Manassas What a great underrated short lived band.

Discussion in 'Music Reviews' started by comish4, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. comish4

    comish4 comish4

    Sandusky Ohio
    I heard some Manassas today and I was shocked by the talent this band possessed. I had completely forgotten all about Stephen Stills work with this band so I dug up some tunes and gave them a listen to their live work. Wow it is great to find some new old music.
    F1nut, John James, sfox52 and 2 others like this.
  2. RichPA

    RichPA Don't drive angry Super Mod Subscriber

    Amazing - you posted this almost immediately after I finished listening to their s/t album. Yes, a great band, and the best of Stills' work, at least outside of CSN.
  3. cubdog

    cubdog banging through drywall Subscriber

    Oregon IL.
    Their first album, I believe to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time. I know that's heady praise but I believe it's deserved. Great songwriting, singing, and musicianship. Rock, bluegrass, Latin and country rock all mesh into a seamless whole. Not a bad cut on the entire album. It deserves to be in everyone's collection.
    DanBNash likes this.
  4. MaxxVolume

    MaxxVolume Super Member

    Manassas has been in my R2R collection for a long time....nice to see others appreciate it, I always felt it didn`t get enough recognition.
  5. RT Fan

    RT Fan AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I recently used both "So Begins The Task" & "Johnny's Garden" in seperate mixed cd/tracklists. Always worth listening to.Sometimes you forget how good Stills really was.
  6. hjames

    hjames Nabbed ... Subscriber

    VA near DC
    parman likes this.
  7. BlindBoyGrnt

    BlindBoyGrnt Nullius in verba Subscriber

  8. asterion

    asterion From the Wreckord Room

    Once a Republic:Texas, USA
    IMHO,bands are an endangered species from the moment they are formed.
    I have both their records, the self titled as well as Down the Road.
    The first is brilliant, the second not so much.


    Artist Biography by Rob Caldwell
    Led by Stephen Stills, with Chris Hillman (the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers), Paul Harris (session musician for B.B. King, Eric Anderson, and many others), Joe Lala (Blues Image), Al Perkins (Flying Burrito Brothers), Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels (Crosby, Stills, & Nash), and Dallas Taylor (Crosby, Stills, & Nash), Manassas was one of the most talented units in music at the time. Equally at home with Latin jams, rock, blues, country, folk, and bluegrass, they were also one of the most versatile outfits in rock history.

    Formed in 1971 from the sessions for what was going to be Stills' third solo album, the chemistry of the musicians he gathered was so intense that before long they were a full-fledged band. With an album completed (at hotspot Criteria Studios in Miami), the group was still without a name. Yet despite this they embarked on a small tour. At a train station in Manassas, VA, a picture of the group standing under a Manassas sign was taken, giving birth to their name and, conveniently, the album cover.

    Equally at home on-stage as in the studio, the band's shows often stretched to three hours, usually in the format of an opening rock set, a solo Stills acoustic set, Hillman and Perkins playing bluegrass, another rock and country set by the band, and a closing acoustic set. Manassas' tours took them all over the world and, while in Paris in March 1972, Stills met French singer/songwriter Veronique Sanson. In the next year they would be married, with a son, Chris, born not long after (later to be a recording artist in his own right). Stills and Lala (along with later Manassas member Kenny Passarelli) would also play on her 1974 release Le Maudit.

    In addition to their hectic touring schedule, studio time was logged, producing another album of songs. Unfortunately, though, the results were not as inspired as their self-titled debut. Drinking and drugs were negatively affecting the quality of their music, and much of the material recorded was unused (including a track with Stevie Wonder on lead vocals). Recording where the first album had been done at Criteria Studios, producer/engineers Ron Albert and Howard Albert eventually quit the project in frustration with the band; it was completed in Colorado and Los Angeles. In the end, Down the Road wasn't a bad album, it just didn't quite stack up to its predecessor.

