David Crosby — If I Could Only Remember My Name

Here’s a record that, until last year, I just straight-up didn’t know about. We went to see the David Crosby biopic “Remember My Name” at the Colonial Theatre last October (had I mentioned that I have been very into Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for the past few years?), and there was a fairly lengthy segment on the creation of this “solo” album by Crosby, but neither the title nor the album cover rang the slightest of bells for me.

If I Could Only Remember My Name
If I Could Only Remember My Name – and a million ill-advised artsy sunset exposures were launched

After Deja Vu’s success, each member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young put out a solo album, each of which was pretty successful. I’ll get to the others in proper alphabetical time, but since this one falls in the same place as CSN/CSNY, alphabetically, I figured I’d slot it in with the band’s chronology, and this came out in February 1971, nearly a year after “Deja Vu” and less than two months before “4 Way Street.” Does that make sense? No idea. It’s how I’m doing it.

Hearing some samples of it in the movie, and seeing the incredible lineup of legends who contributed to this “solo” effort (Nash, Young, Joni Mitchell, half of Jefferson Airplane, Santana, and the Dead), I suddenly had to have it. I mentioned this to my friend who owns Forever Changes here in Phoenixville, a pop-up record shop that in non-pandemic times opens up every Saturday morning at a northside cafe tucked into a bustling converted factory that is now home to all kinds of activity. It’s become the Saturday place to be. He said he’d be on the lookout for me, and within a week or two saw it on the Instagram feed of another local record store up in Collegeville, Ma-Tones, and sent me on a short trek up there. It was not the only record I came away with that day. They had a copy of “Some Girls” with an original cover for a song, and I think I picked up a couple other things as well. That’s how it goes.

This is one of those slow burn records. There isn’t a hit; there isn’t even necessarily a song that stands out from the others. But it is a mood, a feeling, and a pretty sweet, easy listen. It’s not just like a CSN album, and that’s a good thing. So I’m glad I found it.

Let’s talk about that front cover for a minute though. A double exposure of Crosby’s face with a deep orange sunset reflected on water. Even if this was the first time that effect was ever done, it looks so hopelessly cliched. It looks like one million other album covers with sunsets on them. It looks like all those horrible ’70s high school double exposure photos (What. Was. That.) It looks atrocious. And because Crosby was such a star that we were supposed to be able to recognize his ghost overlaid on a sunset, neither his name nor the album title appear on the cover. (There was likely a sticker on the cellophane explaining what they were trying to sell.) Honestly.

I I Could Only Remember My Name back cover
I I Could Only Remember My Name back cover – a vast improvement over the front cover
Gatefold left -- personnel on Crosby's solo album
As the gatefolds show, Crosby’s solo album featured pretty much everyone but Stephen Stills.
Gatefold right
As the gatefolds show, Crosby’s solo album featured pretty much everyone but Stephen Stills.
If I Could Only Remember My Name sleeve
My sleeve came with a label stuck to it — I presume this was originally on the cellophane wrap, which would have been useful as the cover has no title.
ATCO promo sleeve
ATCO promo sleeve

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