Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners CD/DVD Review (Rhino Reissue) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners CD/DVD Review (Rhino Reissue)

Graham Nash - Songs for Beginners CD/DVD Review (Rhino Reissue)In general, I approach reissues with a healthy degree of skepticism as I have watched Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and Kiss' catalogs get reissued numerous times over the last few years.

I'm impressed with Rhino's reissue of Graham Nash's 1971 solo debut, Songs for Beginners, as there is a noticeable and significant sonic improvement to the sound quality. This two disc set includes a new stereo mix in Advanced Resolution (48k/24 bit) and DVD of the entire album in Advanced Resolution 5.1.

Included on the DVD is an interview with Graham where he discusses his photography and how he uses it to captures his vision of the world at a particular time and place. It is a fascinating interview as Graham comes across as an every-day person with none of the typical rock star bravado. There is also a set of Graham's photos on the DVD and the audio portion of the DVD uses some of these photos as a backdrop to each song.

At first, I started to grumble as there were no bonus tracks with the reissue but, on second listen, I think the disc is such a solid body of work that and bonus tracks could potentially take away from the simplicity and the power of the disc. The disc starts and ends with the political tunes, "Military Madness" and "Chicago/We Can Change the World", which seem just as relevant today as they were in 1971. There are also a number of tunes about the breakup of Nash's relationship with Joni Mitchell. After listening too many mopey emo-bands cary on about breakups, it is refreshing to hear Graham's dignified and hopeful introspection on life, love and loss.

There is an all-star cast playing with Graham on this disc which include David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, and Neil Young (who plays under the name Joe Yankee).

If you are a CSN or Crosby/Nash fan, this disc is well worth picking up. For long-time Graham Nash fans, the sound quality on this disc is THAT much improved that it is probably worth replacing a previously purchased copy of Songs for Beginners.

Currently Graham is touring the East Coast with David Crosby in support of the duo's 2004 double-disc effort "Crosby-Nash" (which was released in 2006 as a single disc entitled "Highlights"). Graham has written a couple of new tunes "Lost Bird" and "In Your Name" which he is supposed to be premiering on the current tour.

Here are the upcoming tour dates for the NY/NJ area:

October 11th, Shea Center for the Performing Arts, Wayne, NJ

October 13th, State Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ

October 14th, The Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury, Westbury, NY

October 16th, Performing Arts Ctr at Purchase College, Purchase, NY

Graham is also supposed to be finishing up a 65-song career-retrospective box set, Reflection, which is due out in February. According to, Nash said that the upcoming box set "starts in 1964 and ends in 2004. So it's the Hollies to the last record that David (Crosby) and I put out. And everything is in there. It's me solo, me with Crosby, me with Neil (Young), me with Stephen (Stills) and Neil, and me with Stephen, Neil and David."

Among the material included in the box set will be unreleased tracks, as well as different versions or mixes of previously released songs.

Graham Nash's Website
Crosby/Nash's Website