Steven Stills “Manassas”


Check out the album cover. Now, that, is boss! It’s kind of grungy, got every player’s name just as big as the title; it’s almost as if they decided to call the album Manassas because it happened to already be on the photograph. To me, it says, “Look, the 60s are over, we’re not making some artsy album, we just got a kick-ass crew here and we’re going to play it straight up for ya.” Yup, got to give it up for that classic album cover.

I figured this would be a good album with which to introduce the country rock angle of this here blog. But Manassas (technically the band and album name) goes a bit beyond simple categorization here. The album is divided into 4 parts, as briefly described below:

The Raven
Imagine you walk into a bar, and the dudes pictured above are all rocking. Yeah, ok, great, another bar band. But as soon as you order your beer and take your first sip, you suddenly realize you’re not blabbing on as usual, and nobody else is either, because the whole audience, yourself included, is entranced with the bar band, who, to your ultimate surprise, has been teaching your heart to pump to a new rhythm.

The Wilderness
Where I’m from, the kids used to say the same thing all the time: “I like all music… except for classical and country of course.” Hate to say I may have been one of them, but things changed when I finally caught the country bug… and my music collection started to get a lot better too. If you find the need to skip this whole section, basically straight-forward bluegrass and country music, the album is still worth your while, but I wouldn’t skip this part for my life, nor would I recommend skipping it.

This is the part you want to be driving on the open road with. By the time we get to How Far, it starts to feel like a folk-tinged shadow of the first section, but by now we’re firm believers. Damn, I’m glad I got this album, we say. And we keep driving on with that long-reaching look in our eye.

Rock & Roll is Here to Stay
And just when we thought we had made it, Manassas puts the nail in the coffin. Just in case you were braindead for the previous fifty minutes, the 8:00 minute Treasure is here and will serve to remind you what is going on.

Typically, an album this ambitious just couldn’t be good. No way could they pull it off. But, damn it all, Manassas really hits the spot, and it sounds great today. It’s hard to imagine rock music that makes you feel so good it’s like you already knew the tunes, but this is it.

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Go on and Get it

Stephen Stills - Manassas

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  • Hey… I’m late to the party, but I gotta sound off, ’cause you’re so dead-on right about this album. This is one righteous slab. This is the band that Bill Wyman would’ve left the ‘Stones to play with. Stills at his finest, teamed up with one badass band. Great assessment of a great album. peace.

  • i bought this album along with the allman brother’s eat a peach and john lee hooker’s endless boogie in a flu induced delirium when i was 17 (1972).

    i rode my bike to the 7-11 and bought some bc powders.
    then to the music store.
    i spent the next two days sleeping, sweating, fevers, and chilling all while rising to raise the 33’s on the turntable spindle and starting them again and again.

    this is music from an era and genre that is culminated in this album.
    the best of the best.
    i think stills saw it as passing and wanted to record it’s talent.

    stills paid millions of his own money on this project.

    it is succint and intense and fun.

    i can only say craig fuller took it any farther.

  • Andy

    I SAW Manassas perform this album at the Hardrock in Manchester UK in the early 1970’s. ‘Fuzzy’ Samuels is still the best rock bass guitarist I’ve heard. The range, the breadth was and is just fantastic. An amazing gig and album.

  • TBone

    I remember getting the manassas album when it came out, I thought it was excellent then just look at the lineup with Byron Berline to boot one of the greatest fiddlers of bluegrass and an ex bluegrass boy, I have to say I agree with you about the Dillard and Clark expedition as well which has some of the same musicians glad to hear someone else is listening to this stuff TBone

  • schmitts

    My favorite album of all time. Twenty-one tracks and each and every one an essential componant in the mix. So many diverse styles… rock of course, country, folk, bluegrass, Latin, blues, ballads, and even a pioneering, and entirely apropos use of the moog synthesizer on ‘Move Around’. I couldn’t live without ‘Bound To Fall’, ‘So Begins the Task’, and ‘It Doesn’t Matter’. I must have played this album 1000 times since I bought it in ’72 and I’ll play it another thousand if the Lord lets me. Thanks, Stephen for such a gift!

  • I would like to book Mr. Steven stills in my club.I belive he is still playing on tour. I have a state of the art night club with all the toys sound lights green room we have been doing more blues stuff , would like to get Mr.stills to think about a night in and entiment setting solo or what ever sets the stage for a great night of music. we can seat about 300 people so 50 dollar ticket would pay about about 15,000 Scotty miller 757-478-9899 please call if these # work

  • I was 17 when I put this tape in the dash board of my van played it for seven mouths and never
    removed it until I got in a Car reck the day I went And bought a new tape ,cd,8,track all of the above
    I,am 56 now and it still Jamin you need this music .To keep you company.

  • Austin Bell

    I’ve been where this album cover was shot at and I live less than 30 minutes away from there. It’s actually a train station.

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