Songs For Beginners wasn’t the beginning of Graham Nash’s remarkable journey, but it was his first solo album, and coming as it did immediately on the heels of “Teach Your Children,” “Our House” and the Déjà vu album, it’s part of the fabric of a phenomenally rich tapestry: Crosby, Stills and Nash in multi-colored 1970 and ’71.
Rhino and Graham have re-mastered “Songs For Beginners,” with a second CD containing the album in CD/DVD audio. We e-mailed Mr. Nash a few quick questions about the re-emergence of this mostly acoustic gem:
Goldmine: Where did the album title come from?
Graham Nash: The title came from me wanting to ‘start’ something… kind of like a
primer for me personally.
GM: The album appeared during a period when David and Stephen were also making solo records. Were these songs at one point intended to be part of a CSN project?
Nash: Every song is for CSN… but they were busy..
GM: Was it liberating, fun – or both – to work with other musicians, outside the confines of the group?
Nash: It was a great pleasure and no pressure to work with other fine
GM: There is a sense of melancholy throughout some of the songs – ‘I Used to Be a King,’ ‘Simple Man,’ ‘Wounded Bird.’ What were you going through at the time?
Nash: I was breaking up with Joni Mitchell… and I wanted to put my heart
into the record…
GM: ‘Chicago’ is one of your first political songs. How quickly after the Democratic convention was it written, and was it an easy song to write?
Nash: It was easy when I realized that what the government were doing was
very wrong… regardless of the guilt or innocence of the trial, it
could not possibly be called ‘fair’ when you bind, chain and gag a man..
GM: You’ve made so much music over the years – where does ‘Songs For Beginners’ rank among your best work, in your opinion?
Nash: It was an important ‘milestone’, not ‘millstone’, in my musical life…
a wonderful, exciting experience for me…