Manassas (album)

Manassas is the 1972 debut double album by Stephen Stills' new band of the same name, released April 1972. It was a critical comeback for Stills, and continued his commercial success by being certified Gold only a month after being released and peaking at number 4 on the US charts.[4]

Manassas
Manassasss.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 12, 1972
RecordedCriteria Sound Studios, Miami, Florida, Late 1971
GenreCountry rock, roots rock, blues rock, folk rock, southern rock
Length71:57
LabelAtlantic Records
ProducerStephen Stills, Chris Hillman, Dallas Taylor
Stephen Stills chronology
Stephen Stills 2
(1971)
Manassas
(1972)
Down the Road
(1973)
Manassas chronology
Manassas
(1972)
Down the Road
(1973)
Singles from Manassas
  1. "It Doesn't Matter" / "Rock & Roll Crazies Medley"
    Released: 1972
  2. "Rock & Roll Crazies Medley" / "Colorado"
    Released: 1972
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideC+[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[3]

RecordingEdit

The album was recorded at Criteria Studio B late 1971, where Stills used his clout to keep the studio and engineers Ron and Howard Albert available around the clock. The band all stayed in a rented house about 30 minutes away from the studio, in Coconut Grove. This allowed Stills to record the album around the clock, waking up band members in the early hours of the morning when an idea struck. Stills would also record in mammoth sessions often going on for days, until Chris Hillman and Stills got into a fight, after which they started to record at regular hours. Al Perkins and Dallas Taylor had a rule where they would not perform any more than seven takes for a single track, so often Stills would stay in the studio editing after having released the band at 4 or 5 am.[5] The band then flew to Stills' house in London in January 1972 to finish recording and mixing the album and to rehearse for an upcoming tour starting in March 1972. It was here that Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones played bass on and co-authored "The Love Gangster" and is reported to have said that he would have left the Stones to join Manassas.[1] At one point Stills put in an unbroken 106 hour stint in the studio, and engineer Ron Albert said he had just gotten to bed after a marathon session lasting 84 hours when the phone rang with Stills summoning him back to the studio with the words: "I know you're tired, but there's this idea I've got for this song that I want to get on tape before I forget it..." Another time, working to Stills' manic schedule, the band cut eight tracks in two days with no sleep.[6]

SongsEdit

The album was split into four thematic sides. Side 1 - The Raven, is a composite of rock and Latin sounds that the group would often perform in full live exactly as recorded. Side 2 - The Wilderness mainly centers on country and bluegrass. Side 3 - Consider is largely folk and folk-rock, and contains the song "Johnny's Garden", reportedly for the caretaker at Stills' English manor house bought from Ringo Starr. This includes Stills at his most experimental including using a Moog Synthesiser on "Move Around". The closing section, titled "Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay", is a rock and blues set.[7]

"What To Do" and "Right Now" are Stills take on the CSNY split and his relationship with Graham Nash.[8]

Artwork and PackagingEdit

The artwork was taken after Stills, a Civil War buff, had the band flown over to a vintage train station in Manassas, Virginia, where the Confederacy had claimed its first major victory at the Battle of Bull Run. The photo they liked was the band standing on the platform under a Manassas sign and so the band was named.[9] Included with the album were fold-out posters with named pictures of all the members and hand-written lyrics on the back, including a message urging people to 'Use The Power, Register and Vote'.

Chart performanceEdit

The album debuted on the Billboard Top LP's chart for the week ending April 29, 1972 and eventually peaked at No. 4[10] in June, during a 30-week run.[11] Stills' album shared the top 10 with an album by David Crosby and Graham Nash (Graham Nash David Crosby) and an album by Neil Young (Harvest), all collectively members of the quartet Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. "It Doesn't Matter" was released as a single and peaked at #61, during a chart run of 7 weeks.[12] "Rock & Roll Crazies" was released as the second single and peaked at #92 during a 3-week run.[13] By 1974, it had sold an estimated 400,000 copies in the US, which is the equivalent of 800,000 as the album is a double.[14]

