DJ Sue

DJ Sue
Welcome to my blog. I’m a DJ in Second Life and I find myself discussing the music I’m playing with many of those in attendance at my shows. Unfortunately, when I am busy DJing, I can’t participate and discuss the music as fully as I would like. I’m hoping this blog can help change that. Look here before my set to see if I might be playing something interesting today or maybe after to see if discussion on a topic might continue. You are invited to join in the conversation and leave comments.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Sometimes Young)

SUE’S SUNDAY SOJOURN: Each week Sue will showcase a particular artist or band during her entire two hour set.  Each week, prior to the set, there will be a blog post where she will write about her memories, favorite stories or share other interesting tidbits about the artist.  The idea here is not to tell the story of the band or play two hours of their greatest hits.  The idea behind Sue’s Sunday Sojourn will be to spend time with Sue, down in her music vault.  As she puts together the set, she will reminisce and share special memories.  “I remember when this came out,” or, “I recall hearing this for the first time and I thought…”  She might share little known facts, favorite memories, fun stories or maybe even some personal experiences. 

The sets will have plenty of the big hits but be ready for a few obscure tunes that may be her personal favorites.  She will probably include a few rarities or possibly unreleased material, along with other assorted curios.  So join her every Sunday night from 7-9 PM SLT as she lets you into her world.

Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Sometimes Young)

More than once I’ve written about that pivotal summer of 1969.  There is another thing I can add; we began hearing from a new band called “Crosby, Stills & Nash.”  They were another in what was becoming a trend called the “super-group,” a band formed from key members of other famous/successful bands.  David Crosby had been a member of the Byrds but found himself kicked out in 1967. (Accounts vary but it seems that Crosby’s drug use had become unacceptable and he was less than reliable.)  When Buffalo Springfield disbanded in 1968, Stephen Stills began jamming with Crosby.  Graham Nash, a member of the British group, the Hollies, knew Crosby from touring and decided to join the group and make it a trio.  Occasionally, Stills’ old buddy from Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, would join them.

My brother played guitar and never went anywhere without it.  During that summer visit we were sitting around as he entertained me with songs he knew I loved and a few I had never heard.  He introduced me to CSN by playing a catchy piece on his guitar and then he began to sing the words.

“It's getting to the point where I'm no fun anymore.
I am sorry.
Sometimes it hurts so badly I must cry out loud.
I am lonely.
I am yours; you are mine; you are what you are.
You make it hard.”

He stopped right there and admitted that he didn’t know the rest of the words.  Just that short bit already had me mesmerized and lulled into a state of reverie.  I wanted more.

For the past couple of years, whenever my brother and I would get together, he would give me guitar lessons.  I think he wanted someone to play duets with someday.  I had no real interest in learning but I went along because it was quality time with my brother and I admit, there was a bit of hero worship there too.  I remember sitting on his lap as we both held his guitar. “This is the E string; this is the A string; this is the D string, etc.”  That part was boring but he would try to teach me simple songs.  This usually ended up with me learning which strings to pluck with the pick and in what order, as he worked the frets with his left hand.

At some point during that visit he was giving me a guitar lesson, I was on his lap and I wanted to learn that CSN song.  He explained it was too complex to teach to me and I was not ready for it but after some thought, he set out to teach me another.  In reality, I once again did only the right hand while my brother did the left.  It took a while but I finally had it down in some semblance.  My brother than taught me the words.

“Guinnevere had green eyes
Like yours, Lady like yours
When she'd walk down
Through the garden
In the morning after it rained,
Peacocks wandered aimlessly
underneath an orange tree.
Why can't she see me?”

It never sounded any good (in fact, it sucked) but it was precious quality time with my brother.

I had already begun to associate the smell of pot with my brother too.  Sitting there with him, it permeated everything he wore.  It wasn’t the strong reek that you smell when some people enter the room.  In fact, most would probably never pick up on it and I did only because of our close proximity.  I’m not sure at what point I began knowing what that smell was but by the time I smoked pot for the first time, about 1974, I associated it with my brother.  I always somehow felt close to my brother when I smoked pot.

