By 1972, Stephen Stills had made three albums with Buffalo Springfield, the first in December 1966 was rereleased in March 1967 with the addition of For What It’s Worth, Stills’ first hit reaching No.7. in the US chart, the album reaching No.80. Again was released in 1967 reaching No.40 and Last Time Around in 1968 reached No.42. He recorded Super Session (1968) with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield reaching No. 12. He made it to No.6 with the Crosby Stills & Nash album (1969), topped the US charts with Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s Deja Vu (1970), did it again with the live album 4 Way Street (1971) and made two solo albums that reached No.3 (1970) and No.8 (1971) that featured Eric Clapton and or Jimi Hendrix. The single, Love The One You’re With reached No 12 on the US chart in 1970 – a bona fide solo hit single.
In 1972 he formed Manassas with Chris Hillman from The Byrds and released a debut double-album that was split into different musical concepts covering Rock/Blues/Country/Bluegrass/Latin – vaguely. Stills put together an all star band that had Bill Wyman playing bass and co-writing The Love Gangster, a single that made it to No.61 on the US chart. Rumour has it that, Jesus Gave Love Away For free has an uncredited Jerry Garcia on pedal steel.
Stephen Stills: vocals, keyboards & guitar (CSNY, ex-Buffalo Springfield)
Chris Hillman: vocals, mandolin & guitar (ex-Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers)
Al Perkins: steel guitar & guitar (ex-Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Brothers)
Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuels: bass, backing vocals (ex-CSNY and John Sebastian)
Paul Harris: keyboards (played with John Sebastian during 1968-71)
Dallas Taylor: drums (ex-Clear Light, CSNY and John Sebastian)
Joe Lala: percussion, backing vocals (ex-Blues Image and Pacific Gas & Electric)
I see this album as an American Exile On Main Street mixed with The Byrds’ Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, the first America album and The Allman Brothers’ Brothers and Sisters. It reached No.4 on the US charts as did Nash and Crosby’s debut. Neil Young’s Harvest reached No.1. In 1972 these four musicians had incredible success – they could do nothing wrong.
After 1972 Neil Young’s creative star rose as Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Graham Nash’s creative stars slowly began to fade. They have continued with their success, based mainly on the earlier parts of their careers. Stephen Stills Manassas is an overlooked album from the end of his best period and the live performance is the essence of the era – if this is your genre and you don’t have this album you know what you must do.