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Stephen Stills - Stills Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 November 1997

Stephen Stills

format: 5.1 CD
label: HDS release by arrangement with Sony Music
performance: 5
sound 7
reviewed by: Richard Elen

ImageI must admit at the outset that this is not my favorite Stephen Stills album – that designation goes to his first solo release, Stephen Stills. I seem to remember that this was his first album on Columbia, back in 1975, and perhaps if I had never heard him before, I would have found the Stills album more significant than I do.

My main problem with the album is the arrangements, which I find rather lackluster and middle of the road. The songs themselves are often quite good – for example, "Turn Back the Pages," "My Favorite Changes," and Neil Young’s "New Mama" – but the way they are presented seems to dull their edges.

The one exception is the Crosby, Stills and Nash track "As I Come of Age," written by Stills and featuring Crosby, Stills and Nash on vocals, which comes across as the diamond in the rough on this album, presumably passed over in the singles stakes at the time, though it could have done quite well.

On the technical front, this album dates from 1975, though some tracks go back to 1971. Thus we are most likely dealing at least with 16-track masters and possibly some early 24s. This appears to be another Van Velsen/Margouleff/Miller surround remix, but as always, you can’t tell this from the (non-existent) liner notes. The original tapes have cleaned up nicely, although there is some overcompression on drums that may or may not be deliberate. Some tracks that are very near the edge as far as distortion goes – surround shows up virtually everything. But any faults here are from the original masters, not from the entirely competent surround presentation. As usual with this team, each track has a different surround layout in some respect, keeping the presentation interesting and involving to the ear. The overall surround treatment is sensitive and appropriate for the material.

No doubt there are listeners out there who will rate this album as their favorite Stills solo release, but so often with an album like this, preference has more to do with what we were going through ourselves at the time than the material itself. One also has to ask if they heard any of Stills’ other albums. If this album has a special place on your shelf, then by all means check out this DTS version; otherwise I think I would pass it by.

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