ReceptionEdit

Manassas marked a critical comeback for Stills, with Allmusic calling it a "sprawling masterpiece"[1] and Rolling Stone saying it was "reassuring to know that Stills has some good music still inside him. Most of it has a substantial, honest sound found on too few records these days. All the sounds you hear come from the seven group members". Chris Hillman was singled out as an "importance in the success of Manassas and in the comeback of Stills, he can't be over-stressed [...] He's a masterful musician whether he's playing bass, guitar, or mandolin, and his boyishly pure, uncolored voice can carry a lot of emotional weight.".[15] However, Robert Christgau rated the album C+ and in a mixed review stated "Yes, Steve has gotten it together a little, even deigning to cooperate with real musicians in a real band, and yes, some of this four-sided set echoes in your head after you play it a lot. The only problem is you're never sure where the echoes come from".[16] In positive reviews, Record World called it "music of the highest order",[17] Cash Box said it will "convince you of Stills' worth",[18] and Billboard said it "offers loads of class material".[19] In a June 1972 review for The San Diego Door, Cameron Crowe said "Manassas always remains admirable if not exciting. The musicianship is generally excellent with the only pitfall being that the droning Stills' vocal pervades all but one of the LP's sixteen cuts". He also stated the "lyrics represent a low-point in Stills' lyricist career".[20] Chris Welch for Melody Maker said "The blues, soul, rock and country music are all the influences. They play them like the Grateful Dead, with a sincerity and ability that one does not always detect in the work of those exclusively involved in the original idiom".

Andrew Weiner for Creem said "Stills, perhaps the most maligned superstar in recent rock history, has finally - and against all the odds - got it on. And Stills has written too many good songs here even to try count them".[21]

Stills has stated the album did not receive the recognition it deserved due to Atlantic Records and Ahmet Ertegun (head of Atlantic Records) wanting him back in the "goldmine" that was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Stills has stated that as soon as the album shipped gold, Ertegun pulled the record, and people could not find it in stores.[22]

Due to the critics' dislike of Stills at the time for being too arrogant, he was passed up for the May 11, 1972 cover of Rolling Stone for David Cassidy, as fictionally shown in the Martin Scorsese produced TV series Vinyl.

The album was certified Gold on May 30, 1972, just over a month after being released.[4]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[23]

It was voted number 735 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). [24]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Stephen Stills, except where indicated.

Side one – The Raven
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Song of Love" 3:28
2."Medley
  • Rock & Roll Crazies
  • Cuban Bluegrass"

  • Stills, Dallas Taylor
  • Stills, Joe Lala
  • 3:34
    3."Jet Set (Sigh)" 4:25
    4."Anyway" 4:21
    5."Both of Us (Bound to Lose)"Stills, Chris Hillman3:00
    Total length:17:48
    Side two – The Wilderness
    No.TitleLength
    6."Fallen Eagle"2:03
    7."Jesus Gave Love Away for Free"2:59
    8."Colorado"2:50
    9."So Begins the Task"3:57
    10."Hide It So Deep"2:44
    11."Don't Look At My Shadow"2:30
    Total length:17:03
    Side three – Consider
    No.TitleWriter(s)Length
    12."It Doesn't Matter" (original releases of Manassas do not credit Roberts as a co-author)Stills, Hillman, Rick Roberts2:30
    13."Johnny's Garden" 2:45
    14."Bound to Fall" (original releases of Manassas do not credit Mastin as a co-author)Mike Brewer, Tom Mastin1:53
    15."How Far" 2:49
    16."Move Around" 4:15
    17."The Love Gangster"Stills, Bill Wyman2:51
    Total length:16:53
    Side four – Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay
    No.TitleLength
    18."What to Do"4:44
    19."Right Now"2:58
    20."The Treasure (Take One)"8:03
    21."Blues Man" (in tribute: Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson, Duane Allman)4:04
    Total length:19:49

    MembersEdit

    ManassasEdit

    Additional membersEdit

    • Sydney George (on The Raven and The Wilderness) - harmonica
    • Jerry Aiello (on The Raven and The Wilderness) - piano, organ, electric piano, clavinet
    • Bill Wyman (on The Raven and The Wilderness) - bass
    • Roger Bush (on The Raven and The Wilderness) - acoustic bass
    • Byron Berline - fiddle
    • Jerry Garcia - pedal steel guitar [Rumored to have played on "Jesus Gave Love Away For Free" (along with Al Perkins) and "So Begins The Task". Various interviews have Garcia talking about playing uncredited on the first Manassas album.]
    • Malcolm Cecil - Expanded Series III Moog Synthesizer programming

