"The ABC Years" of David Crosby and Graham Nash were the years 1975 and 1976, when the two, best known for their association with Stephen Stills and, sometimes, Neil Young, were performing as a duo and had left Atlantic Records, which issued the recordings they made with those partners, for ABC, a label later subsumed within MCA, the imprint under which this compilation has been issued. Crosby & Nash released three albums with ABC: 1975's gold-selling, Top Ten Wind on the Water, featuring the chart entry "Carry Me"; 1976's gold-selling Whistling Down the Wire, featuring the chart entry "Out of the Darkness"; and 1977's Live. By the time that last, contractually obligated, album came out, they had rejoined Stills to reform Crosby, Stills & Nash. But this brief, productive period was arguably their most impressive, alone or in tandem, outside the more popular trio/quartet. Fronting a highly regarded and high-priced Los Angeles session band sometimes called the Section (drummer Russ Kunkel, bassist Leland Sklar, guitarist Danny Kortchmar, et al.) and best known for backing James Taylor, Crosby turned out a series of his characteristic jazz-tinged tunes with self-reflective lyrics, while Nash performed pop songs on personal and political topics. Annotator Steve Silberman recalls that such Nash efforts as "Take the Money and Run" and "Mutiny" directed anger at the absent Stills and Young, though the lyrics are too vague and metaphorical for the layman to parse, especially a quarter-century later. But "Wind on the Water" remains a feeling statement on the slaughter of whales. Compiler Mike Ragogna has made a reasonable reduction of the two studio albums, adding four familiar tunes from the live disc, for this 78-minute collection. 1978's The Best of Crosby/Nash, also including Atlantic material, was more complete, but this album lives up to its title.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann