Rhino has gone all out to release projects to coincide with the publication of David Crosby's autobiography, Since Then. Along with this triple-disc box set, the label is also reissuing Crosby's first solo recording -- an album that carries the word "masterpiece" around with it in the 21st century. While that double disc (the original disc with a bonus cut, and a DVD of the album in a superior mix) may carry some real excitement, it's a head-scratching exercise as to who, exactly, will be interested in this box. Rhino has packaged together three CDs in a deluxe foldout package with a 130-page book with a great liner essay by Steve Silberman, and song-by-song annotations by Crosby. Compiled and produced by Joel Bernstein and Graham Nash, Voyage contains two discs of songs from Crosby's various contributing incarnations as a member of the Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Crosby & Nash, and CPR, and as a solo artist. The work here varies in quality, and merely tells a kind of story that has been told in many ways over the individual releases he appeared on. None of his backing vocal sessions with the Jefferson Airplane, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, etc., are here. That may be as it should be, but the story would have been fuller and more complete than it is presented here. After all, it is reasonable to assume that anyone interested in the aforementioned acts to any real degree would have this material anyway. And anyone new to those recording artists or to Crosby himself would be ill-disposed to purchasing something this expensive.
So it all comes down to disc three, which is a 16-cut set of unreleased demos, alternates, and rehearsals of Crosby, either solo or with CSN, CSNY, or Crosby & Nash, with one exception -- an alternate mix of "Have You Seen the Stars Tonight" with the Jefferson Starship under the leadership of Paul Kantner. Here, there are benefits for fans of rough and "unfinished" recordings. The demos of "Long Time Gone" with Crosby and Stephen Stills is compelling, as are the alternate mix of "Guinnevere" and the demo of "Déjà Vu," the latter for its intense showcase of vocal harmony. However, the takes of "Almost Cut My Hair" (acoustic) and "Games" are throwaway ones. "Triad" neither adds nor subtracts from its recorded version; it is merely different. "Cowboy Movie" is a studio take here, over ten minutes in length, that rocks. "Kids and Dogs," the bonus cut on If I Could Only Remember My Name, is a mellow but worthy inclusion. The rest is all of interest, most of it being of very high quality, and the disc is thus recommended to fans in a big way -- it would have probably sold on its own. Yet the question remains as to how willing consumers are to go after such a set, even if it is being released in the holiday season. ~ Thom Jurek