    TechnicalEdit

    • The Albert Brothers - Engineers
    • Stephen Stills, Ira H. Wexler - Cover Design
    • Ira H. Wexler - Photography

    Special thanks to Bruce Berry & Guillermo Giachetti, Daniel J. Campbell, Michael John Bowen, Michael O'Hara Garcia, Buddy P. Zoloth, Edward Astrin & Ahmet Ertegun

    ChartsEdit

    Chart performance for Manassas
    Chart (1972) Peak

    position

    US Billboard Top LPs[25] 4
    UK Album Charts[26] 30
    Canadian RPM 100 Albums[27] 9
    Dutch MegaCharts Albums[28] 1
    West German Media Control Albums[29] 34
    Norwegian VG-lista Albums[30] 6
    Australian Go-Set Top 20 Albums[31] 17
    Italian Album Charts[32] 23
    Swedish Kvällstoppen Chart[33] 8
    US Cash Box Top 100 Albums[34] 6
    US Record World Album Chart[35] 4

    SinglesEdit

    Sales chart performance for singles from Manassas
    Year Single Chart Position
    1972 "It Doesn't Matter" US Billboard Hot 100[36] 61
    Canada Top Singles (RPM) [37] 48
    US Top Singles (Cash Box) [38] 49
    US Top Singles (Record World) [39] 46
    "Rock & Roll Crazies Medley" US Billboard Hot 100[40] 92
    US Top Singles (Cash Box) [41] 111
    US Top Singles (Record World) [42] 86

    Year-end chartsEdit

    Chart (1972) Position
    US Billboard Pop Albums[43] 53
    US Cash Box[44] 64
    Dutch MegaCharts Albums[45] 10

    TourEdit

    After the initial Manassas tour from 9 April to 20 May. Manassas then completed five tours in six months, from July 14 to July 30 they toured the West Coast, the second tour from 11–28 August toured the East Coast, they then toured Europe and Scandinavia from September 13 to October 9. The fourth tour was a tour of Midwestern American Colleges, and finally the fifth tour was conducted in the South from December 1–19.[46][47] During this tour Manassas had a charter plane and toured manically, but Stills was losing money on these tours as he was paying the band very generously.[48]

    Date City Country Venue Attendance/Notes
    Europe Tour
    21 March 1972 Bremen Germany Beat Club (German TV)
    22 March 1972 Amsterdam Netherlands Concertgebouw
    23 March 1972 Frankfurt Germany Jahrhunderthalle
    25 March 1972 London England Big Beat Club
    26 March 1972 Paris France L'Olympia[49]
    Australia
    31 March 1972 Albury, New South Wales Australia Rock Isle (Mulwala) Festival[50] Headlined both nights
    1 April 1972
    2 April 1972 Rock Isle (Mulwala) Festival Due to headline (Cancelled due to weather)
    US Tour
    9 April 1972 Honolulu United States HIC Arena
    14 April 1972 Auburn Auburn Memorial Coliseum
    15 April 1972 Jackson Mississippi Coliseum
    17 April 1972 New Orleans Municipal Auditorium
    19 April 1972 Baton Rouge Assembly Center
    21 April 1972 Gainesville Fieldhouse
    22 April 1972 Dania Pirates World Sold Out[51]
    23 April 1972 Tampa Jai-Lai Fonton
    26 April 1972 Oxford Mississippi Colisseum
    28 April 1972 St Louis Kiel Auditorium
    29 April 1972 Peoria Fieldhouse
    30 April 1972 Chicago Arie Crown Theatre
    2 May 1972
    4 May 1972 New York City Carnegie Hall[52]
    5 May 1972 Boston Boston Garden
    7 May 1972 Uniondale Nassau Colisseum
    9 May 1972 Buffalo Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
    12 May 1972 Philadelphia The Spectrum Theatre 6,410[53]
    13 May 1972 Williamsburg College Of William And Mary
    15 May 1972 Atlanta Alexander Memorial Coliseum
    18 May 1972 San Antonio San Antonio Municipal Auditorium
    19 May 1972 Houston Hofheinz Pavilion
    20 May 1972 Dallas Dallas Memorial Auditorium
    West Coast Tour
    14 July 1972 Fresno United States Unknown Venue
    15 July 1972 Las Vegas Unknown Venue
    16 July 1972 Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl[54]
    17 July 1972 Sacramento Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
    21 July 1972 Berkeley Berkeley Community Theatre Sold Out[55]Roger McGuinn, Neil Young

