songs like That House, where vocal arrangements overpower the music. Both albums feature many session guests and the drums are good here, and as the song builds, the electric guitar stands out. Somebody Else’s Town is more (gently) electric and eclectic, a touch of the Beatles and some off-the-wall 80s pop.
CPR’s second album, Just Like Gravity, was issued in 2001 and opens with the more uptempo Map To Buried Treasure, and Breathless and Darkness showcase both the musicianship and songwriting stand out on my tracks. Jerusalem and Katie Did almost want to rock and burst out kicking arse, but sadly this shows up a couple of other songs that do just want to become lost within the MOR of it all. The quality of the band, especially Crosby, mean that even on the tracks that want to disappear into the niceness have some deft touches.
Both albums feature some great tracks, and although there’s not one actually bad song on there, there’s (in my view) one truly excellent album between the two. And when I refer to the MOR here, with songwriters like David Crosby around, whatever your musical tastes, this is of a much higher calibre.
Well packaged with digipaks and booklets, no bonus tracks though, and would have been nice as a set with the band’s two live sets.
For lovers of quality jazzfusion folk/country AOR/MOR, aka Soft Rock.
Review by Joe Geesin
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