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  • Stephen Stills' prolific career is captured on a new Rhino Records CD set.

    Stephen Stills’ prolific career is captured on a new Rhino Records CD set.

    Stephen Stills put on a show at Madison Square Garden back in 1971, supporting his second solo album Stephen Stills 2. It was a mess from start to finish, but I couldn’t take my eyes off him. It was a brilliant failure that I’ve never forgotten.

    While rumors abounded back then that Stills dabbled more than most in the excesses of his generation, his music was uniformly well-played and well written.

    His songs spanned everything from jazz, to Latin, to pop, and of course, his brilliant rock songs. He recorded with many of the seminal figures of his era, including the late Jimi Hendrix and guitar god Eric Clapton.

    The definitive collection of his music could well be Rhino Records’ newly released a four-CD set, called Carry On. It contains 82 tracks spanning his 50-year career. I think the only way to describe it is totally breathless and simply sensational.

    The set includes his time with Buffalo Springfield, Manassas, his collaborations with David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Neil Young and the best of his solo work–indeed a dizzying ride. The tracks unfold mostly in chronological order, and the anthology leads off with its oldest entry, “Travelin.”

    It’s a previously unreleased recording that Stills made at age 17 in Costa Rica, where he lived for a time. The newest track, recorded only a few months ago, features Crosby, Stills and Nash performing “Girl From The North Country” at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

    Carry On, which features a 114-page booklet with rare photos and extensive liner notes, is a must-have for any fan. My favorites are his riveting “Old Times Good Times,” “Black Queen,” “Fishes And Scorpions,” “To A Flame,” “Cherokee,” “It Doesn’t Matter” and what might just be his best-written song ever, “Dark Star.”

    Names in the News

    Dominick DiPietrantonio, Kurt Nishimura, David Salidor, Debbie Gibson, Culture Club, Tom & Lisa Cuddy, Deb Caponetta, Michael & Bettina Zilkha, Mark & June Alpert, Nancy Harrison, Joel Denver, Mark Bego, James Edstrom, Patrick McMullan, Adam Pollock, Vinny Rich, Jason Elzy, Jacqueline Boyd