Eventually it was time to send my brother back to San Francisco.  We all saw him off at the airport and when we got home, I went up to my room.  There, on my pillow was a brand new, sealed copy of Crosby, Stills & Nash, along with a quick note from my brother.  I soon had the cellophane removed and had it playing on my record player.

The album that would become the gift that started my love of CSN back in 1969

Later that same summer, Crosby, Stills & Nash, now with Young, would begin touring and playing live performances.  Their second performance happened to be at a previously unknown place in upstate New York called “Woodstock.”  After their first song, Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Stephen Stills addressed the crowd of 400,000, “Thank you, we needed that.  This is our second gig.  This is only the second time we've performed in front of people. We're scared shitless!” We will relive that magic Woodstock moment this summer, along with the rest of the concert, here at AWT in August.

Crosby, Stills & Nash continued to release records and I continued to buy them.  The music was great and they reminded me of my brother.  Déjà Vu was released early in 1970 and it contained a song written for them by Joni Mitchell, Woodstock.  It was a song about that festival which was their second live gig.  This song also had a harder, more electric, sound than their usual music.  It therefore sang more to my tastes than my brother’s.

On 4 May 1970, tragedy struck as National Guard troops fired on unarmed students protesting the war in Vietnam.  I went over this event in detail and how in many ways it was the loss of my innocence.  You can find this account in my Sunday Sojourn for DEVO.  Most people today best remember that event from the song written by Neil Young right after it happened, Ohio.  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, went into the studio and recorded it immediately.  It was produced and put on store shelves in a rush and hit #14 on the Billboard charts by August.  Neil Young has said of the Kent State shootings that it is “probably the biggest lesson ever learned at an American place of learning.”  The song was banned on most AM stations across the country because it was openly critical of President Nixon and his policies, though it did get plenty of airplay on some pirate and many FM stations.  Supposedly in the recording studio, after the take that became the single, David Crosby broke down and wept.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young seemed to drift apart after that.  They never formally broke up; they just started working on other projects, mostly solo.  They also started working together in pairs.  In 1972, Nash and Crosby came out with an album together, Graham Nash David Crosby.  (Original, huh?)  This album contained the hit, Immigration Man, which hit #36 on the charts.  There were all sorts of permutations and combinations of these four releasing records, along with more solo stuff.

As I was graduating High School, Crosby Stills and Nash finally released another album together.  This album was simply titled, CSN.  There were some popular songs on this record, including Just a Song Before I Go, which was there biggest hit ever and made it all the way to #7.  It’s interesting that they usually played songs that would be considered “longer” compared to those of other artists but their biggest hit was only two minutes and fourteen seconds long.

OK, this was not one that I ran out and bought the next day, as I often describe but I did eventually get it.  I remember smoking a joint as I played it for the first time.  The smell of pot always reminded me of my brother and the fact that I was listening to CSN just made me feel all the closer to him.  It was the last song on that first side that just hit me between the eyes.  I’m sure the pot was having its effect on me too but the whole thing became rather surreal.  The song, Cathedral, talks about death and reincarnation from a first person perspective.  It is rather a somber song taking place in a graveyard and remains one of my favorites by CSN to this day.

There next album, Daylight Again, came out five years later but still did pretty well on the charts.  After it was released, David Crosby was sent to prison in Texas for nine months after a drug conviction in that state.  There would be other albums but they would not realize the commercial success that they had in the past.

I finally got to see CSN at Woodstock ’94 in upstate New York.  I was not that close to the stage and the sound quality wasn’t the best.  They didn’t sound right and I couldn’t quite place my finger on the cause.  I chalked it up to the fact that John Sebastian, formerly of the Lovin’ Spoonful, was on stage with them.  I hadn’t put much stock in the rumors that David was very sick and having liver trouble.