    & Graham Nash guest on 22 July

    22 July 1972
    23 July 1972
    24 July 1972 Albuquerque Unknown Venue
    26 July 1972 San Bernardino Swing Auditorium
    28 July 1972 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
    30 July 1972 Tucson Tucson Community Centre
    July 1972 Miami Jai Ali Fonton
    East Coast Tour
    11 August 1972 Washington United States Merriweather Post Pavilion[56]
    12 August 1972 New York Roosevelt Raceway Festival of Hope[57]
    14 August 1972 Clarkston Pine Knob Music Theatre
    28 August 1972
    European Tour
    15 September 1972 Manchester Europe The Hardrock Concert Theatre
    17 September 1972 London Rainbow Theatre BBC TV recorded for

    Stephen Stills Manassas: In Concert - broadcast on 16 Nov 1972

    20 September 1972 Nederlands Unknown Venue
    22 September 1972 Stockholm Kungliga Tennishallen
    24 September 1972 Hamburg Musikhalle
    26 September 1972 Frankfurt Jahrunderthalle
    5 October 1972 Paris Bastille Railroad Station[58]
    7 October 1972 Norway Unknown Venue
    9 October 1972 Belgium Unknown Venue
    10 October 1972 London Sundown Festival
    Midwest American College Tour
    19 October 1972 Bloomington United States Indiana University
    20 October 1972 Tulsa Assembly Centre
    22 October 1972 Minneapolis Minneapolis Auditorium 4,700[59]
    26 October 1972 Madison Dane County Coliseum[60]
    27 October 1972 South Bend Athletics And Convocation Centre
    28 October 1972 Indiana University Assembly Hall[61]
    2 November 1972 Dayton Dayton Arena
    3 November 1972 Michigan State University Jenison Fieldhouse
    4 November 1972 Port Clinton Field House, University of Toledo[62]
    8 November 1972 Stanford University Maples Pavilion[63]
    16 November 1972 Portland Memorial Coliseum
    20 November 1972
    South Tour
    1 December 1972 United States
    9 December 1972 Anaheim Anaheim Convention Center
    19 December 1972

    Typical tour set listEdit

    All songs written by Stephen Stills, except where noted.

    1. "Rock And Roll Woman"
    2. "Bound To Fall"
    3. "Hot Burrito #2"
    4. "It Doesn't Matter"
    5. "So You Want To Be A Rock'n'Roll Star" (Jim McGuinn, Chris Hillman) (also played on April 22, 1972 in Dania, FL)
    6. "Go Back Home"
    7. "Change Partners"
    8. "Know You Got To Run" (Stills, John Hopkins)
    9. "Crossroads Blues" (Robert Johnson) (also played on April 22, 1972 in Dania, FL)
    10. "Black Queen" (also played on April 22, 1972 in Dania, FL)
    11. "4+20"
    12. "Blues Man"
    13. "Word Game"
    14. "Do For The Others"
    15. "Move Around"
    16. "Both Of Us (Bound To Loose)" (Stills, Chris Hillman)
    17. "Love The One You're With"
    18. "He Was A Friend Of Mine"
    19. "Fallen Eagle"
    20. "Hide It So Deep"
    21. "Johnny's Garden" (or "You're Still On My Mind" (Luke McDaniel) (played on April 22, 1972 in Dania, FL))
    22. "Don't Look At My Shadow"
    23. "Sugar Babe"
    24. "49 Bye-Byes" (also played on April 22, 1972 in Dania, FL)
    25. "For What It's Worth"
    26. "Song Of Love"
    27. "Rock & Roll Crazies"
    28. "Cuban Bluegrass"
    29. Jet Set (Sigh)
    30. Anyway
    31. The Treasure
    32. "Carry On" (also played on April 22, 1972 in Dania, FL)
    33. "Find The Cost Of Freedom/Daylight Again"

    Tour personnelEdit

    ReferencesEdit

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