In April 1968, after Stephen Stills left Buffalo Springfield but before he joined Crosby, Stills and Nash, the singer-songwriter found himself at a recording session with then-girlfriend Judy Collins.
When she finished, Stills wandered down the hall of Elektra Studios’ New York facility with engineer John Haney and an acoustic guitar. Stills peeled off a couple of hundred-dollar bills and told Haney, “Just roll tape.” Captured were the first-ever versions of classics Stills later would record solo with CSN, CSNY and Manassas.
Eyewall/Rhino has unearthed this moment in rock ‘n’ roll history on the new, 12-track collection: Just Roll Tape —April 26th 1968. The album retails for a suggested price of $13.98; click here to order it now!
“Some you’ll know; some you might now,” Stills says of the songs included in this collection. “The tape has been lost to the wind for almost 40 years until Graham Nash discovered its existence and urged me to release it. Somehow, it’s found its way back, and these songs now feel like great friends when they were really young.”
After recording these now-historic demos, Stills left the masters in the Elektra Studios. They almost were discarded when the facility closed in 1978. Musician Joe Colasurdo, who was rehearsing there at the time, was told by the owner that he could cart off any tapes he wanted to before they cleared the place out.
Colasurdo saw Stills’ name on several boxes, which he kept safe until he could find a reel-to-reel machine to play them on.
Realizing the treasure he had, Colasurdo began working to get the masters safely back into stills hands. In 2003 — 25 years later — Colasurdo passed the tapes along to Graham Nash through a friend. Nash then gave the tapes back to Stills, and he encouraged Stills to release them.
The rest is music history, as made by Stephen Stills on Just Roll Tape.
The album presents remastered versions of the 12 songs Stills recorded with Haney. The recordings offer an amazing glimpse into Stills’ songwriting genius and spotlight Stills’ instantly recognizable voice accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. The album includes the first recordings of the future Crosby, Stills and Nash hits “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Helplessly Hoping” and “Wooden Ships.”
Also included are early versions of songs that emerged on Stills’ future solo albums, such as “Black Queen,” “Know You’ve Got to Run” and “Change Parnters.” “So Begins the Task” appears almost four years before it was recorded by Manassas, the group Stills formed in 19072.
The collection is bolstered by a bonus track: the first demo of fan favorite “Treetop Flyer,” in which Stills signs and plays dobro. The track was recorded at a different session.
The track listing is:
1. “All I Know is What You Tell Me”
2. “So Begins the Task”
3. “Change Partners”
4. “Know You’ve Got to Run”
5. The Doctor Will See You Now”
6. “Black Queen”
7. “Bumblebee (Do You Need A Place To Hide?)”
9. “Dreaming of Snakes”
10. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”
11. “Helplessly Hoping”
12. “Wooden Ships”
13. “Treetop Flyer”