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Stephen Stills

Man Alive!  Hear it Now

RS: 3of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4of 5 Stars

2005

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A genuinely great guitarist -- just ask his buddy Neil Young -- and a gifted singer-songwriter, Stephen Stills has too often failed to live up to the promise of his early solo work and his classic contributions to Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. That could be changing, slowly: The first good sign was his stunning and undervalued 1991 acoustic album, Stills Alone, which featured the mind-blowingly powerful "Treetop Flyer" (a track that singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne has credited with inspiring him to want to make music). Man Alive is not as stripped down and potent as Alone, but it is the sort of assured album that can stand alongside Stills' best early solo albums and his work with Manassas. Tracks like the rousing opener, "Ain't It Always," and the bluesy "Wounded World" (featuring Graham Nash) recall past classics without sounding like freeze-dried ripoffs. Young makes Man Alive even more lively, trading riffs with Stills on the musical autobiography "Round the Bend" and playing the perfect rootsy sideman on Stills' excellent take on the traditional "Different Man."

DAVID WILD

(Posted: Aug 11, 2005)

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