'Manassas' is the 1972 debut double album from Stephen Stills' band of the same name. The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. "It Doesn't Matter" was released as a single and peaked at #61. Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones plays bass on and co-authored "The Love Gangster." Stills considers the album to be among his best work. It is perhaps the most highly regarded of Stills' solo albums.
The Raven 1 "Song of Love" – 3:28 2 Medley – 3:34 "Rock & Roll Crazies" (Stephen Stills/Dallas Taylor) "Cuban Bluegrass" (Stephen Stills/Joe Lala) 3 "Jet Set (Sigh)" – 4:25 4 "Anyway" – 3:21 5 "Both of Us (Bound to Lose)" (Stephen Stills/Chris Hillman) – 3:00 The Wilderness 1 "Fallen Eagle" – 2:03 2 "Jesus Gave Love Away for Free" – 2:59 3 "Colorado" – 2:50 4 "So Begins the Task" – 3:57 5 "Hide It So Deep" – 2:44 6 "Don't Look at My Shadow" – 2:30 Consider 1 "It Doesn't Matter" (Chris Hillman/Rick Roberts/Stephen Stills) – 2:30 2 "Johnny's Garden" – 2:45 3 "Bound to Fall" (Mike Brewer/Tom Mastin) – 1:53 4 "How Far" – 2:49 5 "Move Around" – 4:15 6 "The Love Gangster" (Stephen Stills/Bill Wyman) – 2:51
Rock & Roll is Here to Stay 1 "What to Do" – 4:44 2 "Right Now" – 2:58 3 "The Treasure (Take One)" – 8:03 4 "Blues Man" – 4:04
In tribute: Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson, Duane Allman. All
songs by Stephen Stills except as noted; the four suites of music
correspond to the four sides of the album's original LP release
Personnel : Stephen Stills - vocals, guitar, bottleneck guitar, piano, organ, electric piano, clavinette Chris Hillman - vocals, guitar, mandolin Al Perkins - steel guitar, guitar, vocals Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels - bass Paul Harris - organ, tack piano, piano, organ, electric piano, clavinette Dallas Taylor - drums Joe Lala - percussion, vocals Sydney George - harmonica Jerry Aiello - piano, organ, electric piano, clavinette Bill Wyman - bass Roger Bush - acoustic bass Byron Berline - fiddle
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.
Billboard Review: 4/29/1972 Stephen
Stills offers his new group and loads of class material in this
two-record package. Dallas Taylor (drums) and Chris Hillman (guitar)
are old standby sidemen of Stephen's, while Al Perkins (steel guitar),
Paul Harris (organ & piano), Joe Lala (congas & percussion) and
Calvin (Fuzzy) Samuels (bass) are the other major members of the unit.
The material ranges from the country tinged "Fallen Eagle" to "Song of
Love," a good pop bet".
Rolling Stone Review: (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 Review: (7/93, p.114) "...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..."
All Music Guide Review 1: After
the uneven 1971 release Stephen Stills 2, Stills formed a band around
him of some solid players (Chris Hillman, Joe Lala, Al Perkins, Fuzzy
Samuels, Dallas Taylor, etc.) and called it Manassas. Their first of
two albums was a self-titled double-record set. Many consider Manassas
to be Stills's finest effort. ~Rick Clark
All Music Guide Review 2: A
sprawling masterpiece, akin to the Beatles' White Album, the Stones'
Exile on Main St., or Wilco's Being There in its makeup, if not its
sound. Rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass have all been
styles touched on in Stephen Stills' career, and the skilled, energetic
musicians he had gathered in Manassas played them all on this album.
What could have been a disorganized mess in other hands, though, here
all gelled together and formed a cohesive musical statement. The songs
are thematically grouped: part one (side one on the original vinyl
release) is titled "The Raven," and is a composite of rock and Latin
sounds that the group would often perform in full live. "The
Wilderness" mainly centers on country and bluegrass (Chris Hillman's
and Al Perkins' talents coming to the forefront), with the track "So
Begins the Task" later covered by Stills' old flame Judy Collins. Part
three, "Consider" is largely folk and folk-rock. "Johnny's Garden,"
reportedly for the caretaker at Stills' English manor house and not for
John Lennon as is often thought, is a particular highlight. Two other
notables from the "Consider" section are "It Doesn't Matter" (later
redone with different lyrics by the song's uncredited co-writer Rick
Roberts on the first Firefall album) and "Move Around," which features
some of the first synthesizer used in a rock context. The closing
section, titled "Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay," is a rock and blues
set with one of the landmarks of Manassas' short life, the epic "The
Treasure." A sort of Zen-like meditation on love and "oneness,"
enlivened by the band's most inspired recorded playing it evolves into
a bluesy groove washed in Stills' fierce electric slide playing. The
delineation lines of the four themed song groupings aren't cut in
stone, though, and one of the strengths of the album is that there is a
lot of overlap in styles throughout. The CD reissue's remastered sound
is excellent, though missed is the foldout poster and handwritten
lyrics from the original vinyl release. Unfortunately, the album has
been somewhat overlooked over the years, even though Stills considers
it some of the best work he has done. Bill Wyman (who guested on "The
Love Gangster") has said he would have quit the Rolling Stones to join
Manassas. ~Rob Caldwell