Note how Crosby’s voice is “chesty” on the better sounding copies. Some make him sound like he’s all mouth and no diaphragm. When his voice is full-bodied and solid, that’s when he sounds more like a real person and less like a pop recording of a person.
All credit must go to Stephen Barncard.
Harry Pearson put this record on his TAS List of Super Discs, not exactly a tough call if you ask us. Who can’t hear that this is an amazing sounding recording?
One of our key test tracks for side one is Cowboy Movie, and one thing that separated the best pressings from the lesser ones was the sound of the hand claps. It’s a dense mix and they are not easy to hear, but on the best copies there is audible echo and ambience around them, with a richer “flesh on flesh” quality to their sound.
Not many pressings had it, and the ones that did tended to do most other things well also.
Which is what makes it a good test!
You Don’t Have to Be High to Hear It
When you drop the needle on this record, all barriers between you and the musicians are removed. You’ll feel as though you’re sitting at the studio console while Crosby and his no-doubt-stoned-out-of-their-minds Bay Area pals (mostly Jefferson Airplaners and Grateful Deads, see list below) are laying down this emotionally powerful, heartfelt music.
The overall sound is warm, sweet, rich, and full-bodied… that’s some real ANALOG Tubey Magic, baby! And the best part is, you don’t have to be high to hear it. You just need a good stereo and the right pressing.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to the superbly talented recording engineer on this project, Stephen Barncard (American Beauty, Deja Vu, Tarkio, etc.). This album is without a doubt his masterpiece. It fully deserves its standing as one of the Ten Best Rock Recordings of All Time.
A Must Own Rock Record
We consider this album a Masterpiece.
It’s a recording that belongs in any serious rock and pop music collection.
Music Is Love
Tamalpais High (At About 3)
What Are Their Names
Traction in the Rain
Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves)
I’d Swear There Was Somebody Here
David Crosby’s debut solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name is a one-shot wonder of dreamy but ominous California ambience. The songs range from brief snapshots of inspiration (the angelic chorale-vocal showcase on “Orleans” and the a cappella closer, “I’d Swear There Was Somebody Here”) to the full-blown, rambling western epic “Cowboy Movie,” and there are absolutely no false notes struck or missteps taken. No one before or since has gotten as much mileage out of a wordless vocal as Crosby does on “Tamalpais High (At About 3)” and “Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves),” and because the music is so relaxed, each song turns into its own panoramic vista… Not only is it among the finest splinter albums out of the CSNY diaspora, it is one of the defining moments of hungover spirituality from the era.