Before I even knew that I was going to Woodstock ’94, which was a fluke, I had purchased tickets to see CSN in Holmdel, back near my home in New Jersey.  Six days after seeing them at Woodstock ’94, I saw them again.  This time I could see and the sound was better.  I was completely horrified.  David looked like one of Disney animatronics just going through the motions.  I wasn’t even sure if his microphone was turned on.  He looked terrible and it seemed that his life of drug and alcohol abuse had caught up to him.  David Crosby was dying.  That night was to be their last performance for the year and I was sure that it would be the last time he ever appeared on stage and I was there to say “goodbye.”  I had gotten to see them but just barely.

He was hospitalized on 5 November 1994 with liver failure.  It was there, in the hospital, that he learned that his wife, Jan, was pregnant with their first child after a considerable effort in trying over the years.  Only a liver transplant could save the 53 year old.  Hopes rose when a compatible liver became available and they came crashing right back down again when it was discovered to be cancerous.

On November 20, a young man in Southern California was declared braindead after a traffic accident.  He was type matched for organ donation and Crosby finally had his liver.  As he was wheeled into surgery, he and his wife held hands and sang Amazing Grace together.  Seven hours later, the world received the news.  Crosby had survived the operation and was listed in critical but stable condition.  The operation had gone well.  David Crosby would go on to make a complete recovery and his son, Django Crosby, was born the following year.

The operation stirred up a bit of controversy.  Some questioned if Crosby received preferential treatment because he was rich and famous.  He had been clean and sober for quite some time and it was revealed that Hepatitis C had destroyed his liver, though David himself admits there is a good chance that the disease was related to his drug use.  The controversy still lingers.

In the early summer of 1996, Crosby, Stills & Nash came back to Holmdel, New Jersey.  Early on in the concert, David Crosby did one of his signature tunes, Almost Cut My Hair.  He did it with such vigor and perfect vocal control that it was like comparing night and day when compared to 1994.  He was actually showing off his amazing vocal abilities towards the end.  Most of the crowd there that day probably had no clue of the significance of what they just experienced.  As the applause died down, Graham Nash, as a special comment for those of us who did know, coyly said into his mic, “Heeeeeeee’s BAAAAaaaaack!!!”  I recall tearing up…  I was finally seeing Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Fun Facts…

Fun Fact #1: The song, Wooden Ships, was written by David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane in 1968, aboard Crosby’s yacht.  The song would appear on both groups 1969 albums, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Volunteers.  Kantner could not be officially credited because of record contracts, the two different labels and the complications there of.

Fun Fact #2:  Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead plays the pedal steel guitar so prominently heard on Teach Your Children.

DJ Sue’s Vault…

Above is my copy of CSN (1977).  The cover photo was taken aboard David Crosby’s yacht, mentioned above as being where Wooden Ships was written in 1968.  It contains their biggest hit, Just a song before I go and my favorite Crosby, Stills & Nash song, Cathedral.

There are actually two versions of this cover with slightly different positions of the band members.  For instance, in the picture above, Crosby is looking off to the side.  On the other cover, he is looking straight ahead.  Each member is in a slightly different position, like the two pictures were taken a minute apart or something.  I have never been able to find an explanation for this.


This past February, my mother handed me a photograph she had recently found of my brother and me.  In it, I am sitting in his lap and he is showing me how to do something on the guitar.  Judging by the way we look, it was probably taken during that magic summer of 1969.  I don’t think either of us was aware of the camera.

I spent a lot of time remembering back to those days as I stared at it and recalled the odor of pot.  It was then that I knew I’d be writing this Sojourn for CSN and it would have those guitar lessons as a necessary part of the framework.

Join me Sunday night, 7-9 PM slt, at a Woman’s Touch as I remember Crosby, Stills, Nash and even Young.

A recent picture of the trio


  1. This trio did much to the rock scene and it's very fitting that you are featuring them. CSN was very pivotal on the rock scene for many reasons and it's hard to find a trio such as this still going even today. You can listen to more recent tunes and pick up traces of their musical styles and tones and it's safe to say that CSN will go down as the one the greats of the 60's and beyond. I never grow tired of listening to them and have several favorite tunes from their many albums, my top favorites are Woodstock from Dejavu and Sweet Judy Blue Eyes. If you lived through the 60's like I have you grew up loving these guys and I still love them even today!