"This is a frustrating CD. I've owned it for the better part of a decade and I like it. But it actually doesn't wind up in my CD player all that often.
Why? Because it _should_ have been the album that fans of Stephen Stills's acoustic music had been waiting for. And it isn't.
It falls flat -- not because Stills himself does anything less than a terrific job, but because somebody got the bright idea of recording him on an 'electrified' acoustic guitar (using what sounds like a low-end piezoelectric pickup). In short, the production here is terrible.
The result is a twangy, clickety-clacky guitar sound that doesn't even remotely resemble the angry growl Stills used to coax out of his Martin dreadnoughts on the best of his old acoustic tunes. 'Treetop Flyer' is one of the coolest songs Stills has ever written. But the guitar part, instead of revisiting the territory of 'Black Queen', sounds like something recorded in some teenager's garage.
Ah, well. Most of the music is good. Stills covers 'Everybody's Talkin'' (by his old pal Fred Neil), the Beatles' 'In My Life', and Dylan's 'Ballad of Hollis Brown', and revisits a handful of tunes from his first two solo albums. There are some new (as of 1991, that is) tunes, including the aforementioned 'Treetop Flyer' and 'Isn't It So' (which wound up as the theme song for the short-lived television series _Second Noah_). All of it works pretty well. (The exception is 'Amazonia', which tacks a mediocre lyric over the chord progression from Stills's 'Fair Game' and some sort of electronic percussion track.)
But you have to be able to stand the sound. I think Stills is a decent guitar player and I like to listen to him when he cuts loose. But I sure do wish somebody had done a better job recording him here. This could have been a great album, and instead it's only pretty good.
This CD isn't _just_ for Stills fans, but if you haven't heard Stills's solo work before, don't start here."
Stephen Silberman, you've made a mistake
M. Donovan | Chicago, IL, USA | 05/13/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Mr. Silberman, can't you hear that Singin' Call is most likely an outtake from SS 2 rather than a recent remake? Your comments about the inferiority of the playing and the vocals to the original version of the song are pretty funny, given that any fan who listens to the Stills Alone version in the context of the other songs on Stills Alone can tell from the vocal quality and guitar sound that the song was recorded decades ago. You may not know Stills' work quite as well as you think you do."
You Missed Out, Now it Costs a Fortune
PHILIP S WOLF | SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA. USA | 06/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First Released in 1991, this Little Gem is just Stephen Singin' and Playin' on Acoustic Guitars. Covers of (Fred Neil) "Everybody's Talkin" and (Lennon-McCartney) "In My Life", right along side Still's own compositions: "Isn't it So" and "Singin' Call". Stephen has been the Master of tales for over 40 years now and "Stills Alone" is the Proof of the Greatness of this Performer. This is the ONLY place to find the Great tune: "Treetop Flyer" in a studio setting, and that alone makes this one Special.
If there is one thing wrong with "Stills Alone", that would be the length of this CD, as it is too Short. Stephen needs to Re-release this one with 20 tracks, add on "Stateline Blues" or "Midnight Rider", as I have have witnessed these performances in Concert, and Mr. Stills, armed with only an Acoustic Guitar NAILED them.
This is my favorite Stephen Stills CD, and now it's Out of Print and will cost you BIG BUCKS. I do hope the Powers that Be will bring this one Back, Bigger & Better...FOUR STARS"
Listen to the tuning!
Allen Scott Nelson | Deep Gap, NC United States | 03/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a "wooden" guitar player this album is a must have. Can you recognize the DDDDAD tuning used in Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Bluesman, 4+20, etc? My favorite is "Just Isn't Like You" .... simple, yet powerful. I'd love for Stephen to do another acoustic album .... yes, his vocals are worn .... but like they say "the older the violin, the sweeter the music.""
A must if you like accoustic guitar-based folk/blues
Hawke and Dove | Scottsdale, Arizona United States | 12/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even though he sings out of key on a few songs, I give this ***** for many reasons. The first being that this was a labor of love for music on the part of Stills. It's refreshing because most other musicians are motivated by making $$$. It's obvious that making $$$ was not on Stills' mind when he did this. Stills is a legend having done so many good/excellent albums with varied styles. Here is yet another gem to add to your collection. Basically just him and his Martin accoustic with occassional help on background vox on a few tracks. He redoes some tracks from his first few solo albums with an added accoustic twist which was good to hear. The packaging was excellent as well.
Stills is a legend. Seems to take a backseat to more known folks like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, etc.. However, I am not fooled by the lack of publicity from the press/media and think Stills is the best of the bunch.All and all, one of the few albums from the 1990's that I would call "take with you to a desert island because it's too good to leave behind".If you want to hear a great accoustical folk album with some bluesy parts as well as country-rock parts and a time worn/raspy voice (which adds to a positive effect), this album is a must. Stills sings/plays from the heart on this non-commercial album(which he knew would not make any money) rather than from the wallet (like so many others do). Quite refreshing and one of my favorite albums from the 1990's. Stills is a legend and this album prooves it to me. You cannot be without this album if you play accoustic guitar as well."