"If I Could Only Remember My Name" lp was developed in a time of great emotional upheaval mainly from the loss of his lover Christine Hinton from a devastating car crash. On September 30th, 1969, Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s debut album, went gold; that same day, Christine borrowed Crosby’s VW bus to take her two cats to the vet. En route, one of the cats jumped into Christine’s lap, startling her and causing her to lose control of the car, which drifted into the next lane and collided head on with a school bus, dying in the instant.
This led David Crosby to a deep depressed and melancholic state, with an irremediable sense of guilt and great sorrow,his only refuge was music, friends but also unfortunately in drugs and excessive alcohol consumption. This personal misfortune nevertheless brought him one of the most creative periods of his musical career.
On September 3, 1970,Alan Wilson, co-founder, Canned Heat was found dead on a hillside behind bandmate Bob Hite's Topanga Canyon home, cause of death as accidental acute barbiturate intoxication.Just two weeks later, on September 18 1970 Jimi Hendrix died in London at his girlfriend´s apartment in the Samarkand Hotel, 22 Lansdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, while sleeping intoxicated with barbiturates, Vesparax overdose; and Janis Joplin do it days later, October 4 from an accidental overdose of heroin in room #105 of the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood Ca. Obsessed with the idea that death followed him, David Crosby was convinced that he would be next, so that decided to return to the studios and record what he considered to be his farewell album.
For the occasion he was accompanied by the band known as: “The Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra”: (P.E.R.R.O), a nickname given to this californian artists group by Paul Kantner, co-founder "Jefferson Airplane". This alternate and provisional band was formed by musicians from "Jefferson Airplane", "the Grateful Dead", "Quicksilver Messenger Service", and "Crosby, Stills Nash & Young", that colaborated during the sessions for Crosby's album.
The P.E.R.R.O were: Graham Nash – guitar, vocals; Paul Kantner – guitar, banjo, vocals; Grace Slick – piano, vocals; Jorma Kaukonen – lead guitar; Jack Casady – bass; Jerry Garcia – guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh – bass; Bill Kreutzmann – drums; Mickey Hart – percussion and David Freiberg – viola, vocals.
After "Blows Against the Empire", a concept album by Paul Kantner, released under the name Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship; the second project of P.E.R.R.O was David Crosby's debut album, which features all the Planet Earthers mentioned above, in addition to: Joni Mitchell, Greg Rolie and Mike Shrieve.
The recording sessions started on November 1970 at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco, California, under a very entertaining and creative environment, where it was not necessary to interpret a song many times to be considered acceptable for the album bit.ly/71DCaP A couple of rehearsals and directly to record, sometimes even that was not necessary, it was directly performed live. In mid-January 1971 Graham Nash made a cut of the disc, it was structured on a double lp, with this provisional line-up:
Side A: (18:53)
1.Music Is Love.(3:22)
2.Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves).(5:55)
3.What Are Their Names.(4:11)
Side B: (18:31)
5.Tamalpais High (at about 3). (12:47) (Unreleased full length version).
6.Traction In The Rain.(3:44)
Side C: (18:12)
8.Cowboy Movie.(10:56) (Alternate studio version).
9.Kids & Dogs.(7:17) (Alternate studio version).
Side D: (18:55)
10.Is It Really Monday?.(3:28) (Unreleased re-worked and remixed version).
11.The Wall Song.(6:05) (Unreleased remixed version).
12.You Sit There.(4:10) (Unreleased re-worked and remixed version).
13.The Mountain Song w/piano outro.(5:10) (Unreleased re-worked and remixed version).
All the songs were written by David Crosby except:
- “Music Is Love” - in collaboration with Graham Nash & Neil Young.
- “What Are Their Names” - with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Michael Shrieve & Neil Young.
- “The Mountain Song” - by Jerry Garcia, Paul Kantner.
- "Orleans" - traditional arranged by David Crosby.
In this early version lack “‘I’d Swear There Was Somebody Here’, of which it is said, It was inspired by a supernatural experience that David Crosby had one dawn while he was alone in the studio when he had the vision of Christine Hinton, that watching him from the gloom, through the glass that separated the study from the control room. Something that ended up convincing him that his end was already very close. That paranormal experience brought with it that David Crosby restructure the album, giving more importance to spiritual compositions and without words, editing finaly the project to a single Lp, adding as album closure the hypnotic and transcendental tune: “I’d Swear There Was Somebody Here".
Some of the songs that were rejected, years later were rewrites and included in different works of Crosby, a couple on Jerry Garcia's solo, one on Grace's Slick album and one more on Paul's 1983 'Planet Earth...' album - and other never seen the light of day.
- “Cowboy Movie” & “ “Kis and Dogs” - original studio versions appeared in 2006 compilation box “Voyage”.
- “It´s Really Monday” - Crosby with his acoustic guitar singing . Unreleased.
- “The Wall Song” - a different version appeared in 1972 on the LP 'Graham Nash David Crosby.' On that take, the duo were backed by Garcia, Lesh and Kreutzmann. The real distinction between the released version and this is the absence of Nash.
- “You Sit There“ - sung by David Cosby with Jerry Garcia, Paul Kantner It often circulates under the title "Under Anesthesia", but the correct title is "You Sit There".
- “The Mountain song” - was re-recorded by Paul Kantner (without Garcia) for his 1983 album "The Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra. In this version Jerry & David sing together with Grace Slick on backing vocals.
There are also a multitude of outtakes of the sessions available, almost all of them under a good sound quality. Here the original selection has been recovered, for which it has been necessary to remix some themes.
About the fate of these tapes, on August 23.91 a copy of the several P.E.R.R.O master reels were compiled onto a DT 120 DAT including personal collections of Barncard, Joel Bernstein, Nash and Stills. in addition to 4 reels more from mixes made in 1971 during the "If I Could Only..." sessions for a possible inclusion on :"Crosby, Stills & Nash" box-set . Years later in 2005, Graham Nash revisited, once again, these tapes, when he was working on a new David Crosby project: "Voyage". Some alternative takes were used as: "Cowboy Movie" and "Kids & Dogs".
From "If I Could Only Remember My Name" original lp, two singles were taken: "Music Is Love," / "Laughing" a collaboration with Nash and Young that was released in April 1971 and "Orleans" / Traction in the Rain" one month later.
Enjoy it and see you soon, if you want.