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Manassas

4.6 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 12, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Chris Hillman and Dallas Taylor guest on this 1972 classic with hit tunes It Doesn't Matter and Rock and Roll Crazies .
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 12, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B000002J6F
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,855 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Time gives us perspective and over 30 years after I bought it on vinyl, the album Manassas holds up well, gaining poignancy in that Stills would probably never again reach similar heights as an artist. Here he is at the pinnacle of his powers, writing a ton of quality songs and managing a large, talented, TIGHT band (probably with the considerable help of ex-Byrd Chris Hillman--one of the things that attracted me to the album in the first place).
The results are impressive. This is a solid album that spans a number of musical genres, and hearing it re-mastered on CD is a treat. There are few weak songs and as a fan of bands with three guitars, Stills, Hillman, and Perkins (often, but not always, on Steel) mesh very well. Stills is firmly in the spotlight, but seems secure enough (in contrast to his musical endeavors with Neil Young) to let the band function as an integrated whole. I remember this album getting lukewarm reviews at the time, which seems ludicrous. If only more CDs contained over 20 solid tracks.
I saw this band twice, and the first time--a three hour show at Maples Pavillion at Stanford University--they blew me away, opening with "So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star?" and following with "Rock and Roll Woman." They then went into the suite on Side One, and things got even better.
Stills appeared to be a little wobbly, a foreshadowing of the kinds of things would later work against him as an artist, but it never interfered with the quality musicianship of the evening. At one time during the night he said "This is the best band I've ever played with," and truthfully it was. CSNY may have had the star power and the hits, but could never be mistaken as a full functioning band, especially in concert.
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Format: Audio CD
After the Beatles' "White Album" and The Who's TOMMY, it became fashionable for artists to record a "double album". The unfortunate consequence was that, under the necessity of filling two vinyl discs, material was included that might otherwise have been left on the "cutting room floor", so to speak. Double albums were a stretch and, as a result, tended to be somewhat uneven.
MANASSAS was, at once, a band put together by Stephen Stills, the name of the album released by that band, and Stephen Stills' double album. Despite the presence of other well-known musicians, the album is very much a Steve Stills project from beginning to end. The band is very good and the musicianship is tight, but Stills is out in front throughout. He plays the leads, he's the lead singer, and he wrote almost all of the material.
MANASSAS is organized into four sections, corresponding to the four sides of the original two discs, and each has its own sub-title. The first, titled "The Raven", prominently displays latin, jazz and blues influences. It includes "Jet Set (Sigh)", a blues-based rocker that is my favorite song on the album. The second section, "The Wilderness", has a strong country-western flavor. It's a bit too twangy for my taste, and is my least favorite part of the album, but has some nice moments. Third is "Consider", a section of essentially folk-rock tunes. "How Far", another favorite of mine, is found here. The last section, "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay", is basicaaly straight-up rock although it has a short, bluesy finale.
I've always regarded Stills as a pretty significant rock artist. His credentials are impressive, beginning with Buffalo Springfield and continuing through the various permutations of CSN and CSN&Y, Manassas and solo efforts that were, in some instances, quite good.
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Format: Audio CD
In the early 1970s as an undergraduate at UVA when I eagerly awaited the next album from my favorite rock and roll artists, I was constantly dismayed to read that what had been going on in the late 60s was still continuning. Bands that had sky rocketing success were breaking up at the height of their popularity for no apparent reason to us other than they just could not get along or wanted more freedom of expression, etc. None of this could be understood by those of us who just wanted to hear more great music. I could never understand why Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young) could not stay together for the next 40 years and satisfy my unquenchable thirst. After two solo albums by Stills, I had decided that he was my favorite of the group. When Manassas came out and I saw that Stephen Stills was one of the driving forces in the group, I bought the album. Without a doubt, that was one of the best purchases I had ever made. What a collection of the finest rock and roll music you will ever hear. It starts strong and finishes stronger. The musicianship, the vocals, the passion, it's all there. The first side of the first LP blew me away. Then came the country and western side with the wonderful "So Begins The Task". Firefall recorded the first song on the third side (first side of the second LP), "It Doens't Matter", and had a commercial hit. Anyone who ever compared the two versions would wonder why it wasn't Manassas's version that they were listening to on their car radio. It gets better and better. My personal favorite is on the last side, "The Treasure", a song that makes me want to turn it up and sing along. I was fortunate enough to see Manassas in concert at the College of William & Mary in 1972. What an experience.Read more ›
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