    Another contributing factor to the demise of the group was the ever-present shadow of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. Atlantic Records didn't promote the Manassas albums sufficiently, viewing the band as more of a side project to Stills' involvement in CSN&Y. In 1973, in fact, CSN&Y reunited in Hawaii to put together a new album, which eventually fizzled. Stills returned to Colorado with the intent to pick up where he left off with Manassas, yet it was a little too late to put the pieces back together. Taylor was now addicted to heroin and Samuels had other commitments, making him unavailable. Not dissuaded, Stills filled the vacant slot with Kenny Passarelli, bass player with Joe Walsh's Barnstorm, on the short tour the two groups did together. The series of shows was the swan song for Manassas, as each member left to pursue different projects at tour's end. Hillman became part of the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, while Stills was soon on the road as a solo artist with a touring band featuring Donnie Dacus of Veronique Sanson's band, veteran Russ Kunkel, and keyboardist Jerry Aiello, and would record a solo album soon after.
  9. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Rockford, Illinois
    Saw Manassas perform at Illinois State. Can't remember what year. Probably a tour date list somewhere. One of best rock bands I've heard.
  10. grillebilly

    grillebilly Empty Head Subscriber

    Fairfax VA
    Agree with previous posters. Their first record is right up there with the best of the era.
  11. ehoove

    ehoove Old & New - Carpe Diem Super Mod Subscriber

    Just pulled out the remastered copy for a listen! I agree and thanks for the reminder.
  12. bobsvinyl

    bobsvinyl Painfully Aware Subscriber

    Milford, NH
    Great group. I saw Stills at a concert out in Utah. I never realized what an accomplished guitarist he was until I saw him solo. He put on quite the show.
    parman likes this.
  13. saggy

    saggy These go to 11 Subscriber

  14. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

    Scottsdale, AZ
    If you like that look for their "Pieces".

    "one of the few cases where a collection from the vaults was completely worthwhile." - allmusic
  15. BigElCat

    BigElCat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Paola, Kansas, USA
    This video smooths out after a few minutes.

    CSN had played at Winterland a few days before. (quality on this one lower).

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    parman likes this.
  16. exhippy

    exhippy I use to have long hair. Now I'm lucky to have any Subscriber

    St. Louis County, MO. U.S.A.
    Thanks to saggy's link...

    What a bunch of talented musicians.:thumbsup:
    avionic likes this.
  17. amely

    amely New Member

    Absolutely a great band, the second album is nice but not fabulous as firs one.
    hjames likes this.
  18. TheGoldenBoy

    TheGoldenBoy Active Member

    Waukesha WI
    I've been on a Manassas kick for a while.

    I just happened to see this thread and had to respond.

    When I was a kid, I was introduced to Manassas by the Beat Club performance of Jet Set that was on USA networks' Night Flight. I had videotaped it- I would videotape Night Flight because it was on late, so I had the back end of that song for years. That image of Stills playing a Les Paul has always stuck with me.

    Now, more recently, I ran across someone talking about Manassas- so I went searching for the performance that I remembered. I found this clip of the whole Beat Club performance. It's just such a great, great performance. IMO- some of this stuff from this performance is better than the album versions. That opening song, Bound To Fall was a cover of a song- and my guess is that it was brought to Manassas by Chris Hillman- as the Byrds did a cover of it (that wasn't finished). Stills is at the top of his game- backed by his CSN guys, Dallas Taylor and Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels. While I'm not really a fan of pedal steel- watching some of the other footage of Manassas- you realize just how good Al Perkins is/was. He's not a "rock star" in the way Stills is, or Hillman- but a real master of guitar and pedal steel. While I think it's easy to overlook Joe Lala as just a percussionist, again watching the live footage, you realize how integral he is to these songs and the overall sound.

    I'd love to put together a band that has so many pieces that meld together so seamlessly, and write such fantastic songs, and play with such beauty and earnestness.

    @comish4 Thanks for starting this thread (last year :D)
    exhippy likes this.

Share This Page