Unbeknown to most fans, So Far was a stopgap release, undertaken by Atlantic Records in the absence of a new Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album to accompany the reunited quartet's summer 1974 tour. At the time, the members thought it was ridiculous to release a greatest-hits/best-of compilation distilled down from two in-print LPs plus the single sides "Ohio" and "Find the Cost of Freedom"; but propelled by the publicity surrounding the group's massive stadium tour (the first exclusive stadium tour ever done in rock), So Far topped the charts and sold hundreds of thousands of copies, all without containing so much as a single new note of music. Ironically, the quartet had been working on what would have been, by all accounts, the best album in their history; as with so many other projects attempted by the four-man lineup, however, that album fell apart halfway through, amid clashes of egos and creative differences, and so there was So Far. Taken on its own terms, the album manages to be both enjoyable and frustrating, as well as virtually obsolete in the 21st century -- the Joni Mitchell cover art is cool, and the presence of "Ohio" and "Find the Cost of Freedom" makes it attractive (until the 1990s, So Far was the only album to contain both songs); and a case can be made that it contains some of the better moments from Crosby, Stills & Nash and Déjà Vu. The problem is that those were two virtually perfect albums, and the idea of excerpting parts of them for a compilation makes no more sense than, say, excerpting the first two Beatles albums for a "best of" on that band. Further, it's not even a true greatest-hits or best-of compilation, with "Marrakesh Express" not present. And it is difficult to imagine anyone who enjoys this disc not enjoying the two complete albums even more. So, essentially, owning So Far serves no purpose except to get "Ohio" and "Find the Cost of Freedom," which are also on Carry On and the Crosby, Stills & Nash box, both of which offer a lot more, dollar for dollar and song for song. For those inclined to buy it, however, the 1994 reissue (Atlantic 82648) of So Far is to be preferred for sound quality over the earlier edition.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder