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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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on May 29, 2008
It's a true pleasure to have these three generally overlooked albums available in a single package, even "Thoroughfare Gap," probably Stills' least essential album, but which sounds better now than it did in 1978. (Compared to most current music, just about anything from 30 years ago sounds better.) At any rate, "Stills" (1975) and "Illegal Stills" (1976)can stand with the man's more well-known efforts, both arguably superior to either "Stephen Stills 2" or "Down the Road." As for the shortcomings mentioned in another review, the first 10 seconds of "First Things First" are also missing on the CD issued by Columbia, so BGO can't be blamed for that. Regarding sound quality, compare the Columbia CD of "Illegal Stills" with the new version and it's obvious the audio has been upgraded. Maybe not dramatically, but it's nice to have the "bottom" restored without having to boost the bass control on one's receiver. The liner notes are interesting, though flawed ("Love the One You're With" and "Sit Yourself Down" are NOT on "Stephen Stills 2.") All in all, an essential release for any fan of Stephen Stills.
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on December 18, 2007
BGO usually does a nice job of remastering previously issued CD's by artists such as Dan Fogelberg, Loggins & Messina, Poco, etc., but it missed the boat on this one. While it's nice to have these three CD's in a double disc package, BGO apparently didn't give too much attention to detail in that a portion of one of the songs has been cut off. On this BGO version, the song "First Things First" begins with Stills immediately singing the title of the song. However, the original version of that song from the "Stills" album contains an approximate 10 second introduction before the vocals begin. Cutting the length of a song is inexcusable, and is synonymous with poor quality control for a CD package that should have been better.
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on April 1, 2012
I was a bit hesitant at first, as I didn't know if this was just some cheap repackaging of three albums, thrown together to milk a few more dollars out of some low-selling albums. However, I was wrong.

First, the packaging is great, especially for what this is - a 3 album reissue. I have the "official" Columbia pressing of "Illegal Stills" on CD; this version sounds better. There is an extensive booklet and the sound quality of the songs is improved over previous pressings. In other words, this was not just some cheap, quickly put together compilation.

As for the content, these are definitely lesser albums in Stills' catalogue. Another reviewer stated that one of these albums was the best album Donnie Dacus ever made, so take that as you will. He's there for Stills and Illegal Stills, he's gone by Thoroughfare Gap. If you don't get the Donnie Dacus reference, you probably shouldn't buy this.

There are some good songs to be found across all three albums. Plus, if you are looking at this review, you are most likely well beyond "Love the One Your With". The playing is good, Stills' voice sounds in tune, there are several lost gems to be found across the three albums featured here, and this is a really repackaging job, both in terms of sound quality and content. If you are a Stills fan, it's worth the money. If you are a curious beginner, start with Stephen Stills and Stills 2.
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on March 3, 2010
The Stills CD if by far the best not a bad song on it, worth the price alone.
Illegal Stills is also very good, although I didn't care for every song, still an added bonus to the Stills CD.
Thoroughfare Gap I didn't really care for, a song or two maybe, but for the most part It's just not something I would have bought myself, but it came with it so I'm not really complaning.
To recap: Stills - Awesome, a must have. Illegal Stills - Cool, Not Bad, Enjoyed it. Thoroughfare Gap - Ok I guess, Not a Must.
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on April 13, 2013
The recent release of the Stills box set spurred me on to listen to a lot of his back catalog material. I must have listened to this 3 CD set about 10 times in the last 2 weeks. My solution to wading through some of the less-memorable songs and maximizing the song order was to obsessively rip my own "Best Of" with 19 songs on a 74 min. CD. I don't know any other way around how to eliminate the weaker material from the 3 CDs. The Australian import "Turnin' Back the Pages" isn't it. With the culling of 1/3 of the material from the 3 CDs (including over half from the disco oriented Thoroughfare Gap) you get Stills in fine vocal form, with great musicianship still present. I did find it puzzling that with his singing still intact, he chose to present a lot of vocals buried in a chorus approach, instead of out front. This created a loss of emotional connection with some of the songs. Still, I now am happy to have this edited collection sitting next to the first Manassas on my CD shelf.
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on January 18, 2013
When I first listened to this cd, I was disappointed. It did not measure up to Stephen Stills or Stephen Stills 2. Then I gave it a second and a third listen and changed my mind. Like so much of Stephen Still's music, you can't listen to it just once and form an opinion- his music grows on you the more you listen. While I would not say it is equal to his earlier solo work or Manassas, it is good music and evocative of the mid to late 70's. Anyone who is a fan of Stephen Stills should own this.
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on July 3, 2014
Unparalleled talent ~ Music I grew up listening to. Whether it's Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, C,S & N, or just Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield) they were great in the day and can still rock. A lot of really great music from the late 60's and 70's. If you are a fan you can't go wrong with this Classic Rock.
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on April 15, 2014
This is a can't miss for Stephen Stills fans. Both Stills and Illegal Stills are good solid albums throughout. Thoroughfare Gap is about a 50-50 proposition for most Stills fans with about every other song being classic Stills and the other half falling into the category of disco-inspired commercial filler. Since the Stills and Illegal Stills albums are on the same CD, it makes for a good listen. Overall it's a good package for Stills fans.
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on July 3, 2012
24 years or so ago being blown away by the CSN Woodstock performance of Suite: Judy Blue Eyes I went looking for more , and being on a budget I visisted the local 2nd hand "record" store and the only thing they had available was " Thoroughfare Gap " on CASSETTE !! Now you can imagine my surprise going from the Woodstock Acoustic to a Disco pumped "You can't Dance Alone " being the first track on Thoroughfare gap .

So , 25 years later and having collected every CSN , CSNY and Stills CD and having " Lost" my copy of Thoroughfare Gap some 15 years ago I was apprehensive about how this was going to sound now I understood the History of Stephen Stills ......WOW ....overly surprised ..and the best thing is that I have been turning my partner onto "Stills" for the last 4 years and she being 20 odd years younger than me she wasnt "as devoted " as I was to his sound ( and she loooooves music ) And low and behold comes the first track from Thoroughfare gap and she's dancing to it !!!!! and her being a Stones fan she recognised the " Not Fade Away " cover and loved " We will go on" and " Can't get no booty "

Obviously Stills was doing the :" Studio 54 " thing at the time ( along with Mick Jagger and alsorts) and you can really hear the disco influence - Like on Dark Star off CSN 1977( and on the Stones "Miss you ")

Being Stills comes the standard Acoustic song " Thoroughfare Gap " ( which Stills said was his finest literary work ) and some really cool darker numbers ( Lowdown ) and great cover of Midnight Rider ( Allman Brothers)

I Know Stills ..better than most and I will stick my neck out and say at this period of time and how music is today this is STILLS most contemporary music for the current era....10 years it may sound like it did in 78 , but couple this with 2 other Stephen Stills CD"s 1) Stills - which was a stunning return to form and is a great album in any era ,2) but I disagree with other reviews in that illegal Stills aint that great..tinny production , mis mash of songs ..but illegal Stills just dont fact its my least fav Stills Album ( even "Right by You " is far better )

Do yourself a fav and buy this .....and hear the real Stills , and the end of an amazing 10 years of Stephens writing and recording .............a man/musican at his Zenith ( 1979 would see Stills become the first artist to record digitally ( Cherokee-on youtube if you want to listen)..that honour was grabbed by Ry Cooder on "bop til ya drop "

"feel like I'm hanging , from a dying tree "
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on December 26, 2009
These are great records. Still Stills and Illegal Stills are the best, but Thoroughfare Gap is a must have for completest. You can't get it any other place. Very nice packaging and liner notes.
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