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Just Roll Tape: April 26, 1968


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Audio CD, July 10, 2007
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Just Roll Tape: April 26, 1968 + Demos + Pieces
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B000R7I3KA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,807 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. All I Know is What You Tell Me
2. So Begins the Task
3. Change Partners
4. Know You Got To Run
5. The Doctor Will See You Now
6. Black Queen
7. Bumblebee (Do You Need A Place to Hide?)
8. Judy
9. Dreaming of Snakes
10. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
11. Helplessly Hoping
12. Wooden Ships
13. Treetop Flyer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In April of 1968, after leaving Buffalo Springfield, but before joining CSN, Stephen Stills found himself in a New York recording session with then girlfriend Judy Collins. Stills wandered down the hall with an engineer and an acoustic guitar, and laying down a couple hundred-dollar bills, told the engineer Just roll tape. What he recorded in the ensuing hours was the first ever versions of what would become classics for Stephen Stills, CSN, CSNY, and Manassas. Almost 40 years later the tapes, rescued decades ago from a garbage bin, are finally remastered and released to the public.

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The title and cover art effectively tell the story of this dusty gem. Captured fly-on-the-wall style in an impromptu live-in-the-studio burst after a Judy Collins session on which the 23-year-old Stephen Stills played, the soon-to-be ex-leader of Buffalo Springfield (and Collins's ex-boyfriend) unleashes unplugged, occasionally incomplete versions of songs he had recently written and wanted to get on tape. Discovered in 1978 and nearly discarded, the reels found their way to Graham Nash in 2003, who encouraged Stills to release them. He finally did so in 2007, nearly 40 years after the original session, and the result is the most revelatory album in Stills's bulging catalog. Even with remastering, the sound is on the crude side. Nevertheless, early takes of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Helplessly Hoping," and "Wooden Ships," all of which would appear in far more polished versions on Crosby, Stills & Nash's self-titled debut, are sung with a passion and honesty seldom exposed by the singer/songwriter. Stills's voice sometimes cracks, his guitar work intermittently sounds muddy, and these are definitely works in progress, some of which never appeared on an official release. Yet the artist is caught arguably at the peak of his substantial talents, laying down soon-to-be-classic melodies while they were fresh in his head. Folk/rock historians and Stills fans will surely be thrilled with this nascent, unvarnished set. Though Just Roll Tape may be too raw for some, it finds Stills at the crucial stage right before superstardom changed his--and popular music's--future forever. --Hal Horowitz

Customer Reviews

Definitely a must buy for Stills fans.
Reenie
If, however, you are a fan of acoustic Stills and like to hear him in good voice,you should give this one a listen.
Josef S. Olsavsky
Great solo showcase for Stephen Stills with a new batch of songs, about to be unleashed (some of them) with CSN.
H. M Rivera

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 118 people found the following review helpful By J. Gemmill on July 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First, a little context: in April '68, the 23-year-old Stephen Stills is nearing the end of his Buffalo Springfield days - in less than two weeks (May 5th), that fabled group will play its final concert, w/the band's patched-together final LP, Last Time Around, being released that August. While Crosby, Stills & Nash is (obviously) on the horizon, at this juncture it's by no means definitive - Nash is still w/the Hollies, after all; and Crosby and Stills, while pals, have yet to commit to a partnership together. In other words, for Stills - everything's in flux.

So what's a young singer-songwriter-guitarist to do? Apparently, after a session guesting on Judy Collins' "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" album, it's slipping the engineer a couple hundred bucks so that he can lay down demos of a handful of new songs ... and what songs! "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," "Helplessly Hoping" and the Crosby, Stills and Kantner-penned "Wooden Ships" turn up the following spring on Crosby, Stills & Nash's debut; "Black Queen" graces Stills' first solo LP; "Change Partners" and "Know You Got to Run" highlight his second solo album; and "So Begins the Task," which he played live with CSNY in '69 and '70, appears on the classic two-LP Manassass set. "Treetop Flyer" (which was recorded elsewhere) shows up on Stills' overlooked 1991 acoustic set, "Stills Alone."

I add the context just so I could say this: "Just Roll Tape" is a tremendous set that shows Stills at the peak of his song-writing prowess. While it may not be the perfect pick for casual fans or neophytes, for those of us who are the opposite, it's a godsend. It's unbelievable that some of these (like "Change Partners") were held back for years and others ("All I Know Is What You Tell Me," "The Doctor Will See You Now," "Judy" and "Dreaming of Snakes") were left behind.

Let's hope this is the first of many releases from Stills' vault.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Josef S. Olsavsky on July 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
If you're looking for polished studio material, this cd is not for you. If, however, you are a fan of acoustic Stills and like to hear him in good voice,you should give this one a listen. This is just Stills with a guitar. As advertised, this cd contains material left behind from an impromptu recording session which followed the recording of a Judy Collins album. Not surprisingly, there is a previously unheard version of Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. With no harmonies to accompany it, it may sound a bit bare at first, but Stills is in fine voice throughout this product and he is hitting notes much higher than I remember ever before. He has added another rather simple love song simply entitled Judy. Altogether, there are five previously unheard tracks, two of which are great: The Doctor Will See You Now opens with a Neil Young sounding riff. It also features a high-pitched voice, one that is amazingly in tune; Bumblebee is a fun, upbeat number. Helplessly Hoping, Wooden Ships and Know You Got to Run all sound different without the csn harmonies, but all are good. Wooden Ships does not contain the entire song as csn recorded it, but is still quite listenable. Helplessly Hoping is great even without the harmonies; it would have been a hit either way. The cd also contains different versions of Change Partners and Manassas's So Begins the Task. A longer version of Treetop Flyer is included, probably to capitalize on the song's current popularity. It is not a part of the 1968 sessions as is evident in the voice. Any fan of early Stills will be pleased with this effort.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on July 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I have been waiting two months for this release and I am pleased to say that I love it! These stripped-down versions of the tunes we're familiar with and the previously-unreleased one's as well really give you insight into how great of a writer Stills is. Especially interesting are the snippets of lines that became lyrics in other tunes Stills was to release later on. Extra thanks to Stephen for finally providing us with an audio version of "Treetop Flyer"!
We Stills fans can't thank Joe Colasurdo enough for getting this long lost tape to Stephen all these years later. Its nice to know that music still means more than money to someone out there.
Now if we can just get CSN to release an album of all-new material in an acoustic format
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Barker on December 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Obviously, Mr. Stills did not set out to make definitive versions of these songs. He just wanted to get them down before he forgot anything, and to work on them with Mr. Crosby.

However, it's a fascinating glimpse into the process that took place, and a rare chance to hear Mr. Stills pre-production. With the exception of the first CSN album, his work was often over-produced, so to hear him in raw form is refreshing.

99.9% of all the songwriters in this world would die to have written this batch of songs. Any body of work that would lure Neil Young into your band would have to be pretty astounding, and so it is.

Much love and prayers go out to Stephen in his fight against prostate cancer.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steven Springer on August 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This album is worth having merely for the fact that you get to hear the origins of songs -- or portions of lyrics -- that ultimately wound up on five different albums featuring Mr. Stills. And to think they were all there in 1968 before he hooked up with Nash and Crosby. I like the raw element to these takes, especially listening to Stephen tuning his guitar just before breaking into the opening of Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. The previously unreleased cuts are gems as well, and it's a treat to hear them nearly 40 years after he first laid them down on tape. This is a worthy purchase for any Stills fan.
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Just Roll Tape: April 26, 1968
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