Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young / 4 Way Street – Specific Critiques of All Four Sides

More of the Music of David Crosby

More of the Music of Stephen Stills

More of the Music of Graham Nash

More of the Music of Neil Young

If you want to hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rock out live in your listening room, this copy will let you do it. It’s not easy to find good sound on even one side of this album, let alone all four!

Three Shootout Winning White Hot Stamper sides out of four! These three sides handily blow other copies out of the water, with the size, space, presence and energy that only the finest pressings are capable of. If you want to hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rock out live in your listening room, this is the only copy that will let you do it. No other copy we’ve ever played rocked the way this one rocked! For three quarters of the “concert”, YOU ARE THERE.

If the singers get hard and shrill in the louder passages, then what you have is a pretty typical pressing. Add grit and grain, smeared transients, opacity, surface noise and a lack of weight down low and you’ll know why it takes us years to find enough copies to shoot out — because this is what most pressings sound like.

As you have surely read on the site by now, this band has put out more bad pressings of good recordings than practically any I can think of. Here is an excerpt from our review of their first album that discusses the issue in more depth.

Wrong Sound

95% of all the pressings of this album I’ve ever played have been disappointing. They’re almost always wrong, each in their own way of course. Some are dull, some are shrill, some are aggressive, some have no bass — every mastering fault you can imagine can be heard on one copy or another of this record. The bottom line? If you want to buy them and try them from your local record store, plan on spending hundreds of dollars and putting in years of frustrating effort, perhaps with little to show for it in the end. This is one tough nut to crack; it’s best to know that going in.

Sound So Real

The song “Triad”, for example, presents us with a lone David Crosby and acoustic guitar. It’s as real sounding as anything I’ve ever heard from this band. Listening to that natural guitar tone brings home the fact that their studio recordings (and studio recordings in general) are processed and degraded significantly relative to what the original microphones picked up. This live album gives you the “naked” sound of the real thing — the real voices and the real guitars and the real everything else, in a way that would never happen again. (Later CSN albums are mostly dreadful. Fortunately later Neil Young albums, e.g., Zuma, are often Demo Discs of the highest quality.)

Side One

A+++, our Shootout Winner! Big, clear, present, dynamic — what’s not to like? It shows you what few copies can: how well-recorded the album is. Halverson did a great job but you have to work your tail off to find a copy that does his brilliant engineering justice. Sad, isn’t it?

Super High Rez — listen to how clear the crowd noises are. Yet the sound is immediate, with layers of depth and space around all the instruments and voices (and crowd members even!).

And last but not least, the most ENERGY. It’s a big deal with us here at Better Records. We want to feel something when we play these records. You will feel it when you play this copy, that we can guarantee.

Side Two

A+++ and actually A++++, not only our Shootout Winner but a big step up from any other copy, which is why it should be A++++; this side is operating on an entirely different level from any other side of any other copy we played.

Amazingly spacious and clear, with some of the richest midrange we heard all day — the guitars and vocals are hard to fault. Master Tape Sound in every way.

Side Three

A+++, our Shootout Winner again, with the most rock energy of them all. The sound just comes jumping out of the speakers on this copy. The voices are especially breathy and clear, the bass the deepest and tightest of any copy we played.

Side Four

A+ to A++, mostly clear, never edgy, with a solid bottom, but like most side fours, it can get a bit congested when loud. It needs more space, but they all do. It appears we did not give out any grade higher than A++, so this copy actually fared quite well against the competition.


Side One

Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
On the Way Home
Teach Your Children

This is one of the best sounding songs on the album. It has that “Traction In The Rain” quality: amazingly transparent and intimate. The guitars and the voice should sound DEAD ON when you get a good copy of this album, or at least if you get a good side one of this album.

The Lee Shore

Side Two

Right Between the Eyes
Cowgirl in the Sand

Like Triad, this song should be amazingly transparent and intimate. A top performance by Neil Young and the best music on side two.

Don’t Let It Bring You Down
49 Bye-Byes/America’s Children
Love the One You’re With

Side Three

Pre-Road Downs
Long Time Gone
Southern Man

Side Four

Carry On
Find the Cost of Freedom