Personnel: Graham Nash (vocals, guitar, piano); Stephen Stills (vocals, guitar, drums); Neil Young (vocals, guitar).
Recording information: A&M Recording, Hollywood, CA (06/13/1968-02/08/1971); Rising Sun Studios, New York, NY (06/13/1968-02/08/1971); Wally Heider Recording, Hollywood, CA (06/13/1968-02/08/1971).
Photographer: Joel Bernstein.
Composed mainly of stripped-down, mostly acoustic versions of some famous Crosby, Stills & Nash songs, DEMOS affords a fascinating glimpse of the singer-songwriter movement in its infancy. Make no mistake--these are no lo-fi collector's curiosities. Tunes like "Marrakesh Express," its bright, fresh harmonies intact, and "You Don't Have To Cry" compare quite favorable with their official versions. The David Crosby songs, "Almost Cut My Hair" and "Deja Vu," especially benefit from the unplugged treatment--one finally gets a sense of their meandering, free-floating charms, complete with vocal/guitar nuances and dynamics (some nice scat singing from David) mostly absent from the older albums. It also is true that many of the Woodstock-era lyrics here are pretty much of their time and place, but the songcraft is indestructible.
Spin (p.91) - "Surprisingly clean sound fidelity displays the abundant talent, as well the sense of discovery the three clearly felt upon joining forces."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.80) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hese demos are of songs by three gifted musicians at the peak of their powers."